Lake Saint Louis residents can now park a commercial vehicle permanently in their driveways, loosening a long-time ordinance that restricted what could be parked in residential areas.
The city’s Board of Aldermen voted on Jan 16 to change some aspects of its municipal code regulating the parking of commercial vehicles on residential streets.
Previous to the amendments, residents could not park commercial vehicles with signage or equipment, such as ladders, in their driveways. Now, the city will allow one commercial vehicle to be parked outside a garage or enclosed structure if it meets three new criteria.
Those criteria include:
• the vehicle not exceeding a 12,000-pound gross vehicle weight as licensed by the state of Missouri.
• the vehicle not exceeding a length of 24 feet, height of 8 feet, or width of 8 feet, with those measurements including the furthest points of the motor vehicle body and any affixed accessory, excluding ladder racks.
• the vehicle not being equipped with equipment associated with a business, commercial or industrial enterprise, including not more than one ladder, plowing blades, external fuel tanks, devices for spraying chemicals and similar devices that indicate the commercial use of the vehicle.
Before the change, commercial vehicles could park temporarily if they provided services or made deliveries of goods, but could not be parked or stored on lots without garages or carports.
The proposed changes drew comments from residents who had to take equipment off their vehicles at night and put their vehicles in a garage after work and from residents who said commercial vehicles made the neighborhood look unkempt.
The city’s planning and zoning commission recommended the ordinance to the board following public discussion on the topic.
Mayor Kathy Schweikert worried that the strict rules might discourage people from moving into Lake Saint Louis. In a “Mayor Message” in the city’s Facebook page last fall, she said the choices may be “either you don’t live in the City of Lake Saint Louis or have to store it somewhere else.”
Schweikert said the city’s regulation were stricter than other cities because the city’s code didn’t allow commercial vehicles to park in driveways long-term.
“We define this vehicle as being used primarily for a business enterprise and having signage or equipment cargo capability like carrying a ladder rack or snow plow,” Schweikert said. “I think most everyone will agree a vehicle exceeding 24 feet in length and 8 feet in width as defined in other cities shouldn’t be parked in a driveway. Should a Ford F150 with signage on the door or a ladder rack be prohibited from driveways in Lake Saint Louis?
“What about a van the owner uses for his plumbing business. Some businesses require employees to take these type of vehicles home as part of their job duties and their garage is too small for that van. Are we making it too difficult for people, who must bring home those vehicles for their jobs, to live in the city?
Schweikert said changing the ordinance was a big decision. “I am torn as I have lived in Lake Saint Louis for 34 years and did not have a problem with our stringent rules,” Schweikert said. “As mayor, I hear from some that it is a burden to find a house where their truck or van fits. They may live in an apartment complex without a garage and won’t be able to work at their job if they live in our city.”
Schweikert and other city officials said the change may conflict with standards set by the Lake Saint Louis Community Association, which manages private recreational amenities in the city, and some subdivision homeowners associations. Those associations could still restrict commercial vehicles based on their covenants.