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Lathrop may allow truckers to park
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LATHROP – Truck owner-operators might not have to worry about finding an overnight parking space in Lathrop as long as they’re citizens.

On Monday night the Lathrop City Council voted 3-2 – with Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos and Vice Mayor Christopher Mateo dissenting – to allow staff to prepare a 30-day survey that will poll local owner-operators about a possible on-street permit parking system reserved for independent drivers that are Lathrop residents.

Whether the system would work, Public Works Director Steve Salvatore said, would depend on the results of the survey and how many responses they would get from people in the trucking community.

While less than a dozen responses would be something that Lathrop staffers could handle, getting 40 responses would be far too many for the city’s limited resources to handle. Staff would need to find a location where the truck could be parked overnight without significantly impacting neighboring property owners or business and figuring out how to enforce the permit stipulations.

Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal provided the “swing” vote as the only member voting in the affirmative that didn’t already give their position before the roll call vote. He said that regardless of the direction, the time has come for the city to quash the issue once and for all.

“We’ve had this come back now five, six times,” he said. “I think that city staff is spending too much time on this when they should be focusing on things like jobs and revenues. Let’s just do what we’re going to do and get past it.”

According to Salvatore, the decision will have to be made on whether the trucks will have to park on paved surfaces like concrete or asphalt, or if they can park on gravel and use a special sealant to prevent rocks, mud and dirt from entering the roadway when they pull back onto the road.

Unlike neighboring communities Manteca and French Camp, Lathrop has no private truck parking for local operators to rent space from. Municipal code prevents them from parking in residential areas overnight. The proposal is not geared towards drivers who return home daily or cross-country drivers who don’t live in the community.

When pressed by Santos, Salvatore said that if approved by the council, it would likely be up to the individual permit holder to make sure that the space allotted is kept free of debris, oil and other leaking substances, and that enforcement would have to be something that the city take seriously in order for the system to work.

Santos made an attempt to vote to keep things the way that they currently are – and got Mateo to back him up with a second on the motion – but the item was struck down by three nay votes from the remainder of the council.

Once the 30-day period is over, staffers will compile the data collected during the period and bring it back to the council for review.