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Mattawa votes on truck parking, construction regs

Staff Writer | February 6, 2024 6:14 PM

MATTAWA — Thursday’s regular Mattawa City Council meeting featured unanimous approval of a motion to amend the city’s truck regulations and a motion to approve updated construction standards. 

According to the meeting’s agenda packet, the amendment of the city’s truck regulations would allow certain vehicles on residential and arterial streets despite exceeding the street’s weight capacity, including utility vehicles servicing utilities, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, school buses and more. Construction vehicles are allowed, but the owner is responsible for damage done to the streets.

Council member Antonio Acosta expressed concern about one of the new regulations, Section H, dealing with unloaded transport vehicles.

“I guess my only question or clarification would be section eight; ‘unloaded vehicles used for transportation by their operators to their home,” Acosta said. “These vehicles may only be allowed on the streets for a maximum of four hours.’ I don't remember discussing that. I guess I'm just trying to figure out what the story with that is. Why is it fair?”

City Attorney Katherine Kenison said she drafted the new regulations based on other city codes as a typical ordinance, but that the council is free to pick and choose which of the regulations they approve. 

“I guess my worry is Section H would open it up to the one thing that we've been trying to keep off, (which) is allowing trucks to just go home,” Acosta said. “As long as they’re unloaded, they’re going to show up with an 18-wheeler and they can drive to their home and be there for four hours. We're trying to preserve our streets as much as we can.”

Acosta suggested the council strike Section H from the ordinance before approving it.

Council member Wendy Lopez commented that the ordinance might be necessary for drivers needing to park trucks in front of homes during personal emergencies. Council member Sun Hwang said that regardless of whether parking for an emergency or not, four hours would not be long enough. 

“The only difficulty is that the four hours is difficult to enforce,” Kenison said. “The problem is the enforcement piece so it might be easier to just strike H.”

Public Works Director Juan Ledezma provided his input on the matter.

“I think that's just less weight on the road so it's better,” he said. 

Acosta commented on the rest of the regulations.

“For me, that's the only piece that I had a question on, was Section H. The rest makes sense,” he said. “An emergency is an emergency, I mean, we are going to understand … (but) any time limit is hard to enforce; we just don’t have the staff for it.”

City Engineer Jamin Ankney spoke about the ordinance updating the city’s construction standards.

“Periodically, there are minor updates based on updated city needs, different needs recognized as we go through developer reviews and find additional details or modifications of details to fit what the city currently expects for public works projects,” he said. 

The last revisions to the standards were in 2020, according to the agenda memo. 

“In 2021 there were a few additional needs, a few additional details, either because of Department of Health items or the need for a couple of additional details and a few changes to some of the water service details, just minor changes,” Ankney said, “so we worked through that with city staff.”

Ankney said if approved the updates would be the new standard moving forward for projects.

“Given that you have a couple of large projects, this is a good time to make sure your standards are what you want them to be so that long term what's installed is what works for the city and matches what the city will do moving forward,” he said. “Again, I don't think there's anything that's real substantial here…There shouldn't be a substantial cost impact or anything like that.”

The council also discussed who would chair a budget subcommittee.

“The reason it was put together was to figure out revenue; new sources of revenue for the city, figure out what we can do to bring more revenue into the city,” Acosta said.

The council eventually unanimously voted to appoint council member Fabiola Hernandez as the chair of the subcommittee.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at Download the Columbia Basin Herald app on iOS and Android.

    Mattawa City Council members Antonio Acosta, left, and Alexander Heredia, right, discuss council matters during a regular meeting in January. Acosta expressed concern with a section of new truck regulations allowing unloaded trucks on residential and arterial streets, which the council voted to strike from the new amendments.