Norway considers truck ordinance

NORWAY – Citing citizen complaints about large, commercial trucks traveling and parking on residential streets, the Norway City Council is considering enacting a new ordinance to regulate such activities.

Council members held the first discussion of the proposed ordinance at their Monday meeting.

“The issues in the neighborhoods are either the noise or that the vehicles are too big, long or wide, to safely travel on the streets,” explained City Manager Ray Anderson. “The weight of these vehicles will also damage the roadways if they are not designed to handle that weight.”

Anderson suggested that restricted vehicles include all those that are more than eight feet in width, more than 45 feet in length, or have a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001.

Restricted vehicles would be prohibited from traveling or parking on most residential streets, with several exceptions.

They would be authorized to use Main Street, Kimberly Road, Valley View Drive, Boundary Line Road, Pearney Lane, Lower Pine Creek Road, Upper Pine Creek Road, Case Street, Stephenson Street, Fourth Avenue, Walnut Street, Railroad Avenue, Second Avenue, C Street, Sundance Drive, Rochon Road, Briar Mountain Road, Strawberry Lake Road, and portions of Section Street, Scenic Drive, Ninth Avenue, 10th Avenue, 11th Avenue, 16th Avenue, Eighth Avenue, Lake Street, and Belgium Town Road.

Anderson said that certain exemptions could be allowed. For example, school buses, delivery vehicles, public utility trucks, and recreational vehicles would be exempt, as well as trucks needed for residential construction projects.

Mayor Jeremy Oja and council member Chris Gotstein wanted the ordinance to have a clearer definition of what constitutes a “delivery vehicle.” Furthermore, Oja proposed that more of Lake Street be added to the authorized route list, since dump trucks use the road to access the nearby sand pit.

Most council members appeared to be in favor of enacting such an ordinance.

Council member Lee Meneghini noted that it would prohibit trucks on Kimberly Road from turning onto Saginaw Street to get to U.S. 2.

“Saginaw is too narrow,” he said. “The residents don’t like it in that area and I don’t blame them.”

Gotstein added that the ordinance would help preserve the residential streets.

Only council member George Bal expressed doubt. He felt that the ordinance would just cause more chaos, and be difficult for police to enforce.

Anderson pointed out that members of the police department actually recommended the creation of an ordinance so they can effectively respond to citizen complaints.

The council will continue to discuss the proposed ordinance at future meetings. Citizen input is welcomed and encouraged, said Oja.

In other business, the council:

– Declined a recommendation from the Norway Area Planning Commission to designate some parking spaces on the 700 block of Main Street as two-hour parking spaces.

Anderson explained that local businesses have concerns about the lack of parking available on the block when the new auction house, which is located in the old Moose building, holds an event. The planning commission proposed designating four two-hour parking spaces, and the police department suggested that parking meters could be used for enforcement.

Oja argued that the auction house’s events are too sporadic to warrant the need for metered parking. He also pointed out that enforcement would be difficult and time-consuming.

The council voted three to two to decline the two-hour parking spaces. Oja, Bal, and Gotstein voted in favor of the motion to decline, while Meneghini and council member Dr. Paul Hayes voted against it.

– Tabled action on hiring Coleman Engineering of Iron Mountain to design a storm system to alleviate drainage problems between 14th Avenue and Lakeside Drive.

Anderson said that storm water from 14th Avenue currently runs down an embankment and washes out private property on Lakeside Drive.

Since the storm system design would involve a property swap between a citizen and the city, Coleman would have to do some surveying work on the project. The company’s proposed surveying cost of $8,000 seemed steep to council members, so they decided to look at other companies for surveying services before making a decision.

– Tabled action on an engineering amendment with Mead & Hunt for its engineering work on the city’s wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

The amendment is the result of an increase in scope of the project. Proposed additional work items include replacing air piping, replacing pumps and valves at lift stations one through three, adding influent and effluent samplers, adding a backup generator at the plant, installing a sludge composting system, adding a security system, and upgrading the access gates.

Bruce Hawkinson of Mead & Hunt explained that the cost of constructing the upgrades is being covered by a pre-determined amount of funding from USDA Rural Development. If the proposed project ends up costing too much, the council can simply eliminate some of the additional work items. However, if the proposed project comes in under budget, only additional work items already identified in the engineering agreement will be eligible for funding.

Meneghini pointed out that the city will still be on the hook for the extra engineering costs. Those extra costs would amount to $74,000, for a project total engineering cost of $732,000.

Bal suggested that the topic be tabled for more discussion, and the council agreed.

– Presented former Jake Menghini Museum Director Carol Zechlin with a resolution honoring her for her five years of service.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is