Can a truck park solve the ongoing dispute between Palm Beach County and local truckers living in The Acreage?
Indian Trail Improvement District Vice President Betty Argue recently said that an available 30 to 40 acres of land in the GL Homes property is exactly what is needed to solve the standoff between big-rig truckers, the district and the county.
The parcel could be used to create a parking area for tractor-trailer rigs that local drivers have been bringing home, to the consternation of many of The Acreage’s residents and in violation of current county code, she told fellow supervisors at a meeting in April.
“It makes sense,” Argue said. “The county could run it, or they could turn it over to the district. I think that’s a good solution.”
After discussion, the supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of a resolution supporting the concept, without naming a specific location.
However, not everyone is onboard with the idea, including leaders of the area’s trucker contingent. “That might be a solution for some of us, but not for all of us,” said Natalia Melian, leader of the Save Our Truckers group. “I’m in support of keeping my property rights… and keeping my truck on my property.”
County Commissioner Sara Baxter said that she does not favor the concept of a truck park.
“I want to support the truckers who’ve been there for decades,” she said. “It’s their land. They need to have a space to exist. I don’t want to take that away from them.”
Baxter said that she understands the concerns of some residents and ITID officials about the heavy trucks traveling and possibly damaging district streets to get home, but “trucks will still be traveling the roads. It’s more about the [overall] increase in traffic, and not these trucks.”
Melian has said that many truckers and their families moved to the area specifically because they could park their rigs on their multi-acre properties.
Baxter is pushing for changes to the county’s regulations that would restore that right to truckers.
What this all really comes down to is a “bad cut-and-paste job” when the county’s code was amended in 2008 and 2019, Baxter said, adding that prior to that time, “semi-tractors” were included in the definition of “commercial vehicles” allowed to park on properties of one acre or more that are zoned agricultural residential.
A vote by the Palm Beach County Commission on those proposed changes could come up as early as June.
Although ITID Supervisor Elizabeth Accomando voted in favor of the truck lot resolution proposed by Argue, she said this week that she is concerned that such a truck lot could send a lot more traffic down Carol Street in the Santa Rosa Groves neighborhood. It also could be problematic for the Sunny Urban Meadows and Tall Pines neighborhoods, she said.
“We could be creating unexpected consequences if we put a truck park out there,” she said. “We don’t know what the county is going to do. Are [the commissioners] going to allow one or two trucks on these properties? It’s way to soon to say what we ought to do about it.”