For more than three decades, some residents have expressed discontent with the local zoning ordinance banning pickup trucks in residential areas. It was a controversial law that, at times, attracted national attention.
On Jan. 7, Flossmoor village board members took the advice of residents who last fall overwhelmingly indicated the ordinance had been around long enough, and voted unanimously to overturn it.
It’s unlikely that the Flossmoor Police Department will miss the pickup parking ban. With the ban overturned, officers will no longer have to enforce an increasingly unpopular ordinance involving residents’ personal vehicles.
Deputy Police Chief Tod Kamleiter said he and other officers often sympathized with residents who were ticketed for parking trucks on their property. Some moved to the village with no idea that truck parking was illegal in residential areas.
“Residents with $50,000 Ford F-150’s were getting tickets for parking in their driveways,” Kamleiter said. “Meanwhile, the 20-year-old Ford Focus leaking motor oil is allowed in the neighbor’s driveway.”
The controversial prohibition, initially implemented in the 1980s, prohibited residents from parking both personal and commercial use pickup trucks in the village of Flossmoor. It was later amended to allow residents to store pickup trucks in their garages.
Stung by citations, some critics called the ban elitist, and lamented that it only drove people away from Flossmoor when the village should aim to attract more residents.
“We’ve had residents think about moving away, and we’ve had people who were looking to move to Flossmoor and decided not to, because of the ban,” Kamleiter said.
Kamleiter says that Flossmoor residents’ commercial use trucks are still not allowed on residential driveways.
“Prohibition on commercial use pickup trucks still stands. The enforcement of the new ordinance will be complaint driven. Dump, tow and pickup trucks with commercial equipment like ladders or dollies are still banned in residential zones,” Kamleiter said.
Under the new ordinance, pickup truck license plates cannot exceed the “B” classification, be more than eight feet in height or width, and must be 8,000 pounds or lighter, including the weight they can haul.
In last November’s advisory referendum, 62 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of changing the existing law.
The Jan. 7 vote was a direct response to that referendum, said Flossmoor Trustee James Wilder.
“Residents were in favor of pickup trucks two to one. When you have that, it’s time to make a change,” he said. “It was one of the oldest ordinances in Flossmoor. Our job as trustees is to serve the residents and do what they think is best. And we voted to lift the ban on pick-up trucks.”
Wilder says that as society evolved with people choosing SUVs and pickup trucks over sedans, residents’ preferred mode of transportation put them at odd with the village policy.
“Residents speak to their needs; our job is to listen,’’ Wilder said. “My opinion is this: We serve at the pleasure of the people. As long as we can do what they feel they need, we’ve done our job.”