NewsPalm Beach County


Palm Beach County truckers balk at code enforcement: 'We just want to be left alone'

At issue is whether residents should be allowed to park semi-trucks outside their homes
Posted at 11:22 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 08:58:43-04

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. — In western Palm Beach County, concerns are growing from residents who claim they have been targeted and harassed by code enforcement.

"We just want to be left alone. Let us go back to living the way we were living before," said John Ellis.

"We're asking for help, and we need help now," said Natalia Melian, who helped organize Wednesday night's town hall meeting at Seminole Ridge High School.

She told WPTV that, as of 2019, she and her husband are no longer allowed to park their semi-trucks at home. She said the recent changes to the county's code impact their bottom line, and the constant fines jeopardize their livelihood.

"We were told by code enforcement officers, ex-county Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, that we could have up to two commercial vehicles of mine, semi-trucks with trailers, and now, all of a sudden, we cannot have (them) anymore," said Melian.

Natalia Melian says she's suddenly being told she can't park semi-truck in her yard
Natalia Melian says she was once told she could park a semi-truck in her yard. Now, she says, she's being told otherwise.

However, other residents who attended the meeting disagreed with those claims.

"From what I've been told, semi-trucks were never permitted to be out there," said Risa Mccarraher.

Pia Skoran, who has started her petition against semi-truck parking, shared the same frustrations.

"Our roads aren't prepared for them," said Skoran. "We have wells out here. Who's going to monitor their waste disposal for oil, for antifreeze, for whatever else they do?"

Under the current zoning code, residents are allowed one commercial truck to be stored, but it cannot weigh more than 12,500 pounds and be higher than 26 feet in length.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Sara Baxter holds town hall meeting on semi-truck code enforcement, March 15, 2023
Palm Beach County Commissioner Sara Baxter speaks to residents during a town hall on the enforcement of semi-trucks parked outside certain homes in her district, March 15, 2023, at Seminole Ridge High School in Loxahatchee, Fla.

During the meeting, led by Commissioner Sara Baxter, she addressed the need for clarity in the county's code and said she would be looking into residents' complaints against code enforcement.

"Why say semi-trucks are allowed when no semi-truck weighs under 12,500 pounds?" asked Baxter. "That's where it gets confusing."

According to Baxter, county commissioners plan to discuss the enforcement issues at next week's meeting to help develop a solution for all residents.