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.
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.
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.