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Alderman wants to prevent U-Haul trucks taking over Nashua street

NASHUA - Following extensive debate, an aldermanic panel is recommending city officials approve an ordinance that would prohibit businesses from parking rental trucks on public streets.

On Orange Street, this has become a constant problem, according to Alderman Diane Sheehan, Ward 3, who said several U-Haul trucks are parked on the street and sometimes on the sidewalk from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. She said the vehicles, which are being rented by Rod's Automotive, take up valuable parking spaces, prohibit pedestrians from walking on the sidewalk, prevent snow-plowing and also create a sight problem for motorists.

"This situation has been going on for quite awhile," Sheehan told the aldermanic Committee on Infrastructure this week. "This is inventory for this business and has to be warehoused."

While the vehicle repair shop is certainly permitted to rent moving vehicles, Sheehan said the rental trucks should be housed within the business property, not on a public street.

If that isn't feasible, she said the owner should consider leasing a space for the rental trucks.

"We are very tight here, and particularly in this neighborhood," Sheehan said of Orange Street.

She noted that during the Nemo snowstorm earlier this year, three snowplows were stuck in the area because a U-Haul truck was illegally parking during the snow emergency.

Alderman Richard Dowd, Ward 2, ultimately supported the resolution, but had several reservations about whether it was necessary.

"Don't we have laws that are already applicable," Dowd asked his fellow committee members, questioning why the code enforcement division doesn't mandate that the vehicles be removed. Sheehan said she has been working with several city employees to remedy the problem for about a year, but the problem persists.

"It would be nice if they were a little more courteous and just didn't park their vehicles there," agreed Alderman-at-Large David Deane, saying that it seems to be an expansion problem for the car repair shop.

While this may be an isolated incident, Sheehan said this could happen elsewhere in the city, stressing the situation needs to be resolved now before it expands to other locations.

"They make life very difficult for everybody else," agreed Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly, echoing Sheehan's concerns that something should soon be done.

Tracy Pappas, who often walks in the area, wrote a letter to Sheehan addressing her problems with the parking situation throughout French Hill.

"When the large vehicles are parked on the street, walkers are forced to walk in the middle of the road close to a busy intersection," wrote Pappas. "Under the best of circumstances, visibility is very limited at this intersection. The U-Hauls parked where they are parked make it impossible for drivers to see pedestrians who are forced out in the street by the large U-Hauls."

Committee members assigned a fine of $125 for anyone violating the new ordinance, which will double if the fee is not paid within seven days.

Alderman-at-Large Mark Cookson was the only person to vote against the proposal, saying it would be beneficial to have more information from police or code enforcement workers.

Cookson said he was unsure the proposed ordinance was the best solution to the problem. The full Board of Aldermen will now have an opportunity to vote on the ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

Rod MacIntyre, owner of Rod's Automotive, was not available for comment on Thursday.

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