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Sparing RVs, Palm Coast Takes On Truckers Making Rest Stops of Box Store Parking Lots

| February 1, 2012

Truckers like using box stores' parking lots as rest stops, and nearby restaurants love it. Palm Coast is cracking down on the practice. (© FlaglerLive)

To Bill Lewis, the Palm Coast City Council member, it’s been a recurring problem he keeps hearing about from his constituents: big rigs are using the parking lots at Walmart, Lowe’s and Kohl’s as truck stops. “It’s not really my issue, it’s the resident’s issue,” Lewis says. “Every time they would see me, what are you doing about those trucks, what are you doing about those trucks, and can’t the city do something.”

Now the city has, though at least one council member questions making the trucks an issue.

“It would be different if Walmart or Kohl’s or Home Depot and came to the city and said hey, you guys have to do something about these trucks parking on our property,” council member Bill McGuire said, “but they’ve never objected in any way.” Nor have residents, according to McGuire, who calls it Lewis’s “pet issue.”

bill lewis palm coast city council member

Bill Lewis. (© FlaglerLive)

Lewis disagrees. “Bill hasn’t been around looking long enough,” Lewis said of McGuire, noting that the matter has been ongoing for about a year, “although the restaurants in the area loved it.” Truckers’ hunger can be lucrative.

Beginning on Oct. 6, the city’s code enforcement staff began monitoring the parking lots in question. On Dec. 15, Barbara Grossman, the code enforcement manager, told the council this week, the city sent “a warning letter out to both Lowe’s and Walmart,” and Home Depot, where Penske rental trucks had been parking. The Penske trucks are gone from Home Depot. . “Walmart has worked very diligently to keep trucks out of there,” Grossman said, including by placing a trailer in the spot where one of the trucks liked to park.

“Lowe’s though, we have a little issue with,” Grossman said. She met with management and the storte was to get signs that would clearly state prohibitions against extended truck parking, but those signs haven’t gone up yet. “I put another letter out to Lowe’s [Monday] to say I haven’t seen any signs,” Grossman said, adding that she’s scheduled the Lowe’s matter for the March Code Enforcement Board, signaling the city’s willingness to play hardball.

Prohibitions against commercial vehicles, including big rigs and recreational vehicles, are clear and numerous, as far as residential areas are concerned. It’s not as clear regarding commercial vehicles on commercial parking lots. The city itself cannot address the truck parking directly because the parking lots are private property: it cannot go up to a truck and demand that the trucker leave, for example. It must rely on the parking section of the city’s code, which only vaguely addresses the issue. “There wansn’t much we could do except speak to the management of those properties,” Grossman said.


Lewis says the problem is with rigs staying days on end, not temporary stops. And he doesn’t see a problem with recreational vehicles that routinely use Walmart’s parking lot overnight. Walmart itself has encouraged the practice: it draws customers into its stores, which have thrived as host of the RV culture. “While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers,” the company tells RV enthusiasts, “Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws.” Palm Coast’s Walmart on Cypress Point is among those that welcome such vehicles.

The city isn’t going after RVs at Walmart, and may also indulge overnight truckers. “they’re gone by the time I drive by there and it’s still dark out,” Grossman said, wittily describing her own sleuthing as her “wonderful undercover work” : she found three companies’ trucks in particular were using the lots, got their Department of Transportation identifying numbers, and took them to DOT, as well as to the managers of the stores.

Grossman updated Lewis and the council toward the end of the last council meeting, during the city manager’s portion of the proceedings. Lewis was pleased with the results. None of the other council members spoke, including McGuire, who said it was Lewis’s issue. “I had hoped that this thing would die or go away,” McGuire said, having heard of it before his election to the council in November.  “None of the public seem to be interested in it and the stores weren’t interested in it but for some reason this was something that was important to him.”

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57 Responses for “Sparing RVs, Palm Coast Takes On Truckers Making Rest Stops of Box Store Parking Lots”

  1. Jana DiNatale says:

    Would you people SERIOUSLY find something else to do? Unbelievable…monitoring COMPANY PARKING LOTS! AT least the truckers WHO PROVIDE US WITH OUR GOODS are responsible NOT to be on the road driving while drowsy! How about seeing how effective your “so called pony patrol” at the Wal-Mart is doing? OH and come to my house and remove the “SH—” off my tires…OMG…Just like Palm Coast’s STUPID city council.

  2. Rocky Mac says:

    I’m perplexed about this issue. Are these trucks in anyone’s way? Are they causing congestion? Are they causing hazardous driving conditions? Why does anyone even care? Sounds like just some whiny people with nothing better to do but complain. Truck drivers have one of the most stressful jobs out there. We all depend greatly on them. Give them a break for heaven’s sake.

  3. diane says:

    I get they don’t want truckers leaving trucks there for weeks. But perhaps Lewis should read up on the laws truckers must follow, such as their regulated breaks. Some of those truckers drive all day to get those loads to Walmart, kohls, lowes, etc. By the time they get unloaded they have no more hours left to drive legally so they must park. If they drive and get pulled over they can get fined, some even have computers where the truck won’t start if the truckers needs a break.Where does Lewis suggest they park?? As for the aesthetics of trucks, some of those trucks are better maintained then the Walmart parking lot. For those citizens complaining about the trucks , they should get off their high horse and realize that’s how stores get the products you buy. Perhaps our code enforcement should be working bigger issues, and if they have so much time to do these kind of useless tasks perhaps the number of these positions should be cut down, considering how we need to keep cutting on real issues such as cops and sidewalks!

  4. I was just thinking that I would rather them pull over and sleep in a parking lot than be driving down 95 half or completely snoozing behind the wheel!

  5. palmcoaster says:

    I can’t believe that our Councilman Lewis bring this issue to overburden our city code enforcement. This parking places are “private commercial property” that sure benefits from the parking of those rigs, otherwise they would not allow them. Myself often shopping on those stores I have never been bother by any eyesore or inconvenience over the use by the truckers of some parking spaces. Does Mr. Lewis and our city officials realize that these truckers use our local restaurants and businesses while parked? Do you all realize that we have a bad economy and the highest unemployment in Florida and we need all the business we can grab?. How come some of these Palm Coast residents be so detach from this harsh reality. We better let them park and rest in these box stores parking lots other than proceed exhausted driving on I95. I would not like to expose myself to that hazard. Are we spitting against the wind here?
    If we let them do this to truckers the next will be the RV’s welcomed to overnight by Walmart and other big box stores thru out the USA. Palm Coast just started a new promotion of DiscoverPalmCoast.com with music and all and we are going to discriminate against truckers up front? C’mon! If not for our cross country truckers we will not receive our food in our table! Mr.Lewis what about we tell those truckers “Welcome to Palm Coast” instead?

  6. George Bowman says:

    Wow!! this is a joke, has any one ever seen what happens when a 90,000 pound truck hits a 3,500 pound car ?? and they say the driver of the truck fell asleep. this is pure BS by the city and there staff wasting taxpayer $$ let the people who hall our products get there brakes and there sleep dont park there for weeks but overnight you got to be kidding!!!! hey city of Palm Coast Get A Grip!!!

    • John Boy says:

      Better not be 90,000 pound trucks, maximum weight limitation is 80,000 and there are weight facilities within 10 miles north and south of Palm Coast, by the way they also have facilities for truckers to rest and sleep. I don’t personnally have a problem with trucks in commerical parking lots but let’s stop the fear mongering and stupid comments.

  7. Ely Rondon via Facebook says:

    Total bs,truckers are there for a reason they either bringing or taking a load from the locals businesses that provides to the local whiny residents.

  8. PJ says:

    Just what our businesses need. You don’t have anything to worry about now. Every trucker from Boston to the florida keys knows not to stop in Plam Coast via CBradio. Along with this information so will the RV’ers. Golden Corral sees about 20-30 big rigs and RV’s a day. They stop and shop in Walmart,Target and yes they need to take DOT breaks as required.

    Once again our lost souls of the Palm Coast city council. You can’t make this stuff up. terrible management lets everything go to hell and a handbag here.

    Bill Lewis another looser on the council

    Lewis please use your time on the council being productive!

    Here let me help you find a few things to do please get a pen, I’ll give you a moment Mr. lewis. Ok, are you ready? Here:

    1) consider side walks where folks have been killed riding a bike or walking their dog.
    2) find a way of bringing business to the Palm Coast businesses not chase it away (like the big rig issue?)
    3) Get ideas from others and try to bring them to a reality.
    4) Get rid of the red light camers and put in collission avoidance yellow hold system.
    5) ok if i were you I would stick to #3 because it is evident that your ideas really suck.
    6) you should consider another job because you need help here on this one.

    One last thing how much longer do you have in office……………………………

  9. real people says:

    The whole country is bleeding financially.Welcome to Palm Coast and city officials ideas. Palm Coast officials, why don’t you pull your head out of your rear ends and smell the coffee. All who I blame is the over 90% who never voted. May god bless America the only country in the world we drive on the parkway and park in the drive way. Or shall we say the parking lots? Seriously? We are upset about truckers? They have and always will be my friends on I95 as I have to travel to work! Why? There aren’t any jobs here and now they are a problem? You people are really bored. I work too much and too hard to notice. God Bless The Truckers!!!! Keep coming. To me you are all WELCOME!!! My driveway can fit one at a time. Keep Rollin!!! Land of the dumb.

  10. Eileen Curran via Facebook says:

    GEEEEZZEE!! These guys are just trying TO make a living !!! LEAVE THE WORKING FOLKS ALONE!!! I CAN NOT BELIEVE THIS BILL LEWIS

  11. Ernie Toth via Facebook says:

    No common sense

  12. Jim Howe via Facebook says:

    They just can’t leave the working stiffs alone…

  13. Michael Stavris via Facebook says:

    Because it makes the city look like crap

    • SSDD says:

      So that 12 hours that a truck sits over in the far side of the parking lot on private property when the driver wakes up and goes into the store to get supplies and spends money to help our local economy, it makes the city look like crap??? What about the yards that are so overgrown or houses with graffiti on them??? That makes the city look like crap… What even more makes the city look like crap, the politics and choices of issues the commissioners pick to go after…

  14. I agree let them take a break! I am sure they would rather be home in bed.

  15. sounds like bill lewis just likes to hear hiimself talk. If something is working why does he need to fix it. Whatever food they buy here brings money into the community. I agree. Better to keep them off 95 when they aare that tired. No harm is being done and they may just be a deterent to break ins.

  16. Joe A. says:

    I sense fighting between Mr. Lewis and Mr. McGuire. As for the truck issue, who cares? Out of sight, out of mind. How about we start going into some of these neighborhoods that look like a bomb went off. Let code enforcement worry about cleaning up our streets. Leave the trucks alone, at least they are spending money in the city.

  17. Allow drivers a place to rest, we need them to operate trucks safely in our community.

  18. patty says:

    The Council members who are wasting their time over such a silly issue…. wait it is not only silly ,its shortsighted too….. should be voted off as soon as possible.

    It is a safety issue and truckers should be allowed to rest up. Besides the stores’ parking lots are private property and Walmart did not become the grand daddy of stores by being stupid. Instead Walmart encourages this kind of traffic because it brings in valuable revenue. One would think that businesses in PC would welcome any honest infusion of revenue in this cash strapped economy. But of course the Council members for whom truck parking in private lots is a pet issue, dont have a clue about the city’s struggling businesses, wrapped up as they are in their own world of petty issues. Foolishness on a ridiculously large scale!!!!

  19. tjm says:

    I guess MR LEWIS does not realize that some of those truckers LIVE here in Palm Ghost. They pay Property TAXES, Their families shop locally… DUHH.. They add money to our economy. And they dont bother the business and are parked on the perimeter of the lots.. They sure can’t park in their neighborhood. And some of those guys are on the road for weeks at a time and finally get to spend a few days with the family…

    My guess is some of your constituents have those over prIced parking lots for rent and are ticked they are not sucking the blood out of the big rigs. WHO by the way are getting slaughtered by THE COST OF FUEL!!

    SHAME ON YOU mr lewis FOR WASTING OUR MONEY HAVING CODE OFFICERS AND OFFICE PERSONAL WORKING ON THIS. AND LETS NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE COST OF POSTAGE AND THE STATIONARY WASTED ON THIS.. YOU TRULY ARE THE VILLAGE IDIOT.

    GET a life PALM GHOST. BEFORE YOU REALLY BECOME A GHOST TOWN…

  20. it’s not like the trucks are parked in a residential area. who lives in the parking lots to be annoyed?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Bill Lewis, who I consider a friend, is way off base on this effort. Once again, the City is bullying another employer/issue in the City..This started with Bill’s attempting to get some rental trucks removed from the St. Joe’s/ Brighthouse area. What’s next, removing the BH repair trucks?? Perhaps Code enforcement should arm it’s employees, and take over the Sheriff’s functions. Just how many of these trucks belong to PC residents, who cannot park their rigs on the City streets. If you want to see an extension of this foolishness, just go to a Code Enforcement Board meeting, and see what residents have to put up with..A Kangaroo Court… Are we wanting to be downtown West Palm Beach?? Leave the employed truckers out of our concerns. I’d rather have truckers in the lots, than a monster Desalination Plant built in our City. It’s coming folks, but the Council does not seem concerned over residents reactions!!…

  22. Hsart says:

    With All the Breakins Going On throughOut this County One would Have to Agree that Monitoring Parking Lots for a Tractor Trailors Would be on the Back Burner! The State Does Provide Rest Stops, But Did You ever think that Maybe the Driver is Enjoying a Little Down Time, Having Dinner, Buying Personal Items??? The ONLY way they have to get there is their Truck, COME ON PEOPLE Get a Life! They are in that Truck Days on End From One end of this Country to the Other Regardless of Weather to Bring You and I the things we need!! I be More Apt to want to “MONITOR” the People who came up with this Idea in the First Place!! Talk About Being “BORED”!!!!

  23. John Smith says:

    Well from the way I understand it there is actually nothing that PC can do about the trucks being parked on the COMMERCIAL PARKING LOTS, so unless the stores refuse to let them on there own then I would just park there. The DOT would NOT have anything to DO with this since the trucks are not on the road that is a BS threat.. What makes the difference whether it is a 48 ft truck or a 48 ft MOTOR HOME pulling a car. I wish I was still driving my truck because I WOULD PARK THERE waiting for the courts to tell me different. It is some uppity Councilmen representing his uppity residents with there motor homes causing more this problem let the entire commission decide this not a GROUP of people.

  24. agnese says:

    So what is wrong with a few truckers taking a nap so they can drive safer?? Perhaps Mr, Lewis should wake up and get a real job, it must be a good week if he has nothing better to blather about !!

    • John Boy says:

      Maybe Mr. Lewis should als looking into the hundreds of City vehicles parked in the lot of the Old City Walk, these vehicles are clearly commerical with Palm Coast logos on them. Simply another example of do as I say not as I do.

  25. BILOXI says:

    What is wrong with PALM COAST!! Find something else to gripe about!! Trucks parking in an empty parking lot at night, who the hell cares??? Lewis get a JOB!!

  26. roco says:

    Don’t worry folks Landon will take care or it. Just like everything else, Knee Jerking..

  27. wsh302@msn.com says:

    lewis is finding any bs out there to justify his existence on the council, i think he is afraid or does not know how to tackle the troubling issues the city is facing.

  28. Doug Chozianin says:

    Let’s ban trucks,RVs, dogs and anything else that can annoy one or two people in Palm Coast OR Councilman Bill Lewis. The choice is obvious.

    See you next election Councilman.

  29. palmcoaster says:

    My appreciation to Flagler Live for keeping us informed of these city meassures by attending these meetings. Looks like we loose some very undermining voting by Not Going To These Meetings….what were the majority of this city council thinking about? Sorry that Barbara Grossman had to be overburdened with one more but ridiculous rule to be enforced….None had the courage to oppose it.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Palmcoaster thanks for the comment, keeping in mind that we don’t actually attend all these interminable meetings (the mental health component of our health insurance isn’t nearly that good and life is short), their free and easily accessible webcasting making it possible to follow them–and actually double or triple their speed to get to the rarefied substance.

  30. tjm says:

    Palmcoaster are you kidding me grossman enjoyed this. Here is her own quote from above.

    ” Grossman said, wittily describing her own sleuthing as her “wonderful undercover work”

  31. Anonymous says:

    This is the City’s way of putting everyone on notice that they plan on finding a way to squeeze revenue either out of the truckers or the establishments that allow them to park on their property.

  32. Geezer Butler says:

    How about managing more – micro-managing less? Palm Coast is always picking on the little guy.
    Be it a garage sale, or a trucker parking his rig.

    Worry more about the gangs sprouting up around town.

  33. palmcoaster says:

    @ tjm; I think her comment was just being “sarcastic about her mandated new duties”. I think Mrs. Barbara Grossman does a good job in the City of Palm Coast considering that is the never welcomed and difficult Code Enforcement Department work, she does not over, or under enforce the city ordinances and is very responsive as well to the residents calls. But is just my personal opinion about her, as being myself a resident of Palm Coast since 1991. One of my relatives residing overseas and being a code enforcement officer has to do his enforcement rounds, escorted by a police patrol. What about that…? Imagine tjm yourself doing Mrs Grossman work? Because someone has to do it!
    @Flagler Live, thank you again for clarifying about attending the meetings …and I know they are interminable even watching them at home televised, still a threat to our mental sanity.

  34. Jim J says:

    Leave the truckers alone – Lewis needs to to get a life

  35. Gail says:

    How stupid! I think the city council needs some young blood instead of these old farts that have too much time on their hands. Give me a break!

  36. Ralph Belcher says:

    Lewis keeps proving his relevance to his/our community.

    There’s a little bit of a catch 22. Of course, we don’t want the 18 wheelers parked in the residential swales. Many of these drivers own homes and have families in Palm Coast.

    Shoppers at the big box stores apparently complain (only ) to Lewis. No other Council Members complain about it (apparently).

    I think we CAN host a few rigs and RVs at our commercial centers as the space exists. Let them pay us that half-penny sales taxes on thier meals and provisional stock bought in our big box stores.

    We do know that Lewis buys his personal car tires at Wal Mart. He must think they were brought in via mini-van or something… ?

    Now if they’re just “crusing” up and down our parkways… well then… that’s not what a parkway is for. No commercial traffic (generally).

    This is really petty. I don’t own/operate such vehicles, nor am associated with anyone who does. To a limit, let the truck drivers alone. You may find a few who have to WAIT to ditch their loads at Walmart, etc. This won’t be all the 18 wheelers’ case… but a handful of trucks is OK in my book.

  37. comment says:

    I have lived in Palm Coast for 12 years. I am quite active in the community and frequent many of the big box stores who allow trucks to park in their lots. I have for years been an active member on many of the past and present PC/Flagler County forums and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have I taken notice of this supposed problem, nor have I ever read or heard a complaint from a single person. I don’t know Mr. Lewis or what circle he travels in to hear so many complaints that this is now consuming our tax dollars, but it must be some secret society of nasty, bitter, resentful people who want to begrudge the working man and our communities economy. Go away with you BS Mr. Lewis!

  38. elaygee says:

    Has he nothing else to do?

  39. Ralph Belcher says:

    I’ve been here a number of years, and I HAVE noticed the semi-trailers/Big-Rigs, as you will, and I welcome them to our commercial strips as any other neighbor. Especially those who are transitory in nature. If the same rig is there all week or longer… OK, it’s time to move it along. If someone is taking a nap or popping into their house in PC for a couple of days or so… that’s all good. Pay attention to how many spots in the woodline along I-95 show evidence of trucks screaming off the road while the driver is asleep at the wheel… think.

  40. roco says:

    Hey, Lewis look at the postings. Do you get the message? Get back to work and do something and earn the money you’re being paid..

  41. Anonymous says:

    Lewis: get a life !

  42. robert says:

    What a joke. This is what we pay taxes for and elect people into office. Let’s figure out a way to have less and less working men and women get off I-95, pull into the towns business parking lots as they have been driving all day working. Only to get sent away because they parked in a few spaces that weren’t even being used. Good way to stimulate the local economy.

  43. Michael says:

    As an over the road truck driver, I see this kind of thing way to often. I’d like to thank the great residents of Palm Coast for standing up for us. Yes, there are truck stops and rest areas, yet, after early evening these places fill up quickly. As was mentioned, sometimes we do have to wait several hours to load or unload and run out of hours to drive. Seeing the reaction of you, the residents, I will be stopping and spending my money in your community any chance I get. Thank you.

  44. Dan Suffolk says:

    Would you people SERIOUSLY find something else to do? Unbelievable…monitoring COMPANY PARKING LOTS! AT least the truckers WHO PROVIDE US WITH OUR GOODS are responsible NOT to be on the road driving while drowsy! . Makes it seem like PC IS A BUNCH OF RICH SNOBBY PEOPLE!!

  45. Dan Irt Suffolk via Facebook says:

    Dude the “City ALREADY LOOKS LIKE CRAP GIVE US A BREAK!!. Are you serious they are the REASON YOU HAVE FOOD AND EVERYTHING ELSE SO QUIT ACTING LIKE A BUNCH OF 2 YEAR OLDS!! AND DO SOMETHING LIKE MAKE JOBS AND OTHER STUFF!!

  46. Richard says:

    Many of the trucks that park in the lots, belong to local residents. They are parking during their rest and are staying with family. Remember, sone of these drivers are on the road 5 days a week or more.

  47. jespo says:

    Mr Lewis………do some hard work, real work, you know…labor. It might help you grow a heart, a brain, and a life worth living as well as a better understanding of the transportation industry. You’re an embarassment to the people of this county who work for a living just to make ends meet. We expect more from our Council and shame on them for entertaining your ignorance.

  48. roco says:

    Lewis, Landon and city counsel, Ihope you are reading these postings. 52 posting on one issue is the most I’ve seen.. It should send a message to you nimrods to do something constructive with your time..

  49. trucker says:

    Vote the MORON out!

  50. Gia says:

    Bill Lewis go home. Another useless yoyo

  51. Magicone says:

    Code enforcement does not do the job they are paid for to start with. Now your going to burden them with monitoring semi truck parking, as well as busting places for selling fake marijuana or bath salts. Sounds like a job for the sheriffs office. Put up “no overnight parking” signs and let the law enforcement do their job. The Staples parking lot is a well known sleep over for truckers, and their are deputies at the Shell station all night long eating and drinking coffee(Dunkin Donuts). They are just turning their heads and not enforcing the law. There is a rest stop just 18 miles north on I-95……..18 miles is nothing to a trucker. That is not to mention that there is a weigh station Northbound and Southbound on I-95 with plenty of room for truckers to park. It is great to have a wonderful undercover worker in charge of our code enforcement, “still dark out when I drive by there” who does she thinks she is fooling. No one in code enforcement works that early. They drive right by code violations in the daytime, what makes Lewis think they will do anything at night???

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