Differing opinions on the use of Fourth Street in La Porte City for farm traffic have resulted in a compromise over the City’s proposed ordinance to ban vehicles weighing more than five tons. Initially, the City’s ban would have required farm traffic to use the designated farm-to-market road, Eighth Street, when transporting loads to and from the local Co-op. Concerns from the farming community, however, gave cause for the Council to reconsider that course of action. At last week’s City Council meeting, council members heard comments from both sides of the issue before implementing a compromise.

Rick Ogle spoke to the City Council regarding the changing of the load limits on Fourth Street. He indicated that the majority of his customers would like to see Fourth Street open to heavy traffic year around instead of just October and November as was proposed at the previous City Council meeting. He also indicated that the current weight limits on Main Street make it difficult for trucks and tractors coming in on Tama Road.
Mayor Neil responded that the City’s interest is in preserving Fourth Street until the City can bond to rebuild it.

Linda Keel, grain manager for Mid Iowa Coop also spoke and indicated that they are excited to be in La Porte City and look forward to working in the City. However, she also indicated that in other communities where there was not support for farmers and the coop, they have moved their facilities out of those communities.

Speaking in support of imposing weight restrictions on Fourth Street traffic, Jeff Voelschow addressed the ag traffic on Bishop Road near his home. He indicated that many of the trucks do not have their loads covered, which results in dust and debris flying out. He stated he would like to see the loads covered to reduce the dust, adding that he believes that the issues with traffic and dust have gotten worse over time. He indicated that he is in favor of the weight restrictions because he believes that it is the only way to preserve the overlay on Fourth Street.

Cheryl Voelschow commented that even allowing heavy traffic to use Fourth Street for just two months of the year will still cause it to deteriorate. She added that some of the City’s weight restrictions already in place, such as the bridge on Fourth Street, are disregarded by some trucks on their way to and from the east bin site at the Co-op.

Council member Sadler reminded those present that allowing two months for heavy traffic on Fourth Street came from discussions at the previous City Council meeting following a request for a compromise to allow heavy traffic during the busiest months of the year.

Following approval of the consent agenda, the Council then passed Ordinance 555, which will prohibit any vehicle with a gross weight in excess of five (5) tons from operating on Third Street between Commercial and Cedar Streets. School buses, city vehicles and vehicles making deliveries would be exempt. Not part of the Fourth Street discussion, the new weight restrictions on Third Street will be in effect year-round.

The Council then adopted Ordinance 556, which will also place a five (5) ton limit on vehicles operating on Fourth Street between Commercial and Cedar Streets except for the months of October and November of each year. School buses, city vehicles and vehicles making deliveries would be exempt.
The new weight restriction ordinances will become effective upon the placement of new signage.

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Dave Neil and the City Council gave special recognition to Dick Sides, presenting him with a plaque in appreciation of his 34 years of service on the La Porte City Planning & Zoning Commission.