Mitch Powell is an American veteran that served two tours in Iraq. He returned to his home in Virginia beach in 2006 and continued to serve until last year, when he was forced to leave the military due to an injury. He was elated to discover he could purchase one of the giant M35 military cargo trucks that he rode in while serving in Iraq from a seller in Norfolk, Virginia. He was disappointed to learn that Virginia Beach city code would prevent him from parking the vehicle on or in front of his property.
“It’s one in a million that I would find this truck so close to home,” said Powell. “It’s a member of the military community as I see it.”
Powell bought the massive truck with the hopes of turning it into a memorial for soldiers that perished while serving with him in Iraq. Unfortunately, the 2.5 ton vehicle is capable of carrying up to 2 tons of freight and must be classified as a commercial vehicle due to its weight and hauling capabilities. Because of that, parking the truck on or in front of private property in prohibited in Virginia Beach City.
Powell challenged the parking restrictions in court twice. The court maintained that decommissioned military vehicles should be classified as commercial vehicles. Forcing Powell to move the truck to a storage location away from his home.
“We just want to be able to keep it in our yards,” said John Huff, another Virginia Beach City resident that is forced to park a decommissioned military at an expensive storage facility. “It’s not junk; it’s not hurting anyone.”
Supporters of the ruling argue that large vehicles in residential neighborhoods make it difficult for other cars, including emergency response teams, to travel on narrow streets. Others argue that the trucks aren’t aesthetically pleasing. Powell argues that the city needs to change the code to accommodate for military vehicle owners that use their trucks for charity work and not to haul material.