Mitch Powell served two tours in Iraq before leaving the military last year due to an injury. The veteran returned to Virginia Beach in 2006 and decided to buy a giant M35 military cargo truck just like what he once rode in as a soldier, which the city is now forbidding him from parking in his yard.
It’s not just any M35 truck either. Powell managed to find one of the trucks he was deployed with from a seller in Norfolk, Virginia, and bought it with the hopes of turning it into a memorial for soldiers he knew that died in the war, according to The Virginian Pilot.
Unfortunately, Powell’s truck violates the Virginia Beach city code on parking restrictions, classifying the truck as a commercial vehicle due to its payload weight. Powell originally tried to park it in his yard in a residential neighborhood, and despite the camouflage, it stands out.
Powell initially tried to fight the city’s code last year, and they took him to court. The case was one of two where the court upheld that these decommissioned military vehicles should be classified as commercial vehicles under the city’s code. Powell has since had to move the truck to a storage location away from his home.
And Powell isn’t the only one with an M35 truck in Virginia Beach getting into trouble. The Pilot cites that another resident, Edward Huff, received a violation notice a month after getting his M35, and now has to pay $100 a month to park it away from his home.
“We just want to be able to keep it in our yards,” Huff said. “It’s not junk; it’s not hurting anyone.”
The Pilot also points out another case where the city inspectors came after a firefighter with a collection of vintage trucks:
In Chimney Hill, former firefighter Jasen White had to move his antique fire trucks to family property in Pungo after a neighbor complained. He wasn’t formally cited but inspectors did tell him he had to find somewhere else to park his trucks.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” White said. “They’re antique vehicles, not a commercial vehicle.”
How hard would it be for Virginia Beach to alter its parking codes to not punish people like Mitch Powell, Edward Huff and Jasen White?
Most of the owners of these vehicles participate in local events like festivals, charity events and parades, and the city of Virginia Beach wont let people like Mitch Powell keep the trucks that mean so much to them, and sometimes their community, at home where they belong.