For years after his service ended, Iraq War veteran Mitch Powell turned over what seemed like every rock for the chance to be reunited with the vehicle that helped him get through all those potentially-deadly deployments overseas: the M35 cargo truck (a decommissioned version, of course, now that he was back in civilian life).
Then, one day, eureka.
A seller in Norfolk was ready to unload a bruiser, and Powell didn’t hesitate. He bought it, with an ultimate intention of reworking it into a memorial for his fellow fallen soldiers.
“It’s one in a million that I would find this truck so close to home,” he told the Virginia Pilot recently.
Despite the big, four-wheel beast being a … well, beast — a sneaky tangle of red tape ensnared its wheels, after the transaction.
According to city code in Virginia Beach — where the vet lived — Powell couldn’t keep the M35 at his home. His only option was to keep it in storage.
Naturally, he tried to play a little chicken with the law, and keep it anyhow, only to be taken to court by the municipality and its attorney.
He was cited, and eventually lost the ruling. Currently, his M35 simply can’t be classified as an antique vehicle but rather a commercial one, which prohibits it from being parked in a residential nabe.
The reasons? The city says it clogs up the streets for first responders and it’s not aesthetically pleasing.
“We just want to keep it in our yards,” said one M35 owner. “It’s not junk. It’s not hurting anyone.”
While Powell and others vehemently disagree with the ordinance, there doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon in line to amend it.