We had a short agenda Monday evening. Finance Committee met for some routine business. The Boy Scouts from Holy Family led the Pledge of Allegiance and told council what they have learned about civics.
I called a Roads & Safety Committee meeting to discuss the legislation sponsored by Jim Costello regarding ATVs, dirt bikes, and snowmobile use within the city. We had a good discussion among the councilmembers and with two members of the community who provided insight.
Based on what we discussed, I am going to seek the following amendments:
- The first violation will be only a warning.
- It’s only enforceable upon the complaint of a contiguous neighbor. In other words, police won’t have the authority to hear the engine, enter the property, and issue a citation.
- The legislation applies only to recreational use (i.e., it exempts work-related usages for ATVs, such as hauling or snowplowing).
- Reduce the buffer zone between property lines to 50 feet (currently 150).
- Only applies to properties zoned as residential or residential-business.
I do not plan to bring this legislation for a vote on Thursday. Instead, I want to give the public additional amount of time to read about this in the newspaper (or on the Internet) and provide input.
Similar legislation was considered in 2007, when the police department estimated that it receives 80 calls per year pertaining to use of dirt bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles — whether it be for safety, noise, or otherwise.
But the worst thing council can do is create a law to remedy one situation, without considering the rights of the people who use these vehicles safely and in a manner that is respectful to their neighbors.
With that said, PLEASE SPEAK UP if this legislation will affect you — positively or negatively. Send an e-mail, tweet, Facebook message, text message, regular mail, whatever. Even better: show up on Thursday at 7 p.m. to speak during the public comment part of the meeting.
Council will meet at 7 p.m. to vote on the two ordinances that passed out of Finance Committee on Monday.