Council Moves to Restrict ATV, Dirt Bike Use

City considering additions to existing laws to prohibit use of all-terrain vehicles in some areas of Stow

Stow residents who want to ride dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles and other similar recreational off-road vehicles on private property may soon have some new, more strict rules to follow.

Stow City Council voted in committee Monday to put amendments to an existing law governing use of off-road vehicles on an upcoming regular council meeting agenda.

The amendments prohibit riders from using their ATV, dirt bike or snowmobile on private property under the following conditions:

  • On property less than 4 acres in size
  • Without written permission of the property owner
  • Within 150 feet of any building, street or highway or boundary line of an adjoining or abutting property

Stow Councilman James Costello, who sponsored the new legislation, said its intent is to give police a law "with teeth" to enforce when complaints about riding come in to the police department.

"It is, I hate to say it, a piece of legislation where we’re trying to legislate common sense," Costello said.

Also added to the books under the proposed changes would be definitions for breaking the law.

On first offense a violator would be charged with a minor misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $150. On multiple offenses, a violator would be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a $250 fine and as much as 30 days in jail.

Amber Zibritosky, Stow's deputy law director, said the addition of the 150-foot buffer is meant to increase safety to prevent someone from being hit by an ATV rider.

"We basically added a property size requirement and a boundary or buffer line so that you’re not having people coming close to other people’s property," she said.

This is not the first time council has considered the issue.

In 2006 and 2007 council talked about the idea of further regulation of such off-road vehicles due to complaints of noise. Council did not take any legislative action then after hearing from police officials that it would be difficult to enforce a noise-based ordinance pertaining to off-road vehicles.

Councilman Brian D’Antonio expressed concerns with this latest draft legislation for being overly strict.

The obvious concern being for ATV owners with utility models who use the machines to plow their driveways, D'Antonio said.

"There’s nothing in there regarding if you have permission from your neighbor," he said. "I understand the reason for the legislation. Unfortunately a couple bad apples ruin it for everybody else.

"I understand we don’t want a dirt bike track in everybody’s backyard," D'Antonio said.

Councilwoman Mary Bednar aired similar concerns and pointed to elderly residents and others who may use their machines for hauling garbage cans to the road or for landscaping and other property maintenance work.

Kent Road resident Christina Gary, who said she and her husband use their ATVs for property maintenance, pointed to the 150-foot buffer as being inappropriate.

Gary said she owns more than 5 acres but her lot, which abuts the Kent State Airport, is less than 150 feet wide.

"If you’re going to impose this, my review of the map in Stow shows that only a few parcels would actually be able to comply with the way it’s written now" requiring more than four acres, Gary said.

Call Road resident Baron Gifford said his children and his neighbors' children have ridden mini bikes on his lot, which is less than 1 acre, for years without complaints.

"There's not a noise issue," Gifford said. "I wouldn’t want to listen to a competition race bike in my back yard. But most vehicles are quiet."

Costello responded to say noise is not the reason for the review.

"I would say reckless operation is the main issue and inconsideration for adjoining people’s property," he said.

After further talks, Councilman Mike Rasor said the legislation will be redrafted before a final vote.

"I think we need maybe some tuning in this," Councilman John Pribonic said.

Dan Leipold February 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM
If someone could tell me when this council meeting to discuss ATV use is going to be, I would appreciate it. My email is atcdan13@hotmail.com. Thanks.
Dev February 12, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Several of my neighbors have ATVs…we all have ~1 Acre lots. I don't have a problem with ATVs. They are used for utility work and God forbid... some occasional fun with friends and family. The noise and "safety" argument are red herrings to limit our rights as property owners/taxpayers and maintain our properties (and maybe have a little fun). I'm now sure how/why this ordinance came to life; but suspect city council/law is being used to settle a neighborhood feud/envy issue at the expense of responsible property/ATV owners. Maybe I'm fortunate to have good neighbors; a casual talk/beer has solved any issues we have had in the last 20 years. If an ATV owner is an idiot…. The laws of physics will take care of the problem. Years ago I saw neighbor kids tear up their yard with their new ATVs...but never again... . Guessing the "mom" and "wife" resolved the issue. I pay thousands in property taxes a year (and thousands more in income taxes to the City). I should have the right to buy and use a $10,000 ATV on my own property. What is next...? Restricting/outlawing my riding lawnmower? I sure I can do some pretty loud and idiotic things with it. My 3KW generator makes more noise than my neighbor's ATV and I run it (generator) at least once a month to keep it in operating condition.
Derp Spotter February 12, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Playing the "property rights" card is about as relevant as someone screaming about another "right" that has no merit. No, you do NOT have the right to do whatever you want with your property "just because" you pay property taxes. If you do, then please cite specific language that gives you that right. And it clearly said near the end of the story, this is going to be fine-tuned. It appears that quite a few people brought up valid concerns that need to be kept in mind while it appears their overall goal is reckless op and those who are not showing consideration of their neighbor's property.
Matt Fredmonsky February 12, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Hi Dan, sorry for omitting that information from the article. Stow council will reconsider the issue at this Thursday's meeting on Feb. 14. at 7 p.m. in city hall.
Harmon February 12, 2013 at 07:24 PM
You should have a no trespassing sign posted..... That's all it takes, that's all we ever needed... Too many laws... Too much Government in our homes.....inch by inch we are losing our freedoms...
Harmon February 12, 2013 at 07:45 PM
But trust me, I do understand why that there is not much common sense used these days. I Just hate that there has to be such laws to begin with...
Chris Fredmonsky February 13, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Government is getting too restrictive. I have a small lot but if I'm working on my atv and need to tune it or make an adjustment I may need to warm it up by taking it up and down my property. I'm not riding on the roads and none of my neighbors have ever complained. Come on City of Stow is this really a huge pressing problem? How about Getting our water Dept. to meter our wells so that we aren't getting raped by Summit County DOES every quarter.
Bonefishbill February 13, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Has City Council nothing better to do? I live on a one acre size lot and use my ATV to plow my drive...and haul leaves from my yard to the street each Fall...I also have used it too clear my neighbor's drive while he was hospitalized so his family could have access to their drive. When loading my ATV onto a trailer--I most certainly will be within 150 feet of my street--and will also be right at the edge while clearing snow, I also clear off my(front street) sidewalk--with it. Last month I was reading about new specfic's in reguards to hunting in Stow, 25+ acres, no more then two dwellings, etc...and archery targets...it's clear to me that we have a council that does not research what they are proposing and has no sense of priority...what is going on up there? It's clear that the people proposing these things are not hunters,or realistic, and are pressing a personal agenda. Bowhunting, for instance --can safely be done on just an acre or more...putting forth an ordinance with so many restrictions, that hunting is essentailly outlawed is their real goal. You serve the people Stow City Council--or have you forgotton?
93TRUCK February 13, 2013 at 04:16 AM
I own 3 acres, i use my "bikes" yes, more than one , all year long. I snowplow with it, haul and split firewood and use it to pull my tractor out of the mud when it get stuck. 1/2 of my property is woods. As this proposed law is stated, I will not be able to even take them off the trailer when i get back from hunting. I feel this is just a witch hunt. My lawn mower is more disruptive than my bikes. My neighbor has a leaf blower that will wake the dead. I agree that they shouldnt be on the road 98% of the time. The only exception is during snow storms. I plow out a couple of elderly people on my street to help them out. There is more important issues that need to be addressed in this city like people not cutting grass etc. We need to get a bunch of people together to fight this one. Maybe they could have held this meeting on christmas to help lower the turn out of the public. SEE YOU THURSDAY
Derp Spotter February 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM
"Has City Council nothing better to do?" They're doing their job. #derp
Dave B February 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Hey Twerp err I mean Derp, It sounds like the 3 Stow citizens read very well and have legitimate concerns. The police simply need to enforce existing laws and not restict other law obiding citizens rights. You probably think gun control will solve the social deterioration problem we have in the U.S. mabe you ought to learn to read the U.S. constitution or are you one of the ho fell for the shovel ready crap. Dave B
Dave B February 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Who fell
James Martin Williams February 15, 2013 at 02:19 AM
WOW !!!! Isn't that the absolute truth
James Martin Williams February 15, 2013 at 02:47 AM
It all boils down to just two properties in Stow that have inconsiderate residents. That are going to ruin atvs for the majority of Stow people to continue to enjoy . Seems council is bending over backwards to please the one and yes only one anti atv at this evenings council meeting. At least the only one to speak on record . Have some sense people look out for the whole . Deal with you your own problems with your neightor in court . Its time to be a big boy and take care of your own issues instead of telling Mommy.
93TRUCK February 15, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I would like to thank all who showed up tonight to express there opinion on this frivolous atv ordinance. Remember to tell more people to show up for the march meeting when they vote on it. Does anyone have a date and time for that?
Bonefishbill February 15, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Does not merit the passage of a new ordinance..existing laws can more then handle this isolated issue. Thanks to all that attended tonight's meeting, please plan to attend in March, & let other interested residents know.
Steven Parsons February 15, 2013 at 06:57 AM
Unlike all of the responsible owners leaving comments here, my neighbor is one of the ones you refer to for ruining it for everyone. Racing style ATV's, jumps in the backyard, small lot, drunken riding at all hours, rattles windows in the entire neighborhood. Speeding up and down the street where small children play. Threatens neighbors with violence if reported to police. We need the legislation that can be enforced on this type of irresponsible offender. Please pass the ordinance!
Matt Fredmonsky February 15, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Here's the story from Thursday's meeting. http://stow.patch.com/articles/dirt-bike-atv-law
Dan Leipold February 16, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Steve, the problems that you have with your neighbor are only partly covered by this legislation. If your neighbor is riding in the road or threatening violence against you then the police need to be called. These activities are over and above the spectrum of this ordinance. Clearly if your neighbor is showing this type of behavior, a new set of laws will not affect them. These offenses you speak of are already punishable by law. We need the city to enforce the laws on the books not make new ones. If all else fails, my neighbors and I will sit in your driveway with you while you call the police. Let the neighbor threaten violence. The more witnesses the better.
James Martin Williams February 16, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Steve I agree with my neighbor Dan let us help you help us.
Derp Spotter February 16, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Thanks for further putting your stupidity on public display. The "B" must stand for Boob. Or Bozo. Please cease acting like you know WTH you're talking about immediately. Just because you spew words like "law-abiding" and "Constitution" means nothing. Especially since you haven't READ the Constitution ignorants like you love to ignorantly cite. Or, keep shoveling your stupidity. I love laughing at the likes of you.
Derp Spotter February 16, 2013 at 04:58 PM
"We need the city to enforce the laws on the books not make new ones." Irrelevant argument. Especially when laws --- that might have been written and passed decades ago -- need to be furthered detailed to deal with 2013.
Derp Spotter February 16, 2013 at 04:59 PM
"Threatens neighbors with violence if reported to police. " That's intimidation, for starters.
Dave B February 16, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Twerp, Your like most liberals in that you can dish it out to others but can't take it. Like when you called Bonefishbill bonehead. You must have immediately pulled that off as it is no longer listed. I actually know Bonefishbill and I am sure he is better educated than you and never once did he attack you. What dog do you have in this fight as you probably do not own an atv and probably would need training wheels. You probably wish the liberal mayor could just sign an executive order and pass the law without representation.
93TRUCK February 17, 2013 at 02:33 AM
I believe that the laws passed decades ago still apply today. I also believe that people today, even though they are more educated, live in large houses, are a bunch spineless ninnies. To go as far as to try to get a law passed just to appease on group of people is dumb. Decades ago if you had a problem with your neighbor riding his horses to loudly and kicking up dust, do you think they would pass a law banning horse riding. No, they would settle it be another way. I understand that it sounds naive in comparision, but its really not. People have to fight there own battles without infringing on other peoples rights.
Dave B February 17, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Amen 93truck. As James stated, this entire legislation is for only several disrespectful residents. Did you like how Jim Costello dodged the question of how many atv poblems they really are dealing with? If you look at the proposed ammended legislation only a handful of Stow residents could lawfully own and have their atv at their home. I could possibly receive a misdemeanor and fine if I brought my atv home from my farm, started the engine and unloaded it if my neighbor complained. Next derp will be supporting the maximum of 16 oz softdrinks in Stow. You know all of us atv riders really have a goal of wreckless op as he stated above. I am sure he would like to eliminate the 2nd ammendment as well as he still thinks it is old and out of date and put in the constitution so everyone could always be able to hunt rabbits. LOL.
Bonefishbill February 22, 2013 at 08:19 PM
What happened to Twerp? Maybe Twerp is the "Perp" ?--I was wondering because he has no apparent dog in this fight!
93TRUCK February 24, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Has everybody been ralling troops for the meeting on Thursday. I believe we need to pack the house.
Bonefishbill February 24, 2013 at 04:04 AM
93TRUCK See you Thursday!
Joseph Bagodonuts March 01, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Derp Spotter????? Property Rights • The right of possession - the property is owned by whomever holds title; • The right of control - within the laws, the owner controls the use of the property; • The right of exclusion - others can be excluded from using or entering the property; • The right of enjoyment - the owner can enjoy the use of the property in any legal manner; and • The right of disposition - the title holder can sell, rent or transfer ownership or use of the property at will Yes, everyone understands this follows the confines of our local laws. But then you probably already knew this.


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