City moving forward on ATV/UTV ordinance
The Sparta Public Safety Committee last week moved forward on drafting an ordinance that would outline rules and regulations for the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) on city streets.
The ordinance is being worked out in conjunction with the Sparta Public Works Board, which began the process at its October meeting, where a number of ATV/UTV enthusiasts lobbied to allow the vehicles on Sparta streets.
The action comes on the heels of the county’s decision to open all county trunk highways to ATV/UTV traffic.
At the Public Safety meeting, it was expressed that operation of the vehicles be confined to those with a valid driver’s license and hours of operation be limited to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. People using their ATV/UTVs for snow removal would be an exception to that regulation.
It also was suggested opening all city streets to use by the recreational vehicles since it would be difficult for people to know which streets are restricted and which aren’t, especially for those unfamiliar with the city.
City Attorney Dan Hellman is drafting the ordinance, which, according to Co-City Administrator Todd Fahning, likely won’t go before the city council for approval until early next year.
Public Works Director Mark Van Wormer brought the issue before the Public Works Board last month, saying if the city wasn’t going to allow the vehicles to operate on its streets, his department would need to install signs where county trunks enter the city limits to indicate ATV/UTV use is prohibited in the city.
At that meeting, Sparta Police Chief Emilee Nottesstad said allowing ATV/UTV use would not create major problems for the police department, but there would be statutes officers would have to familiarize themselves with.
It also was pointed out the City of Tomah allows the vehicles to operate on almost every street in the city between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Its ordinance includes restrictions on speed, age and safety equipment.