All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Committee Meeting
Meeting Minutes April 25, 2014
Day / Date:
Friday April 25, 2014
Attendees: Committee Members – Don Patch, Bruce Turco, Tim Martin, David Burnor and Francis DeVine
Other Attendees: Danny Hale, Executive Director, Vermont All Terrain Vehicle Sportsman Association and his wife.
Dan Freeman, Madeleine Faye
The meeting was called to order at 6:15 PM.
Tim Martin as Select Board representative was designated chairman of the committee.
Martin opened the meeting by discussing the purpose of the committee. Its aim is to develop a proposal for the select board concerning opening town roads to ATV use.
Don Patch had provided the committee with a draft ordinance for consideration. D. Hale commented how the standard VASA template had been used as a basis, but that it can and was modified for our use by Patch.
The purpose was discussed and D. Freeman pointed out that his understanding was that it was to allow ATV’s to go from one point to the other on a town road when required.
D. Hale discussed the benefits of forming a VASA sanctioned club in town. The cost of membership was seen as being more than folks might be willing to pay. He then suggested that the town might want to consider a municipal membership (see attached description). Under this arrangement the town would receive administrative support, signage and certain levels of law enforcement. Since this was tied to a true trail program and the town is only looking at limited road access between private lands, this type of membership was not seen as applicable at this time. Hale indicated that a membership could be taken out later if the town would like. He and his wife then left the meeting.
The committee then began to review and mark-up the draft ordinance.
NB: The draft ordinance is incorporated into this document and is in italics.
The purpose of this ordinance is to allow limited approval for all-terrain vehicles to travel on identified and approved town highways (or sections of highways) while protecting the health and safety of all vehicle operators, residents, animals, property and the environment.
The purpose was read with no action taken. Later DeVine suggested that the beginning of the purpose be modified to read “The purpose of this ordinance is to allow Mount Holly homeowners and their guests limited approval to travel from their homes to permitted sites on unpaved town roads (or sections of roads)” …. while protecting the health and safety of all vehicle operators, residents, animals, property and the environment.
No action taken.
This ordinance will adopt the definitions of “All-Terrain Vehicle” or “ATV” and “Operate” as defined in Vermont Title 23 V.S.A. Chapter 31 section 3501.
The committee agreed that using Vermont Title 23 V.S.A. Chapter 31 section 3501 was practical, and accepted this clause.
1) All-terrain vehicles must be registered and operated accordance to the requirements of Vermont Title 23 V.S.A. Chapter 31.
The committee agreed.
2) All-terrain vehicles may only be operated on town highways between May 1st and December 15th of each year.
Patch explained that these dates were selected to coincide with the end of mud season and to end with the start of snowmobile season. Freeman raised the issue of commercial users of ATV’s. As an example, the blackout period would cover the sugaring season, and as a result cause hardships for those using ATV’s to collect sap. It was suggested that there be no restrictions on the timeframe for using ATV’s on roads. This was discussed and one possibility, keeping damage to roads in mind, was to open the roads after the road posting season ends.
The discussion will continue.
Another safety concern that was voiced was ATV’s sharing roads with snowmobiles.
3) All-terrain vehicles may only be operated on town highways between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M.
The issue with this was again commercial users and hunting season. The suggestion for hunting season was to set the time a one hour before sunrise and a one hour after sunset. The discussion of the time for non-hunting season was raised and it was pointed out that there is some form of hunting allowed almost year round.
The discussion will continue.
4) All-terrain vehicles may only be operated on sections of town highways that have been designated and approved by the Select Board.
The committee agreed.
5) All-terrain vehicles may only be operated on a single town highway for the purpose of traveling between parcels of land that the operator can legally operate an all-terrain vehicle on. All-terrain vehicle operation from one town highway to another is prohibited.
It was suggested that this clause be removed as it would be to difficult to administer and enforce. Concern was expressed that this was he essence of the request and should not be removed.
6) All traffic control devices apply to the operation of all-terrain vehicles.
The committee agreed
7) All-terrain vehicles on the town highway will travel to the far right side, single file, at a speed not to exceed 20 miles per hour.
The letter from the constable suggesting 15 mph was raised and the committee did not feel the difference in speed would be a safety issue. Enforcement is also an issue.
8) The operator of an all-terrain vehicle being operated on a town highway will yield right of way to all other vehicle and pedestrian traffic including but not limited to bicyclists and horses.
9) The operator of an all-terrain vehicle being operated on a town highway must possess a valid vehicle operator’s license.
10) The operator of an all-terrain vehicle being operated on a town highway must properly wear a D.O.T. approved helmet.
Sections 8/9/10 were agreed to by the committee.
Highway Approval Process
1) All-terrain vehicles will only be allowed to travel on town highways (or sections of highways) approved by the Select Board.
2) The Select Board reserves the right to allow or deny permission to operate an all-terrain vehicle on any town highway (or section of highway). The Select Board reserves the right to rescind any or all permissions to operate an all-terrain vehicle on town highways at any time.
3) All approvals to allow all-terrain vehicle operation of town highways will expire each year on December 15th.
4) Each highway (or section of highway) will require a contact person responsible for the following:
A. Submission of the application to the Select Board annually. The application will include address and contact information of the contact person. The Select Board reserves the right to approve or deny any requests.
B. Purchase and post the required signage at both ends of the area opened for all-terrain vehicle travel. Only those signs approved by the Select Board will be allowed.
C. Assist local law enforcement investigating violations of this ordinance when possible.
The highway approval process was discussed and the focus was on reducing the burden for the select board and the need to approve each road. It was suggested that a trail coordinator be appointed to receive and review applications. After performing due diligence on the application the coordinator would provide a recommendation to the select board to approve or decline the request. Bruce Turco indicated a willingness to handle that duty.
A question about notifying residents on a road for which an approval is being requested was discussed, but not resolved.
There was a discussion about the need for more information from the town residents and it was suggested that a survey be developed and distributed. It was also suggested that the survey include a then current draft of the ordinance in order for the resident to better understand exactly what is being proposed.
The committee recognized that there were many questions still unanswered and will meet again on May 5 at 7:00 PM in Town Offices.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30PM.
Francis P. DeVine Jr.