Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2004

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City should reconsider breadth of ATV ban

July 7, 2004

The Tonganoxie City Council recently passed -- on a 2-1 vote -- a new law banning all-terrain vehicles with in the city limits.

And while the idea of limiting the use of ATVs in Tonganoxie is admirable, it is questionable whether the city could enforce a ban on private property. The mayor, in fact, questioned the constitutionality of the blanket ban. And the acting police chief said he thought the council was setting up an enforcement nightmare for officers.

So it was good news when, at last week's city council meeting, City Attorney Mike Kelly informed the governing body that they legally hadn't adopted the ban, that they needed at least three council votes to approve it. The council is expected to take up the issue at an upcoming meeting.

And it would make sense that council members vote on an ordinance that the new city attorney views as constitutional. Why set the city up for a lawsuit? It seems the city, and the citizens of Tonganoxie, have much better uses for their time and money than to fight a legal battle over ATVs.

If the city wants to ban the vehicles on city streets and other public land, that's terrific. But it makes little sense to move forward with a law that makes no sense constitutionally or from an enforcement standpoint -- unless the city attorney's research determines a blanket ban is legal.

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