Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

City council says ‘no’ to ATVs

June 16, 2004

After considerable debate Monday night, Tonganoxie City Council members approved a ban on the operation of all-terrain vehicles in the city limits -- except with a permit.

The approval came on a 2-1 vote, with council members Ron Cranor and Steve Gumm voting in favor of the ban and council member Velda Roberts opposed. Council members Kathy Graveman and Emmett Wetta were absent from the meeting.

The operation of ATVs will not be allowed within the city limits -- including city streets and rights of way and on private property -- according to the measure that council members passed on Monday.

Acting Police Chief John Putthoff is concerned, however, about banning the vehicles' use on private property.

"That's going to drive us batty," Putthoff told council members.

And Mayor Dave Taylor questioned the legality of the new ordinance.

"I don't think it's constitutional," the mayor said.

Some exceptions would be allowed for operation of ATVs:

  • Commercial operators could obtain a permit from the police department.
  • Operators could obtain a permit from the city council for use during special events, such as citywide parades.
  • City employees, on city business, may use the vehicles.

Police would issue tickets to violators. The penalty for violating the ordinance is a fine of up to $500.

Several weeks ago, residents in eastern Tonganoxie complained to city council members about youngsters driving ATVs on private property and on city streets, creating noise and dust problems.

Cranor said he wanted to get an ordinance in place because of safety concerns. And he said any problems with the ordinance could be ironed out over time.

"If there's issue and they get cited, let them bring it to court," he said. "If it's too restrictive, and we don't have constitutional grounds, let's change it. You've got to start some place. ... Maybe it will stop somebody from being seriously injured or killed."

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