ATV ordinance proceedsPublic hearing and first reading approved
A revised ordinance for limited use of all-terrain and/or off-road utility vehicles on portions of Washington County roadways made it through a public hearing and first reading this morning at the Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting on a 4-to-1 vote, with Supervisor Bob Yoder voting no.
A similar proposed ordinance was headed for the third and final reading on Jan. 21, when a restriction concerning allowing ATVs and off-road vehicles was brought to light. The first ordinance did not allow county residents to drive on the shoulders of paved county roads unless residents lived on a paved road. County attorney Larry Brock said that the change was substantial enough to warrant starting over.
Supervisor Richard Young said that Section 3 of the ordinance concerns what would be permitted use, including driving on the shoulders of paved county roads. A second change he said is the addition of requiring people born after 1995 to take and pass an Iowa Department of Natural Resources-approved ATV education course.
Young also said that there is a study bill in the Iowa Senate, 2192. The proposed county ordinance matches up with the bill that is before the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
Supervisor Stan Stoops presented a petition with 55 signatures of people who are in favor of the ordinance to auditor Dan Widmer for inclusion in the public record.
In response to comments about safety concerns, Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said that most of the items of concern are already in state law. He said the ordinance is “for the law-abiding people in the county.” He suggested that people who have problems in their neighborhoods contact the county sheriff so that the concerns can be followed up on.
The board awarded a contract to the lowest bidder, Cedar Valley Corp., for paving Vine Avenue between 160th and 170th streets. The low bid was $580,722 on a project the county engineer estimated to cost $600,000.
County engineer Jacob Thorius asked the supervisors to approve some revisions of the county’s dust control policy. Residents are now allowed to use chip seal for dust control. Residents need to apply for a dust control permit, which will cost $50 if obtained before May 1. The permit cost doubles to $100 after May 1. Contractors need to be pre-approved to do dust control work within the right of way by the Secondary Roads department.
Supervisor Bob Yoder asked Thorius if the permit fee reimburses the county for the expense of managing the dust control permits.
Thorius said that there are pros and cons for the roads where dust control is applied. He didn’t recommend increasing the cost.
Even though Yoder wished the county didn’t have to lose money, he voted in favor of the revisions.
When the agenda items were completed, Thorius said that the county may have a nasty spring. He said the ground is frozen anywhere from 3 to 5 feet, which may impact road conditions. He asked that the public be patient with road conditions.
During his remarks at the close of the meeting Stoops said he attended last week’s Conservation Board meeting, which he call “interesting.” He said the controversy surrounding former park ranger Bob Bellmer’s termination will not soon be over.
Yoder said that he has had his “ear chewed off” by customers and acquaintances about the Conservation Board.
Young agreed with Stoops. He said people want to know how they can fight the Conservation Board.
No more remarks on that topic were made.