KOSSUTH - Ashland Township supervisors plan to "hash out" an ordinance to regulate the use of all-terrain-vehicles and other recreational vehicles on township roads.
Supervisor Tim Lenhart said Jan. 4 he and fellow supervisors John Macormac and Adam Courson will "pick parts of other ordinances" and "put one together" for Ashland Township at their Feb. 2 work session at the township office.
That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
Enacting ordinances that allow for the use of ATVs on selected township roads usually draws debate from township residents who believe it will encourage reckless operation of ATVs on the roads and increase liability to the township and those who support the ordinance because they want to use their ATVs on the roads in a safe manner.
There are also legal cases that show rather than increasing township liabilities, an ordinance allowing but regulating the use of ATVs can reduce liability for private property owners and the township.
"We have no ordinance now," said Lenhart. "They go flying by my place at 6- or 70 mils an hour.
"It's in the best interest of the entire township to have something like this in effect."
Ordinances allowing ATVs and other recreational motorized vehicles on township roads often set strict and in-depth rules for such ridership, including age limits, driver's license and registration requirements and other rules. Riders must also abide by all traffic laws.
In most areas where ATV use has been approved, ATVs must be registered and insured, must have proper mufflers, and must having working headlights and taillights when operated at night.
In those townships, ATVs may not be ridden on private property, cemeteries, public parks, playgrounds or other public lands without permission and ATVs may not be operated between midnight and 6 a.m. within 100 feet of a dwelling "at a speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward motion."
The Feb. 2 work session is open to the public, however no official action can be taken.
Lenhart said the board will put together a proposed ordinance and forward it to township legal counsel Christy Logue for review.
Complaints about snowplowing
The board of supervisors acknowledged there have been some complaints about snowplowing during recent snowstorms.
Township resident Chuck Weaver said he read one complaint on a Facebook discussion that said snowplowing priority in Ashland Township went to roads "where Weavers" live.
"That person seemed to think if your name is Weaver you don't have to wait," said Chuck Weaver. "I was kind of hoping that person would be here tonight."
Supervisors noted there has been a shortage of qualified drivers (one full-time equipment operator was recently "let go") and truck break-downs that affected the responses to the snowstorms.
Chuck Weaver said he understands the township road crew faces a major job during snowstorms, adding he plows his own road with his own equipment.
That brought a quick rebuke from Courson.
"Yeah, as long as we're on the subject, no more of that plowing your own road," said Courson. "You made that road a true mess."
"You're kidding, right?" asked Weaver.
"Not at all," said Courson. "You made that road a sheet of ice I couldn't get the truck up that road because of the ice you made."
Weaver shrugged and said he would not plow the road again.
"Believe me, I won't do it again," said Weaver. "First time 50 years I've been told well, I'll leave it at that."