Off-road vehicle riders need to be more aware of when and where they are riding, said Chestnut Ridge Road resident Dawn Hart.
Mannie Saini and his daughter are four-wheeler riders. But the Jaycox Road resident said he is a neighbor first and is respectful of those around him. Saini hopes the city does not overreact to complaints of discourteous off-road riders.
Hart and Saini were the only residents to address City Council during its July 19 meeting as council considered legislation to limit when and where off-road vehicles can be used.
This is the council's first attempt since 2019 to change the rules for off-road vehicles, such as four wheelers, snowmobiles and dirt bikes. That legislation died after being tabled in committee. At Large Councilman James Maleski sponsored the new legislation.
The current law was adopted in 1970, when the city was more rural.
Maleski’s proposed ordinance prohibits the use of off-road vehicles on private property within 200 feet of an adjoining residence. Any property used for riding off-road vehicles must be at least 5 acres.
Riding would be banned between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. weekdays and before 9 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. Sundays.
The new legislation also requires vehicles produced after 1986 to have noise-dampening equipment preventing sound exceeding 82 decibels at 50 feet.
These additions are the same as those proposed in 2019.
Hart questioned whether properties could be combined to meet the 5-acre rule. The city law department needs to study that question further, Maleski said. City rules regarding bow hunting allow hunters to combine adjacent properties to meet minimum property size requirements.
Hart supported the new ordinance’s ban to limit riding hours.
“Where is our quiet time when they are out riding all the time?” Hart asked.
Saini questioned if the new rules were needed “if you respect your neighbors.”
He said almost 99% of city lots do not meet the proposed 5-acre requirement.
There are a lot of questions that need asking and answering, said City Council President Martin DeVries. He referred Maleski’s legislation to council's safety committee. A date for that committee meeting had not been decided by press time.
“Let’s come up with something that works for everybody,” Maleski said.
He and other legislators, most notably Ward 4 Councilman Clifford Winkle, spent over a year preparing the new legislation, Maleski added. He feels the 2019 legislation did not pass because the ordinance was unclear.
Some activities that exceed proposed decibel limits, for example snow plowing, would be exempt from the rules.
“There would be a number of exceptions,” Maleski said.
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