Special to The Gardner News
Edgerton council members passed a city ordinance authorizing alternate vehicles be allowed driven on city streets at their July 22 meeting.
The ordinance definitions of alternate vehicles was changed: Section 1 defining types of vehicles in the Standard Traffic Ordinance was removed. Verbiage requiring brake lights and turn signals were added to Section 6D as mandatory equipment.
Public comment and feedback was allowed during the discussion.
Chad Curtois, Edgerton resident, said there were problems with the Section 1 vehicle descriptions. He said if they approved vehicles with a straddle that doesn’t include motorcycles.
“Be careful with ATVs,” he said. “They have a design with straddle and that eliminates golf carts.”
Curtois said golf carts can still be low visibility to people. The benefit of timing to ride golf carts to events should also be considered for certain late times, he said.
Curtois said he also suggested a one-time fee for people to operate alternative vehicles and then a renewal fee every year.
Beth Linn, city administrator, said go carts are defined separately in the ordinance.
Clay Longanecker and Josh Lewis, council members, said they wanted to know about timing due to decreased daylight as summer ends and also about the city’s noise ordinance.
Lee Hendricks, city attorney, said go carts still have lights – both head and taillights. Linn said the noise ordinance restricts amplified noises from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Jody Brown, council member, said he wanted to know why lights were required still from the sunrise to sundown times.
Hendricks said it was because of weather conditions pertaining to rain, fog, etc.
Brown said because of safety, alternative vehicles should also be required to have turn signals and bright lights.
Lewis said he wanted to know about seatbelts on ATVs.
Linn said they could strike out the verbiage for straddle and require seatbelts.
Curtois said he didn’t know of ATVs you can’t straddle. “ATV is a four wheeler,” he said. “You can’t straddle a go cart.”
Roberts said if they change definitions then they are back to square one.
Hendricks said they weren’t creating their own definitions, and it changes year to year.
Brad Johnson, officer, said if you get into the national traffic highway manual it requires lights, so you lose go carts. “If you change the ordinance it is open to be challenged again,” he said.
Johnson said no go carts or anything that sits below the hood of a vehicle would be preferred because it was dangerous – especially with truck routes through the city.
His previous history with alternative vehicles indicated dirt bikes, three-wheelers and four-wheelers were more reckless drivers, he said. “And how many UTVs are not going to register,” he said. Johnson said only side by side UTVs were initially brought to the body as an entry point.
Roberts said it was about responsible ownership, and responsible adults will obey the law.
Johnson said the city could have special ordinances for weekend events such as Frontier Days. “Start with UTVs, golf carts and side by side to prove people are responsible and then grow it,” he said.
Johnson said he was comfortable with everything but dirt bikes, three-wheelers and four-wheelers.
Roberts said definitions matter.
Hendricks said they could just exclude go carts.
Curtois said there aren’t any ATVs you can’t straddle.
Hendricks said the definition of an ATV doesn’t say straddle. It assumes something else exists,” he said.
Brown said he wanted to know if other cities allowed ATVs.
Josh Beem, council member, said he wanted to know about exceptions for farm use.
Hendricks said there was also the factor of someone driving from outside the city into the city to get gas for their vehicle.
Brown said he wanted to know if farming is or could be separate.
Longanecker said he wanted to know if there had been any complaints about loud four-wheelers.
Roberts said there had been. It’s about dirt bike and four-wheelers over the years.
Starting with vehicles that have no straddle would be a start, he said. “Going somewhere is better than nowhere,” Roberts said. “We do have responsible drivers.”
Council members said they would treat alternative vehicles with regular traffic citations like other vehicles.
Council members said lights were mandatory equipment for vehicles and drivers would pay a first time $100 registration and then $25 renewal with no traffic infractions found guilty of within the calendar year.
The ordinance will be revisited at the August 12 city council meeting.
In other business:
Katy Crow, development services director, presented the progress of the 502 E. 2nd Street home renovation.
A public hearing on January 14 extended the renovation deadline to July for the owners Juan Abundiz and Vicenta Hernandez.
Crow said there had been significant improvements to the structure, but there had been hardships and setbacks in the last six months from weather and lumber shortages.
Progress updates had been provided monthly at city council.
“I’m excited,” Roberts said. “Is this the same house.”
Roberts said he was ecstatic to see the renovation move so fast after years of sitting around super dilapidated.
Abundiz said he couldn’t provide a date or time deadline for completion of the renovation. “We are trying to finish this year, and we are done with almost half the house,” he said.
Roberts said it was great to see it come along. “There has been a tremendous amount of progress,” he said.
Council members reset the renovation deadline with monthly progress reports for Feb. 24, 2022.