September 22, 2011 |

ATV ordinance hearing delayed once again

The Haines Borough Assembly on Sept. 13 again delayed a proposed ordinance that would permit the operation of all-terrain vehicles on borough streets and roads.

The ordinance, postponed in July, was listed under "unfinished business" at the meeting, with a suggestion to set a third public hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 27. Instead, the assembly scheduled the hearing for Oct. 11.

Resident Jim Shook, who previously prepared a draft ordinance in support of ATV use, requested the delay so he could further review suggested changes. Shook said he plans to meet with police chief Gary Lowe and possibly some assembly members to discuss the ordinance.

Shook said one "conceivable" update is that ATV usage would be restricted to certain hours, such as 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., to limit noise concerns and "cut back on the use of alcohol."

Lowe this week said he opposes adoption of the ordinance, but "I’ll do what the assembly directs me to do."

Lowe in July wrote to the assembly that one shortcoming for ATVs in Haines is "you really can’t get to many places in town without driving on a state road or private property."

"In conclusion, the limited access to drive ATVs, the continuing confusion of where you can legally ride, the negative impact that (ATVs) can cause on others not related to their operation, and the heightened possibility of serious injuries up to and including death lead me to my recommendation to not approve (the ordinance)," Lowe wrote.

The assembly then postponed the ordinance until September so adjustments could be made.

The ordinance sets a speed limit of 25 miles per hour for ATVs in the townsite, and requires operators to be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license and annual borough road-use permit.