Council Votes to Approve Opening Streets to ATV's

Debra Thornblad
Berlin Daily Sun

May 2, 2013

BERLIN – The Berlin City Council voted unanimously to once again open up city streets to ATVs during the ATV festival planned for July 26 and 27.  The council had approved an ordinance for this last year, but it requires a motion by the council each year, City Manager Pat McQueen explained.

Mayor Paul Grenier said there had been a few problems last year and asked Police Chief Peter Morency if the problems had been addressed.

Most of the problems last year had to deal with ATVers using state roads within the city, which the city does not have jurisdiction over, and some teen drivers, too young for a driver’s license, causing problems. But Morency said 99 percent had obeyed the rules and he was in favor of allowing the streets to be open to ATVs again.

Regarding young drivers, a bill has passed (HB 383) that will require a person operating an OHRV along the traveled portion of a public highway to be licensed to drive. An underage driver would have to be accompanied by a person licensed to drive who is at least 18 years old who will be legally responsible for the younger driver. The governor has not yet signed it yet, but is expected to. If, for some reason it is not signed by the time of the festival, it could become a rule of the festival itself.

The motion to open up city roads to ATVs does not include streets within city borders but outside the urban compact and under state jurisdiction. Morency said better signage is needed as to where, and where not,ATVers may ride on the street. He said the department has received an OHRV Highway Safety Grant of just under $6,000 that can to used to help with signage.

In other business, the council approved a ground water monitoring contract with Novis Engineering for monitoring the impound lot on Gilbert Street. The $22,000 will be paid totally from the state’s oil petroleum fund, but it requires council approval.

Michael Rozek will take over as chairman of the Traffic and Safety Committee. Lucie Remillard is stepping down from that position.

Councilor Paula Benski said she has had requests from residents to be allowed to have chickens. The council agreed it could be discussed at a future meeting, after the budget work was completed.


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