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Board to discuss ATV ordinance

POSTED: July 29, 2009 4:00 a.m.

County officials are considering an ordinance to regulate the use of all-terraine vehicles in Dawson County.


An ATV is a self-propelled vehicle designed primarily for operation over natural terrain and primarily steered by wheels, according to an early draft presented to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners last week.


Off-road motorcycles, three-wheelers and similar vehicles with one or more wheels are named as examples.


Robbie Irvin, a deputy with the Dawson County Marshal’s Office, said the proposed ordinance is not intended to include bicycles or street legal vehicles operating on public right-of-ways.


The ordinance is designed to address issues such as riding the ATV’s in areas that damage county right-of-ways, as well as operating the vehicles on private property without permission by the owner.


Safety of others is also addressed in the draft.


Agricultural and public service ATV use would not be limited by the proposed ordinance, said Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner.


“This ordinance is designed to eliminate the problems ATV use causes to county right-of-ways,” he said, adding taxpayers foot the bill when the county has to make repairs to right-of-ways and county property.


Enforcement would be handled through the marshal’s office and the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, with the issuance of a verbal or written warning for the first offense, followed by citations and custodial arrests.


Juvenile offenders would be processed through the juvenile court system, with parents in certain cases being held liable.


Adult offenders also could be held liable for any damage they cause to private property.


The board of commissioners is expected to discuss the draft in its next work session on Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. in the G.L. Pete Gilleland Council Chambers at city hall.


E-mail Michele Hester at


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