Despite the rain and the fact that there was no scheduled public testimony on the issue, every chair at City Hall in Wasilla was filled Monday evening. People wanted their voice heard on the proposed ATV ban.
Earlier this month, Wasilla’s planning commission passed a resolution in a four to one vote recommending the City Council ban riding off-road vehicles within city limits.
“A majority of over half the people that testified within the city limits were actually for the ordinance and that was a heavy weighing factor I think for myself,” said Jessica Dean who sits on Wasilla’s Planning Commission.
That one vote against the recommendation spoke up Monday.
“I ask the council to ask them personally do they want to be a council member in a city of ‘no’ or do we want to maintain freedoms here,” said Planning Commission member, Loren Means.
13.5 square miles is the area the ban would cover. Current ATV laws in Wasilla require riding with a helmet and going no faster than 10 miles per hour, and anybody under the age of 16 much have an adult present.
Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright said the use of off-road vehicles has become a safety hazard to pedestrians and vehicles throughout the city. He said if people want to ride ATV’s within city limits they must follow the rules.
“It’s the citizen’s responsibility before they actively engage in an activity or behavior, know what the rules in that jurisdiction are,” Rupright said.
According to the city, in the last two years Wasilla Police have responded to 248 complaints. Rupright said, though, since the thought of a ban has been making headlines, the past few weeks people have been abiding the law.
Rupright said there is a chance the code allowing ATV use within city limits could be re-written so both residents and law enforcement can better understand the laws.
A public hearing on the issue on the proposal to ban the off-road vehicle is scheduled for August 25th.
Caslon Hatch, Reporter - KTUU Channel 2 Anchorage, Alaska (907) 762 - 9241