Ten people spoke to the ordinance during the public comments section, they were evenly divided between supporters and opponents of tighter ATV restrictions.
Eric Hammerling of the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association, and David Brown, of the Middlesex Land Trust, told the council that ATV use on public and private land was damaging to trails, to ecosystems, and to wetlands and water supply. Brown said that the Land Trust properties were maintained entirely by volunteers, "To maintain our preserves only to have them continually destroyed [by ATVs] without concern or consequence is demoralizing for both users and volunteers."
Several residents of Chauncey Road spoke out against the ordinance, and one sentence in particular, which mandates consideration of neighbors:
No person shall operate or cause to be operated [ATVs], in any manner, which would cause nuisance, annoyance, alarm, or harassment of any kind to persons, domestic animals, or game.Dan Penney called the ordinance confusing and an invitation to lawsuits, saying that it "trumps homeowner's rights on their own property."
Several members of the Council reassured the Chauncey Road residents that the ordinance would not lead to capricious citations. Councilman Pessina said that the police would evaluate each situation carefully, and would be "reasonable and fair" in evaluating whether a violation had occurred.
Read below the jump for the full ordinance.
Ordinance No. 06-12
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MIDDLETOWN that a new Sec. 285-23 Definitions. and 285-24 Operation restricted. and 285-25 Penalties. be added to Chapter 285 of the Middletown Code of Ordinances to read as follows:
Sec. 285-23. Definitions.
For the purpose of this article:
All-terrain vehicle shall mean any vehicle so designed, built, modified or designed that it is capable of transporting persons or property over several types of surface or in areas where there is no paved roadway, including dirt bikes, motocross, endure or flat track.
Motor driven cycle shall mean any motor scooter, snowmobile or bicycle with an attached motor.
Property of the city shall include, but not be limited to, all park, golf course, school, parking or municipal areas under the control of any city board of commission.
Residential property shall mean all residential zoned land within the City.
Sec. 285-24. Operation restricted.
A. Municipal property. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any motor driven cycle, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile upon the property of the city or residential property except on established roadways, paths, paved areas or streets where the operation of such vehicles is allowed either by state law, ordinance, rule or special permit.
B. Sidewalks. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any motor driven cycle, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile on any sidewalk or pedestrian walkway within the city except to cross the same or to place such vehicle upon such sidewalk for the purpose of parking same if the location where such vehicle is to be parked is such that it will not interfere with pedestrian traffic.
C. License required. All motor driven cycles, all-terrain vehicles or snowmobiles operated within the city must bear appropriate license plates or markers as required by state law.
D. Private Property. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any motor driven cycle, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile upon any private property within the city except with express permission of the owner. No person shall operate or cause to be operated such vehicle, in any manner, which would cause nuisance, annoyance, alarm, or harassment of any kind to persons, domestic animals, or game.
E. Noise. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any motor driven cycle, all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile which is so designed, modified, altered or broken as to emit unreasonably loud or offensive levels of noise.
Sec. 285-25 Penalties.
Violation of any section of this article shall result in the following penalties:
(1) For first violation, punishment as provided in section 1-6 of this Code. A fine of $100 shall be imposed for a second violation. For a third violation, the vehicle shall be impounded and a fine of $150 shall be imposed. Payment for towing charges, storage fees and any other charges incurred as a result of impounding the vehicle shall be required prior to the vehicle’s release.
(2) Notwithstanding subparagraph (1) of this section, any person found guilty of violation of this article where such violation caused damage to either private or municipal property, the individuals shall be liable to pay damages for the repair of same.
Submitted by: Councilwoman Mary A. Bartolotta
Approved by Ordinance Study Committee on April 24, 2012
Status: AMENDED AND APPROVED
by Common Council, City of Middletown
at its meeting held on: MAY 7, 2012