|August 25th, 2006, 08:59 PM||#1|
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ORV news in the U.P.
I was hunting down ORV ordinance info for Mackinac county and found all this, its from 2005 and has lots of good info.
Council holds off on ORV code changes
By JACK STOREY/The Evening News
ST. IGNACE - Presented with Mackinac County's off-road vehicle (ORV) ordinance, City Council on Monday discussed the city's different restrictions at some length before referring the proposal to a committee for more study.
Steve Dufresne presented city officials with the ordinance, which he said has been approved by the County Commission and several townships. In urging the Council to adopt a similar measure, Dufresne said a common ORV code countywide would improve the tourist trade.
City Manager Pete Heckman said the city and county ORV codes have a number of differences, principal among them limits on access road use, night riding, speed limits and seasonal versus year-around ORV riding on city access streets.
The city code strictly limits ORV travel on city streets to those leading directly to ORV trails. Included in the city regulations is a provision allowing some winter snow plowing with a permit for the practice. Language in the county code opens all roads that are not federal or state highways or roads in villages and cities that do not adopt the county's code.
The county code restricts roadway use only by requiring that riders use the five feet to the right on roadways. It does not specify shoulders on those roads that have them.
Dufresne and another ORV enthusiast with him said city, county and township adoption will speed a local rider group's effort to gain legal access to Hiawatha National Forest, which dominates rural areas of the county.
Council members said little during an extended conversation with the ORV partisans as Heckman pointed to several differences between the city's ORV code and the more liberal county version. During the discussion, the ORV backers charged that snowmobilers face fewer restrictions that ORVs in the current state of regulation around the county.
After a lengthy exchange with no sign of Council acceptance of the more liberal county riding rules, Mayor Bruce Dodson ended the conversation - saying the proposed code will be referred to a Council committee for further study. The Council agreed and voted unanimously for committee review prior to additional consideration.
Heckman warned the group that adoption of any ordinance change, if any, will likely take a number of months.
The current city code limits ORV use to daylight hours and a set season in addition to access street restrictions.
Heckman reported briefly on the deliberations of a specially assembled Little Bear East Arena task force formed to study ways to market the arena more widely. He said the group appears to have widened its marketing focus from the arena to all of northern Michigan where the city's primary interest lies in the local arena itself.
After some observations that the group appears to be doubling up on the Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors' Bureau from around the Council table, Heckman pulled back somewhat on a task force request for city financial aid.
He did, however, warn the Council that the group may be back later with a more focused proposal calling for the city, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Visitors Bureau to contribute $1,000 each in start-up costs for a stepped-up arena marketing effort.
With support from Mayor Bruce Dodson, Heckman asked the Council to table action on that request pending a more refined objective.
The Council did act to approve a renewed mutual aid agreement for fire services that may cover four counties if adopted by all respective fire companies. Council members initially questioned the four-county arrangement, noting the long distances involved in moving fire equipment and manpower to remote fire scenes.
Fire Chief Bucky Robinson replied that the four county arrangement was struck mainly to cover those outlying areas where fire units in one county go to the aid of nearby units in a different county. He said at most, fire companies like St. Ignace would be called upon to extend back-up coverage in a fire emergency to adjacent communities as other units are called out to assist at the actual fire scene.
The four county agreement encompasses Mackinac, Chippewa, Luce and Schoolcraft Counties. The agreement would apparently not affect existing aid arrangements St. Ignace maintains with nearby Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.
Last edited by Yetti; August 25th, 2006 at 09:14 PM.
|August 25th, 2006, 09:16 PM||#2|
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heres more info that shows some of the changes that got made.
Off Road Vehicle Enthusiasts Get County Trail Ordinance
Approval by Townships, Cities Next Step To Opening Roads for ORVs
By Karen Gould
A new Mackinac County ordinance will allow off-road vehicles (ORVs) to be driven on unpaved areas of county roads, but not U.S. highways, state highways, or highways in cites or townships that do not approve it locally.
Adopted by commissioners Thursday, August 25, at the request of off-road enthusiasts, the ORV ordinance includes access routes, restrictions, and penalties and becomes effective 30 days after publication.
“This is an enabling ordinance that enables the townships to pass an ordinance to allow the ORV traffic on access routes to trails or open areas,” said Sheriff Scott Strait. “It doesn’t mean you can drive your four-wheelers everywhere. This is only valid in those jurisdictions where the township also adopts this or a similar ordinance.”
Commissioners will review the ordinance in one year.
Steve DuFresne of St. Ignace, who made the request to commissioners earlier this month to consider an ordinance that would help develop ORV trail use, attended the meeting along with county resident Derek Packer, who is forming an ORV club. Both men said that ORV access in the county would encourage visitors to stay in the county, rather than drive through to counties that already have such an ordinance in place.
“This is exactly what we wanted to happen,” said Mr. DuFresne, who now will be contacting townships to see if they will adopt the ordinance.
“Now, maybe we’ll get as many ORV riders up here as we have snowmobilers,” said Mr. Packer.
The ORV group will host a public meeting Thursday, September 1, at 7 p.m. at St. Ignace Middle School to discuss ideas for opening ORV trails.
Commissioners discussed, but took no action on, a letter from Portage Township Supervisor Donald Ferris, who is concerned that the county’s animal control officer will not respond calls at the county’s west end.
“Residents from the three western townships don’t even bother to call because they know it’s useless,” he wrote.
His letter was prompted by an incident in which a resident now is facing criminal charges because he ended up shooting a pit bull running loose in Curtis. According to Mr. Ferris, the dog had a history of killing cats and frightening citizens.
The board voted to put to rest the repayment of county funds issue with the treasurer’s office. County Prosecutor W. Clayton Graham provided commissioners with copies of two checks totaling $5,000 that had been repaid to the county. The money came from payments County Treasurer Jane Hampton had authorized to herself and her chief deputy without board approval.
Commission Chair Dawn Nelson, Commissioner Jim Farero, County Clerk Mary Kay Tamlyn, and a representative from the county treasurer’s office will serve on a committee to figure out what to do about the general ledger, which currently resides in the treasurer’s office. For several years, auditors have advised commissioners that the same office should not keep both the income and disbursement records.
Commissioners will also review the employee manual because of $1,800 in overtime costs over the last eight months in the treasurer’s office. Commissioners said they thought overtime had been eliminated.
“It’s your responsibility to set the salary and the fringe, but I also think it is the responsibility of the department head when you need that increase to come before the board,” said Mrs. Tamlyn.
Commissioners approved the county’s Hazardous Mitigation Plan following a public hearing just before their board meeting. The plan now will be sent to the Federal Emergency Management Administration for approval. If approved, it will make the county eligible for federal assistance during various kinds of disasters. The plan identifies hazards the county my be vulnerable to and details about how they might be minimized.
Semco Energy Gas was asked to submit in writing a request for an easement to install a four-inch gas main to reinforce pressure near the airport. It is needed, the company has said, because of growth in the vicinity, including the planned new hospital.
In a discussion about the county’s Economic Development Corporation, Commissioner Carl Frazier said he had a meeting the previous Monday in Sault Ste. Marie with Luce and Chippewa county officials.
“Their EDCs seem to be functioning and they’re bringing jobs in,” said Mr. Frazier. “What are we doing wrong?” he asked Michelle Walk, director of the EDC, who was at the meeting.
She told commissioners that both of those counties have full-time directors who are partially supported by those counties.
Jim Fararo and Joe Durm will study the work history of a deputy corrections officer who previously worked in the Sheriff’s office and has returned, in response to her request for credit for her earlier work time for retirement purposes.
Commissioners next meet as a committee of the whole Tuesday, August 30, at 5 p.m. to continue reviewing the 2005 budget. Commissioners hope to begin the 2006 budget process at that meeting. They will meet in the commissioners’ room at the County Annex Building.