Gilpin delays vote on ordinance that would allow ATVs on township roads
It will be at least another month until Gilpin supervisors decide whether all-terrain vehicles can be driven on some township roads.
Supervisors Monday night delayed a final vote on the proposed ordinance since some language was added to the original proposal and there is a mandated review time for residents.
Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the ordinance August 12.
Officials took comment for and against the proposed ordinance for more than 90 minutes Monday in a packed meeting room in the township building.
If enacted, the ordinance would allow township roads to be designated multi-use roads. ATV operators would be required to obtain an annual permit from Gilpin police.
ATV operators would have to provide their name, address, names of all vehicle operators, insurance carrier and policy numbers and affix license plates provided by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
ATVs would remain banned on state highways and state-maintained roads, including Ice Pond, Lovers Leap, Novinger and Schenley roads. Supervisors Chairman Charles Stull added Lehigh, Highland, Betty and Veterans roads at the suggestion of a Leechburg councilman because the roads cross the border between the two communities.
Riding would be prohibited from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and the township might cap permits on a yearly basis if there are too many licensing requests.
Resident Jim Teeters asked if Gilpin’s insurance carrier had an opinion on the matter and Stull said that hasn’t been determined.
Teeters also asked why neighboring Bethel Township turned down a similar proposal.
Sara Ritter said the vehicles were not intended for highway use and that users weren’t being respectful to property owners.
Ritter also was concerned about lawsuits against the township if the ordinance didn’t play out as intended. Solicitor Timothy Miller said municipalities have “sovereign immunity” that makes lawsuits difficult to advance.
Other residents said allowing ATVs would ruin the peace and tranquility of the township, the reason many said they moved there. Some expressed safety concerns and noise disruptions to residents who have various illnesses.
John Andrasy supported the proposal and said enthusiasts can get to each others’ houses easily and that concerns “have been blown out of proportion.”
Ricky Stitt, who has operated his ATV in other counties, also voiced support for the measure and said operators would “police themselves” similar to what is done near his Elk County camp.
Supervisor Susan Brown said she looked at two other Armstrong County townships that have ATV ordinances — Redbank and Washington — and found that neither had related problems since the ordinances were enacted.
Brown said there were 25 fatalities involving ATVs in Pennsylvania in 2017, fewer than in automobiles, motorcycles and other forms of transportation.
Supervisors voted 3-2 to re-advertise the updated ordinance with Stull, Brown and Kristopher Kulick voting yes, while Linda Alworth and Dennis Rowe opposed.
George Guido is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.