The Salem Town Board heard Monday from residents about their views on allowing ATV use on designated routes on town roads.
Speakers at the special meeting just for this purpose included those who support and oppose the ordinance. By my count 26 people total spoke. Fourteen opposed the new ordinance, eight supported the new ordinance and two expressed neutral opinions. For one other speaker I did not hear enough of their comments to discern their opinion and for one other I was not sure what their stance was.
Opponents stressed concerns about safety and enforcement. Proponents stressed that ATV can be safe and that safety would be enhanced by establishing a set of enforceable rules.
Here is video of portions of some of the comments:
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes and was orderly, with Chairman Diann Tesar calling people up to speak who had signed up before the meeting started. Some speakers were met with applause from those who supported their position. I counted about 150 people in attendance, more than there was seats. The audience appeared to be split about half and half between proponents and opponents of the proposed ordinance.
“I was very proud of how the people of the town of Salem conducted themselves tonight,” Supervisor Dan Campion said in an interview after the meeting.
At the end of the public comment, Supervisor Mike Culat read a statement lamenting what he called the distortion of his motivation for supporting the ATV ordinance:
One of the citizen speakers, Tim Squire, proposed a referendum on the issue, since passions were running so high.
““With a heated issue like this, I don’t think it should be put on five people,” Squire said.
After the meeting, Tesar said she expected the board to discuss and possibly act on the issue — including perhaps a November referendum — at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Aug. 11.
The issue got started in April when about 40 residents showed up at a Town Board meeting to support allowing ATV use on designated town roads.