Salem Town Board hears citizen views on ATV route

atv-sxc-Michal-Zacharzewski-webThe 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.

4 Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    Is there a map of the proposed roads to be designated as “ATV Routes”? In my search, this information does not appear to be available? Thank you.

  2. resident says:

    Has anyone questioned just WHO will be enforcing the ATV rules? The two public safety officers that are done daily at 5:00pm? Who’s going to enforce the rules after hours? HOW will they enforce the rules? Is the Town going to buy an ATV for the officers? If a violation occurs on the road and the ATV takes off through a field, just who’s going to chase the ATV? The Town shouldn’t expect the Sheriff’s Department to do this enforcing – there aren’t enough deputies around for that. The Board just needs to make a decision – why put it to referendum? Five board members have made decisions for everything from sewer expansions to new fire department buildings, to combining the three departments. Why do they feel the need for such a referendum? Aren’t they voted in for making such decisions? If the Board feels the need to have a referendum for every difficult decisions, then, there’s really no need for the board members, is there? They were elected to make such difficult decisions on the behalf of the residents here.

  3. Julie Schroeder says:

    I agree with the sentiment about a referendum. If majority is so important to the Pro folks, those of us gathering signatures against this proposal brought forth more than twice the number of signatures than the Pro group. I agree, that the board needs to make a decision based on FACTS, not just what a small group of people thinks will be fun for them. As for making a set of enforceable rules, there is a set of enforceable rules. It’s called the state law and people are currently breaking them.

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