City Council To Decide On Off-Road Vehicle Ordinance

Off-Road Vehicles(ORV) on city streets are being considered by the Deer Park City Council. A vote is scheduled by the council for the next meeting on May 3rd. The proposed ordinance aims to establish requirements and standards for the operation of Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicles(WATVs) on city streets and penalties for violations.

The Deer Park City Council is nearing a decision on a new ordinance that could impact the use of off-road vehicles within the city. The proposed changes may have significant implications for residents and recreational vehicle users, including those who own or use all-terrain vehicles(ATVs), motorcycles, four-wheel drive vehicles, and dune buggies. 

The council held a second reading of the ordinance and a public hearing in April. The meeting also covered the idea of using ATVs for the Parks Department as a more cost-effective alternative to purchasing a pickup truck. In addition, the county has recently authorized the use of ORVs on all county roads, and the meeting discussed the possibility of allowing city personnel to use these vehicles in parks. A resident also suggested creating day permits for events like Settlers Day.

Mayor Tim Verzal said, “…rather than spend $50,000 for a pickup truck for the Parks Department, we’re spending 20,000 for an ATV… The rationale behind it is we save $30,000 of your money.”

It was also pointed out that the school district and local utilities currently use WATVs. According to Roger Krieger, Deer Park City’s Community Service Director, options for using WATVs have come under consideration since Sheriff Nowels has chosen to allow them in Spokane County. 

Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicles VS Golf Carts
WATVs are defined as off-road vehicles by Washington State, and this category does not include golf carts. ORVs such as all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, four-wheel drive vehicles, side by sides, Utility Terrain Vehicles(UTVs), and dune buggies are included in the definition of WATVs.

From comments made by the Mayor, it seems the city does not prevent people from driving golf carts on city roads. However, there is no defined Golf Cart Zone, and golf carts are not considered street-legal vehicles. 

Restrictions & Requirements For WATVs
If approved, the ordinance would permit individuals with a valid driver’s license to operate WATVs on city streets with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less. Additionally, WATVs must comply with equipment requirements such as headlights, tail lamps, stop lamps, reflectors, turn signals, mirrors, windshields, horns, and brakes. WATVs must also meet registration requirements outlined in Chapter 46.09 RCW. Operators and passengers of WATVs are required to wear securely fastened motorcycle helmets while the vehicle is in motion, except if the WATV is equipped with seat belts and roll bars or as an enclosed passenger compartment. Additionally, WATVs would not be allowed to operate on state routes or city streets with a speed limit exceeding 35 miles per hour. WATVs would be prohibited from operating on sidewalks, pedestrian trails, bridges, and within parks, except on park drives or designated parking lots.

Final Vote Scheduled
The upcoming third and final reading, followed by a vote, is scheduled for 7:00 pm May 3rd at Deer Park City Hall. If passed, the ordinance would be enacted five days after its publication.

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