Paonia trustees approved an ordinance last week allowing the operation of off-highway vehicles, or OHVs, within town limits.
Before jumping on your four-wheeler and going for a spin, OHV owners should know a few things, including the fact that the ordinance will not take effect until May 6. Until then, it is not legal to operate an OHV or ATV within town limits, according to Police Chief Neil Ferguson.
Once in effect, the ordinance will require the following:
Vehicles must remain on public streets and alleyways.
Operators must have a valid motor vehicle drivers license or operator's license and have it in their possession while operating a vehicle.
Operation of three-wheeled OHVs is forbidden under the ordinance.
Vehicles shall be registered as required under Colorado state statute.
Operators shall comply with insurance policy requirements under state statute.
Operators may not travel faster than 15 miles per hour.
Persons in violation of the ordinance are subject to a fine not to exceed $300 for each violation.
State law does not allow OHVs/ATVs to be operated on state highways, except to cross these highways.
Operators will also be allowed to plow snow with their OHVs, although that may not be necessary this spring.
Those wanting to ride on designated county roads need to abide by county regulations, which the Board of County Commissioners approved on Monday and take effect on April 17.
Concern was expressed by members of the public that increased use in town could encourage more use on public lands adjacent to town boundaries and along irrigation ditches. Mayor pro tempore David Bradford said that lands outside of town are also outside the town's authority "and beyond the scope of this decision."
Because the town has no jurisdiction over public lands, riders seeking to access public lands should refer to the laws pertaining to use of OHVs on public lands.
Trustees also approved sale of a water tap to the Lamborn Drive Domestic and Irrigation Water Association, at a cost of $15,000. The domestic water tap will service a private home located on Lamborn Drive. The town's water ordinance allows for the sale of five out-of-town water taps per year, with each tap requiring a majority vote of the town board for approval. There is no annual limit on the sale of in-town water taps.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.