Feb. 13, 2006 – Possible riding ban may create precedent

As a California county debates a possible off-highway vehicle ban, off-road enthusiasts watch and wait.
If a ban passes, other counties could quickly follow suit, eliminating where and when people can ride OHVs.
At the end of January, the board of supervisors in Riverside County sent a draft of an OHV ordinance back to the planning department, requesting it either ban OHV use in residential areas, require anyone who wants to use OHVs on their property to get a permit or impose parameters for riding that would make it nearly impossible to do so in the county.
It is now up to the planning commission to rewrite the ordinance and represent it to the board of supervisors, which will address the issue again in late March.
“There are many, many counties waiting to see what this county is doing, said Meg Grossglass of the Off-Road Business Association. Those include neighboring San Bernardino and San Diego counties, which are waiting for a final decision from the board before possibly implementing their own OHV ordinances, Grossglass said.
ORBA, the American Motorcyclist Association, EcoLogic and property owners had been working with the Riverside County planning commission for nearly a year and a half to create an ordinance that was fair to both sides. The groups convinced the commission to abandon a plan to make OHV riding legal only on certain days of the week, and another which would have restricted hours of the day in which riding was acceptable.
Whenever faced with such a wide-sweeping proposal, Grossglass said governments should address the root of citizen complaints instead of imposing an outright ban.
“What people complain about is the sound of OHVs,” Grossglass said. “So, we made it that at the property line, the sound coming from OHVs is not more than 65 decibels. We thought that was fair. You’re regulating the problem.”
The problem, Grossglass explained, was that trespassing and noise ordinances in the county were not being enforced. Enacting more laws won’t solve the problem, she said.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board for the planning commission and more waiting for those anticipating the outcome of it all. ORBA will continue to work with county officials to create a fair ordinance. If a ban does pass in the county, OHV advocacy organizations most likely will take a serious look at litigation, Grossglass said. psb

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