Riverside County, Calif. officials restrict OHV use

Riverside County, Calif., officials passed two highly restrictive off-highway vehicle ordinances Tuesday that the Off-Road Business Association called an effective ban on OHV use.

In a move that some have said may set a precedent for OHV bans in other counties, Riverside County supervisors passed a noise ordinance and a riding ordinance that raised the ire of off-road enthusiasts.

The riding ordinance contained a number of restrictions, including that OHVs may only be ridden from noon to 5 p.m., regardless of what day of the week it is. OHVs also are limited to one for every 10 acres. With a notarized statement from contiguous property owners, the limit would be lowered to one OHV per five acres. In either case, a maximum of four OHVs would be allowed, according to ordinance language. To use more than four OHVs, a person or organization would have to obtain a conditional-use permit. Setbacks were set at 100 feet from any property line and 250 feet from any adjacent residence. OHVs may only be used on private property if the above provisions are met.

A number of supporters showed up at the meeting to encourage the supervisors to vote against the ordinance. ORBA, the American Motorcyclist Association, EcoLogic and several residents had been working with the county for the past 18 months on the issue. They were disappointed with the board’s decision.

“Between the noise ordinance, which is the most restrictive of its kind that I have ever heard of, along with the OHV ordinance, the supervisors have banned OHV use for the average property owner,” said Meg Grossglass of ORBA.

Many of the ordinance’s opponents feel the county isn’t addressing the root of the problem — the lack of enforcement of the county’s trespassing and noise ordinances.

Enacting more laws won’t solve the problem, Grossglass said. Ed Moreland, AMA’s vice president of governmental relations, shared that frustration.

“The supervisors voted almost unanimously to criminalize families who recreate together on private property, while offering no real solutions for penalizing those who are truly riding illegally,” Moreland said.

Ordinance opponents are exploring their political and legal options.

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