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Letter from resident prompts discussion on ATV road use

A letter from a resident prompted a discussion with the City Council on ATV roadway use. (Photo by Jody Houle) (click for larger version)
November 14, 2018
BERLIN — A letter from a Berlin resident to the City Council prompted a discussion on road use by ATV's.

Although there appears to be some miscommunication between the resident and certain council members, the letter of Claire Stiles was addressed and put on the agenda during a traffic safety meeting held on October 22. Stiles reported back to the council last Monday, Nov. 5 at a council meeting and stated that here suggestions to conduct a survey from local residences on ATV road use was less of a safety issue and more of a "quality of life" issue. The consensus of the council was that the ordinance would remain unchanged and that any discussion on the matter could be addressed at any public hearing. Furthermore, the Police Department noted that there have been few safety concerns with ATV road use.

"I attended the Traffic Safety Committee meeting on October 22, 2018, wherein my letter was on the agenda for that meeting," said Stiles. "After Mr. Rozek read my letter to the attendees and asked me several questions, which were not really relevant to my letter, a brief discussion ensued about safety concerns, and the matter of safety was referred to the Police Department. It was also determined that there would be no changes to the ordinance that had been adopted regarding ATV travel on city streets. As I recall, I did not request such changes be considered nor did I specifically ask for a review of safety issues. I thought I was clear in my request that consideration be given to conducting a survey in order to measure the impact, if any, passage of the ordinance has had on residents of the City of Berlin."

During the traffic meeting, Stiles stated that council member Michael Rozek told her that she doesn't "live in a perfect world."

In summary, I would respectfully request that my letter again be put forth to the City Council in hopes that it might be addressed more appropriately. As a side note, I would like to thank Mr. Rozek for reminding me that I don't live in a perfect world."

Rozek replied last Monday that he his statement was in plural tense -- that "we don't live in a perfect world."

Her letter was placed on the agenda for Nov. 19 work session.

In her letter, Styles wrote that she doesn't necessarily have an issue with ATV traffic and that her neighborhood is not "drastically affected" and that she has not felt unsafe on the roadways. She said she feels the views of the public should be heard.

Another resident responded that he feels the council "has done a good job of balancing the economic benefits for the revitalization of the City with concern for the residents who live here.

Stiles suggested that ATV riders could drive to local restaurants or businesses with their regular vehicles and transport their ATV's if they were not allowed to operate on roadways. Roger Pelletier, who works as a guide in the summer, disagreed stating that riders want to be able to drive directly to gas stations and restaurants.

Another resident stated that patrols have increased in his neighborhood.

Councilor Roland Theberge noted that there was a sunset clause in the ordinance that allowed it be reviewed in one year from the time it was written and that clause it was extended for another year. he hearings were held and "people are always welcome to voice their opinions."

Police Department Deputy Chief Dan Buteau and said that the department addresses any specific concerns. He added that there have been few accidents from ATV's on the roadways.

City Manager James Wheeler stated that safety was mentioned in Stiles letter so the matter was put on the Traffic Safety committee agenda but that any quality of life or other issues would be addressed with the council or the planning board.

Rozek said that when the ordinance was passed, the city was going through tough times economically and still is. He also noted that when the ordinance was re-written a couple of years ago, that Fish and Game added strict guidelines on exhaust noise.

It was decided by the council that the ordinance would remain unchanged but the police department would do safety audits.

A motion carried to have Stiles letter be put on the Nov. 19 work session agenda.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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