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Bainbridge says 'no' to ATV's

Thursday, October 11, 2007

BAINBRIDGE -- The Bainbridge Town Council reversed a previous decision to follow county ATV guidelines Wednesday and moved forward on a crafting its own ordinance on the subject.

When Town Marshall Rodney Fenwick asked the board for guidance in policing ATVs on Bainbridge roadways, members ultimately decided that Fenwick should enforce the existing state law, which bans their use, as well as all unlicensed vehicles, on streets.

However, they asked Fenwick and town attorney Laurie Hardwick to draft an ordinance that would ban four-wheelers but still allow smaller vehicles like golf carts and lawnmowers.

However, until such a resolution is passed, all such modes of transportation are illegal on town roads, Hardwick said.

The board also discussed its emergency snow removal policy. Snow plows have had problems keeping Main and Washington streets clear because of cars parked on the sides of those roads, said Utility Superintendent Jim Nelson.

To solve this problem, the town is in the process of enacting an ordinance that would allow it to tow cars that are not moved when officials declare a "snow emergency."

Council members looked at several similar laws that towns had already enacted, though member Richard Cope said Winamac, Ind.'s law was the only useful one.

Cope gave Hardwick a copy of the law with some of his own corrections and asked her to draw up an ordinance for the town based on Winamac's policy. The law will include putting snow emergency notice signs on streets and on the town's Web site, council president Michael Smith said.

Nelson said he suspected the policy will result in minor chaos for the first few snows, though things will calm down once Bainbridge residents get used to the new law.

An ordinance should be ready for a first reading at next month's meeting, Smith said. The council also discussed its progress on cleaning up or demolishing two abandoned and dilapidated houses in town.

Hardwick said she was in the process of drafting a letter to the owners of the properties to ask them to clean up the homes.

If that fails, Bainbridge will need to enact an unsafe building ordinance and fund, she said.

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