Vernon still exploring ordinance to allow ATVs on township roads (2024)

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Supervisors are still working on an ordinance to allow all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on township roads.

They are seeking public input whether they should enact the proposed ordinance.

At Thursday’s work session, several questions were raised and some supervisors are not convinced it is a good idea — based on input they have received from citizens.

The proposed ordinance would allow the ATVs to be ridden on township roads. However, the roads the ATVs could travel on have not been determined.

Supervisor John Karns noted the proposal calls for drivers to be “over the age of 16,” and questioned whether that meant they had to be at least 17. It was changed to read “16 years of age or older.” He also suggested the ordinance should require operators to have a driver’s license. He said that would show they have had some training in operating a vehicle.

Supervisor Fritz Snyder said he is in “semi-agreement,” but when it comes down to it, he is “not in favor of it,” but then added he is “sitting on the fence on this.”

“I just don’t know,” he added.

Supervisor Don Maloney suggested those riding an ATV should wear helmets.

Supervisor Scott Davis voiced concern that the ATVs should not being going down the road at “100 miles per hour. It’s going to happen.”

Supervisor Dave Stone said he “could go either way” about the issue.

Sue Johnson of Cussewago Road, a citizen in the audience, said research shows that most places where ATVs are ridden are not on the open roads, but in open fields or on special trails designed for ATV riding. She said ATV’s “should be treated as that,” referring to the all-terrain aspect.

After some discussion, Township Manager Rob Horvat asked the board to provide information about what roads should be included in the ordinance so he can include that in the proposal to come before the board for a vote.

Maloney believes supervisors need more information and Snyder agreed.

The proposed ordinance could come before the board at its July 2 meeting. The meeting date was changed for July because of the July 4 holiday.

In the meantime, interested residents may contact supervisors or send comments to the township office.

At the monthly meeting that followed the work session, supervisors voted 4-1 to amend a 2003 resolution concerning the township’s capital reserve fund for anticipated capital expenditures.

Stone was the lone no vote.

The ordinance basically adds “police services” to the category where funding is to be designated. The 2003 resolutions called for funding of the renovation of the municipal building, equipment and street lights.

Horvat said the resolution will allow the supervisors to determine the amount of funds to be put into the account each year. For 2024, the budget includes $47,000 from a certificate of deposit to be put into the account.

During the discussion at the work session, it was noted the funds will accumulate over the years, so when the current police agreement with the city of Meadville expires in 20 years, there will be funding available should it be needed for police services.

In an issue related to police, Meadville Police Chief Mike Stefanucci gave the monthly report of police services in Vernon Township for May.

Police answered 86 calls, including seven crashes. Traffic stops totaled 126 with 100 citations issued and 26 warnings. Nineteen criminal arrests were made.

Asked about the types of traffic issues, Stefanucci said they range from speeding to careless driving and others, including passing illegally. He noted when stops were made, it was discovered many drivers did not have a valid license.

He said there are few “reportable” crashes in the roundabout, noting many are fender-benders where drivers exchange insurance information but they are not required to report them.

In closing comments, Karns noted it was the 80th anniversary of D-Day and asked residents when they “lay their head down tonight” to think about the sacrifices the veterans made, as well as the veterans serving today.

Snyder said he had nothing special to report. “Enjoy summer. Enjoy Vernon Township,” he added.

Stone praised a retiree from the Department of Economic Development who over the years has assisted Vernon Township with the Community Development Block Grant funds, which were used for various projects, allowing the township to use its funds for other projects. He also expressed sympathy, on personal note, to the family of his mother-in-law, who passed away recently at the age of 93.

He also commended Horvat for sending letters to 15 residents who have junk vehicles on their property. He asked residents to clean up their properties and expressed appreciation to Horvat for following up.

Davis reminded people that school is out and to watch for children when driving.

Maloney echoed Karn’s comments about D-Day, noting many of the veterans were 18 years old. One was a 14-year-old “who snuck in,” he said, remembering the many Americans who died that day.

He also expressed appreciation to all the residents who offered input about the ATV ordinance — both positive and negative.

“We want to hear from you,” he said.

Vernon still exploring ordinance to allow ATVs on township roads (2024)

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