ORV and golf cart ordinance fails, sees little support from public

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- A proposed ordinance to allow off road vehicles and golf carts on Tippecanoe County roads received little support at the Tippecanoe County Commissioners’ meeting Monday.

Those in favor of loosening restrictions on ORVs spoke against it.

“If I were to roll my four wheeler down a hill and break my tail light, brake light and headlight there are my three tickets,” Tippecanoe County resident Dante Wells said. “I’m going to get three tickets, a life time suspension and a $1,000 fine.”

Wells is referring to the restrictions outlined in the failed ordinance. It states after three violations the driver would lose their license to drive an ORV.

Jay Jackson spoke in favor of the ordinance, but agreed it is too restrictive. He said he wanted to support the idea of an ordinance, not the ordinance as written.

“The proposed ordinance as written currently was defeated,” Jackson said. “It is not a defeat to us. We’re actually pleased with that.”

The commissioners gave different reasons for their opposition.

“The emails we’ve been getting in our office have probably been running a good 10-15 to 1 against this ordinance,” Commissioner John Knochel said.

“It just seems incredibly unsafe to have ATVs on those particular roads,” Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said.

Commissioner Dave Byers wondered if this may be an issue the Indiana Department of Natural Resources needs to take on.

“One of the letters we got said ‘The sheriff’s office told our family it’s fine to use these ATVs for farm use, but the DNR stopped us and told us to get them off the road,'” Byers said.

County commissioners heard from several farmers who are in favor of ORVs on Tippecanoe County roads. That’s because sometimes they have to get their vehicles on the road to transport materials across the farm. Commissioners are taking that into consideration.

“I think we need to go back to the drawing board, and talk about something that would work for that particular use,” Murtaugh said.

The commissioners will go back to the drawing board. Since the ordinance failed a new one will be written up.

However, Knochel will not lead the committee to write one up like he did for this last ordinance, that duty is going to Byers.

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