(CENTREVILLE) – St. Joseph County now has an off road vehicle ordinance.
During Tuesday's meeting, the County Commission approved on a 4-1 vote the ordinance after several months of discussion and research. The ordinance would allow ORV's to operate on public highways in the County. ORV's, according to the ordinance, include a motor driven off road recreational vehicle or golf cart capable of cross country travel without benefit of a road or trail, on or immediately over land, or other natural terrain.
ORV's are defined as multi-wheel drive vehicles. They do not include snowmobiles, a farm vehicle used for farming, a motorcycle, or a 3 wheeled vehicle.
Prior to the vote, St. Joseph County Road Commission Board member Vince Misfud suggested the County Commission look at some roads not being allowed to have ORV's operate on them. He says roads that see two to three thousand vehicles a day, the chances of having accidents goes up.
County Commissioner Allen Balog says a decision like that is not up to the County Commission. Under State law, townships can designate where ORV's can operate and what roads are closed to them.
Balog says the statute only allows townships to do this if there is proof of the environment needing to be protected or if ORV's are a threat to public safety.
The ordinance will go into effect April 17.
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