SIDNEY — The issue of non-traditional vehicles (NTVs) on Sidney roadways was discussed during Sidney City Council’s virtual workshop session Monday.
Randy Rose, chairman of the Non-Traditional Vehicle Use Ad Hoc Committee, presented the committee’s recommendation on the use of NTVs on city streets.
Currently, low speed, non-traditional vehicles are not permitted to operate on Sidney city streets. Violators will be cited by Sidney Police as of May 1, which was when the warning period ended.
The Ad Hoc Committee reviewed and reworked tabled ordinance A-3020 that Police Chief Will Balling first presented to City Council in July 2020.
Rose told council after the committee’s Thursday meeting he conducted additional research about whether children should be recommended to be in car/booster seats or a seat belt. In accordance with the previous ordinance, the committee had determined Thursday to not change the child seat requirement in NTVs. At Monday’s meeting, Rose said he and three other of the seven committee members spoke before the city council meeting and decided to “back off” on the child seat requirement.
Rose said information he found from the Center of Injury Research and Policy and the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed it to be more dangerous for children in car/booster seats in NTVs than a seat belt.
He emphasized the committee’s “No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 priority is safety, safety, safety.” Rose further noted a second point of tension is the issue of whether NTVs should be required to have license plates. He contacted an additional number of cities since Thursday about their policies, and found overall many did not require plates, while others did.
Also, he reported after hearing back from Sidney Alive, the recommendation to keep the map Balling outlined prohibiting NTVs in certain areas downtown, as it is unknown how NTVs could affect events downtown. Council member Jenny VanMatre clarified, saying Sidney Alive’s Executive Director Amy Breinich asked to keep the map as outlined by Balling for one year so they can see how it goes with the golf carts and then perhaps re-evaluate it after one year.
The committee also recommended for council to amend the map presented with the tabled ordinance to include a very small residential area of three houses on part of Russell Road. Balling noted he did not recommend making the change.
Rose also asked, once again, for golf cart owners to have more time to get their carts street legal with requirements. He noted council did not officially vote on his moratorium request at the last regular council meeting. Mayor Mike Barhorst informed Rose they did not vote on the issue because the item remained tabled and they had to follow council’s procedures.
After his presentation was complete, council members thanked Rose for his hard work on the issue.
Once council began discussing the recommendations and timing for it to potentially pass, City Clerk Kari Egbert shared she learned the tabled ordinance could not be removed from the table. Egbert looked into how council is to move forward after the ordinance was tabled indefinitely in March, and learned the ordinance died. City Council must now introduce a new ordinance on the matter.
This realization prompted Barhorst to ask Law Director Jeff Amick to draw up new legislation to present at council’s next regular meeting on May 10 to move the process along quickly. Amick recommended council members discuss the substantial issues presented and then direct him how to prepare the ordinance.
Amick and Balling were asked for input on the car seat recommendation. After discussing the dangers of little kids in NTVs, Balling recommended prohibiting kids under 8 years old or 49-inches in NTVs. Also, council members agreed NTVs should be required to have a license plate.
Amick was directed to include Balling’s recommendation on children riding in NTVs and on the requirement of license plates. An ordinance on NTVs will be presented for its first reading on May 10 for further consideration.
In other business, City Manager Mark Cundiff reviewed the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda for Monday, May 17, and the prospective City Council Agenda items for the next 30 days.
Also Monday, City Council held a special meeting immediately prior to the regular meeting to enter into an executive session to discuss employment of a public employee. No action was taken after members emerged from the meeting.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.