Council considers non-traditional vehicles law

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY —Sidney City Council considered legislation on the use of non-traditional vehicles (NTVs) on city streets at its Monday evening meeting.

City Manager Mark Cundiff introduced the ordinance on the use of NTVs but referred any questions to Council members Ed Hamaker, Jenny VanMatre and Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan, who served on the committee formed to study the issue.

The following requirements to permit NTVs on city roadways in the ordinance presented included: two headlights, two rear taillights, adequate brakes, a muffler system, a state-issued license plate, a light to illuminate the license plate, at least one working brake light, a working horn, a windshield, a rear-view mirror, working turn signals, an emergency brake, and a seat belt for each occupant of the vehicle.

The legislation also contained the following additional provisions for NTVs on roadways:

• Permitted to operate only on roadways having a speed limit of 35 mph or less;

• Prohibited from operating on interstate highways, state highways or limited access highways;

• Not generally be permitted to operate on Campbell Road; Court Street; Fair Road; Fourth Avenue; the 900 block of North Main Avenue, southward; Michigan Street; North Street; Ohio Avenue; Riverside Drive; Russell Road, west of 402 E. Russell Road; St. Marys Avenue; Vandemark Road; and Wapakoneta Avenue.

• Permitted to legally cross any of the excluded roadways.

The ordinance stated operators must: have a valid driver’s license, comply with safety equipment rules, maintain proof of financial responsibility for vehicles, obey all traffic rules and regulations, and cannot transport a child younger than 8 years old and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The legislation also contained an exemption for the operation of use when the vehicle “is actively and directly being used and operated for a recognized governmental, commercial or industrial purpose,” Cundiff said.

Mayor Mike Barhorst questioned how the registration process would be handled and spoke about community grandparents’ concern about the age restriction in the legislation. Police Chief Will Balling said there would not be a fee for the registration/inspection of vehicles for local golf cart owners. Balling also reiterated Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Randy Rose’s sentiment of “safety, safety, safety” as the main concern.

Law Director Jeff Amick further added the age and height restrictions contained in the legislation mirrored the language found in the Ohio Revised Code for requiring child safety seats in motor vehicles.

Several members of the public spoke up during Barhorst’s call for public comments on the issue. Rose shared details of stories from conversations he recently had with community members. He requested council to revisit the age and height restrictions, as well as the license plate requirement. He also expressed concern with the timing of the enforcement of the provisions within the legislation and, again, as with past meetings, recommended a grace period of two months before beginning enforcement to give NTV owners time to update their vehicles.

VanMatre responded to Rose’s concerns about the height requirements. She said statics she researched prior to the meeting conflicted with the information Rose provided. Rose encouraged more research to be conducted to ensure accurate information. Barhorst said they would look into it.

Matthew Powers, of East Parkwood Street, thanked Balling for coming to inspect his utility vehicle. Powers asked if it would need to be re-inspected if it was already licensed by the state. Balling said no, that once it was licensed, it would not need to be re-inspected.

West Ruth Street resident Paul Bremke said he was told the Sidney Police Department (SPD) does not currently provide inspections. Balling said his officers would provide free inspections at individual homes in the coming weeks.

David Fleming, of Marilyn Drive, thanked NTV committee members and City Council for their work on the issue. He requested for the age limit to remain but the height limit be removed from the ordinance. Fleming was opposed to a registration fee, to which Balling said there would not be fee for the inspection/registration done by SPD.

Council member Steven Klingler shared a conversation he had with a community member who felt strongly NTVs should be licensed. Barhorst echoed Klinger with stories he heard from individuals he spoke with about the topic.

The ordinance will return for further deliberation at the May 24 meeting.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.