Webster Co. sups approve ATV ordinance

The Webster County Board of Supervisors approved an all-terrain and off-road vehicle ordinance for the county during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The ordinance, which will allow for ATVs and OHVs to be responsibly used on granular surface roads throughout the county was passed 5-0.

Supervisor Mark Campbell said part of the responsible usage of the vehicles on Webster County’s roads would be that they are licensed and insured.

“We are looking at license plates for the vehicles,” said Campbell. “If they are to be used on granular surface roads they would have to be licensed and insured. It is a way to identify non-nuisance riders.”

The proposed ordinance was met with some opposition from Webster County residents.

John Anderson, a rural Webster County resident, expressed his concerns that the vehicles would not just stay on the granular roads, but would also operate in fields and ditches.

“I feel the ordinance is ill advised,” said Anderson. “They are hard to see, they won’t stay on the roadways and that may increase your liability if they are running in ditches.”

Anderson is also concerned that the vehicles could damage gravel roads and exceed the speed limit for gravel surfaces.

“There is also a risk of injury with a lack of shoulder and maybe a possible increase in vandalism or burglaries because they are hard to locate,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he believes there is not enough law enforcement personnel within the county to be able to keep up with any future ATV complaints once they are permitted on roadways.

“We don’t have the personnel in Webster County to be dealing with that kind of equipment,” he said.

Fort Dodge resident Larry Osterhout also said he believes it could become an issue for a law enforcement patrol.

“We just don’t have the law enforcement available here to handle it all,” said Osterhout.

Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs said he does not believe the new ordinance would bring an influx of illegal riding activity to the county.

“I don’t think we will see an influx of illegal activity,” said Stubbs. “The ones we see now we will always have. I think the ordinance could be adopted for a period of time to see how it goes.”

Riders using the Gypsum City OHV park would not be required to be licensed, but would be confined to the park and unable to operate on granular surface roads.

The ordinance was approved pending the addition of language that addresses licensing and the time limit a vehicle would be allowed to operate on paved surfaces.