ATVs approved in village

Belgium is the latest on list of local municipalities to allow the vehicles
Ozaukee Press staff

All-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles will be allowed on Village of Belgium streets after the local club installs signs.

The Village Board on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance allowing the vehicles based on the Town of Belgium’s ordinance, but with a few tweaks from Village Attorney Gerry Antoine.

Trustee Don Gotcher wanted to instead put the issue on a referendum in spring, like the Town of Sherman recently did.

“I don’t think we should speak for the entire village,” he said. “I think we should put this on a referendum in April and let the people of the village decide if they want this ordinance or not.”

Village President Pete Anzia cited a one-hour long Nov. 1 public information session that was sparsely attended, “so evidently not many people are concerned.”

Gotcher asked if the village could impose an age restriction on riders, such as 18. Antoine said only one community he saw included that stipulation.

The ordinance says the vehicles may run from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Trustee Rose Sauers asked why they are allowed so early in the morning.

Brenda Peiffer, wife of club president Kevin, said that is for hunters or for people who want to go to church, work or out for breakfast. Those times, she said, are the same ones the Town of Belgium included when it approved the ordinance in early fall.

She said it’s easier on law enforcement and riders if the rules are the same in each community.

The club approached the village months ago, as it has done with several area municipalities.

The issue was discussed at the Sept. 21 Public Works Committee and the October Village Board meeting before last week’s public information meeting.

The village already sees a number of golf carts and similar vehicles on roads during its annual rummage sale in May, Public Works Director Dan Birenbaum said at the Public Works Committee meeting.

“If they’re already driving their ATVs in the village, why do we need an ordinance?” Trustee Sarah Heisler asked.

Hubing said those riders could be ticketed since the vehicles aren’t allowed.

“The village shouldn’t be supporting illegal use of any activity like a golf cart or anything,” Brenda Peiffer said.

Since the rummage sale is the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrians and bicyclists, Hubing said, “I would want to be on an ATV. I guarantee it is safer to drive an ATV on that day than your vehicle.”

Kevin Peiffer said some of club’s members live in the village and would like to be able to drive their ATVs and UTVs out of their subdivisions.

“There are lot of people you represent in the village who want to utilize this,” he said.

Hubing said, however, Belgium would not see an influx of riders.

“Everybody thinks this is going to be a magnet for people coming from Milwaukee and all over. It isn’t,” he said.

Heisler asked how operators would know the rules.

Hubing said it is operators’ responsibility to know the ordinance and suggests they call the municipality before riding through it.

Signs will be put at the entrances to the village notifying people that the vehicles are allowed on the streets, Hubing said. Vehicles are allowed on roads with 35 mph speed limits or less.

The Town of Belgium spent more than a year of debating the issue, sometimes heatedly, that included a Plan Commission meeting in Community Park that drew about 80 people, before deciding to allow the vehicles.

Municipalities may repeal the ordinance as they see fit.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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