By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Recreational vehicles could be permitted in a small portion of Whitewater, based on a proposal that is still in its infancy.

Council member Greg Majkrzak has asked for consideration of an ordinance that would allow ATVs and UTVs in the sliver of Whitewater’s city limits that falls within Jefferson County. The area differs from the bulk of Whitewater’s more urbanized incorporated borders within Walworth County.

Majkrzak, who discussed the proposal at a Common Council meeting Oct. 5, said he asked to have a discussion of ATVs and UTVs placed on the agenda based, in part, on comments he received from constituents within his aldermanic district.

During the open-ended discussion, a majority of the council loosely gave its support to a next step in the process, which would entail the creation of an ordinance.

A growing number of municipalities and counties have been putting in place ordinances on the dos and don’ts of riding ATVs, UTVs and other recreational vehicles, which have been increasing in popularity.

During the council meeting, resident Neil Hicks weighed in on the proposal and implored officials to adopt an ordinance. Hicks, who owns a recreational vehicle, said it is another means of transportation.

Speaking to the Jefferson County-only provision, Hicks said, “The way it’s written, I think it’s perfect. I like exactly how it’s written.”

Whitewater’s would-be municipal ordinance could be tied to similar documentation the Jefferson County Board enacted. On a one-year trial basis, Jefferson County is permitting ATVs and UTVs on all roadways under its jurisdiction.

Prior to the council’s recent discussion, an online survey was sent out to the community via POLCO, which helped guide the Jefferson County-only proposal.

Speaking to the ask of permitting recreational vehicles in more urbanized areas of Whitewater – including the core downtown corridor – Majkrzak said, “There wasn’t a strong interest in going in that direction.”

Council member Jim Allen said he believed testing the waters in a small area of Whitewater was a wise course of action.

“I think it’s brilliant,” Allen said. “I think baby steps is good.”

Police Chief Aaron Raap said he also was supportive of the proposal, though he indicated he would have objections if the permitted areas were extended to other areas of the city.

“The reason I would support this is it’s a very limited area,” Raap said. “This particular area, with a very limited use, I’m in support of.”

Council member Lisa Dawsey Smith, however, had reservations. She said she would need additional information – including traffic counts – before backing the proposal.

“I’m not sold,” Dawsey Smith said.

A draft ordinance could be presented to the council at an upcoming meeting.

 

 
 

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