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May 22, 2018

5/15/2018 7:26:00 AM
Hazelhurst amends its ATV ordinance
Cushing: 'A lot of things have happened in the county regarding ATVs'

Brian Jopek

The Hazelhurst Town Board amended the town's ordinance last week for all terrain vehicles and utility vehicles.

Town chairman Ted Cushing said when the town's ATV/UTV ordinance was approved in 2016, if someone wanted to open a road for ATV/UTV use, they'd have to get a petition signed by 66 percent of the property owners along that road who would agree to it.

"That was rather untenable," he said. "Of course, since that ordinance went into effect, a lot of things have happened in the county regarding ATVs."

Cushing cited as examples of those changes action by the Woodruff and Newbold town boards in the past year or so to open roads for ATV/UTV use.

"We opened County Highway Y and we opened Interlocken Road," he said. "Those folks (ATV/UTV club) went and got more than 70 percent of the signatures they needed."

Cushing said to keep in line with the rest of the towns, including Minocqua, the Hazelhurst Town Board decided "we thought we'd make it a little easier to get a road designated as an ATV/UTV route."

The percentage requirement part of the petition is no longer in the Hazelhurst ATV/UTV ordinance.

"Basically, the town would have to be petitioned and if there's three or four signatures on that petition, we would consider opening a road," Cushing said. "We would have a public hearing, people would be notified who live on that road."

If a road was ultimately approved, he said the ATV/UTV club would pay for whatever signage is needed and the town would install those signs.

As is the case with most AVT/UTV ordinances for towns and cities in the area, the Hazelhurst ATV/UTV ordinance is subject to renewal each year.

"The town has the right to shut it (a route) down if there's problems," Cushing said. "I can tell you we've had no issues on Interlocken, we've had none on County Hwy. Y and we've had ATV/UTV use in the Leisure Shores area off of (Hwy.) Y and they've been able to ride for 20 years without incident or issue."

He said there was a question asked at last week's meeting, a question that's been asked by ATV/UTV club members and enthusiasts at different times at different town board meetings over the course of the past couple years.

"That was 'Why can't we just open all the roads at once?'" Cushing said. "We said 'We'd like to do a road at a time.' Especially when you consider this east side of the highway (U.S. Highway 51) and the only place anybody could ride right now because nobody else over there has."

He mentioned Lake Tomahawk as being one of the towns that hasn't approved that use to this point.

Last week, the Lake Tomahawk Town Board moved a little closer to doing so when it accepted the results of a survey of residents indicating they have no problem with a stretch of town owned property that will provide a link to trails.

Cushing said there were maybe as many as 15 or 20 people at the Hazelhurst Town Board meeting last week.

"There wasn't one person against the ordinance amendment," he said. "This was not noticed as a public hearing because we're not at that point yet but I can't see anyone having an issue."

Cushing said the road the town really needs to get open as a route is Cedar Falls Road.

"All the way from Hwy. 51 so people can go to the gas station, if they wanted to," he said. "All the way out to trails that are wide open in the towns of Little Rice and Lynn."

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at bjopek@lakelandtimes.com.

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