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May 25, 2018

5/15/2018 7:25:00 AM
Lake Tomahawk Town Board gives support to ATV project
Majority of surveyed voters back using public land as a trailhead and parking lot

Evan J. Pretzer
Lakeland Times reporter

The Lake Tomahawk ATV/UTV Club made progress during the Lake Tomahawk Town Board's meeting last week when officials backed the results of a key public survey.

In March, the board approved a request from the club to mail questionnaires to all voters and property owners in the community which asked whether they would be fine with opening up a stretch of road from Rainbow Road to just north of County Route D along with a parking area for all-terrain and utility vehicles and truck/trailer and motor home enthusiasts.

According to the club, the intent of opening the area for access is to allow people to be able to reach the New-Tom Sno Fleas trail for three seasons of the year. Although the state is still working on trail policy, town chairman George DeMet previously stated the survey results would be the biggest challenge for the club to overcome.

"The only hurdle to clear is whether or not the people of the town who paid for the railroad right-of-way (where the club is seeking access) are willing to allow it to be used as a trailhead," he said in March.

Since then, the town has weighed in.

Out of more than 1200 forms sent to town residents, 876 recipients voted for allowing the club to access the land, 332 voted against the idea and the remaining ballots were void, meaning 73 percent of Lake Tomahawk residents who voted are willing to allow greater ATV/UTV access in town. Upon stating this information, DeMet clarified there were a number of additional steps to be taken before the land could be used and called for the board to approve the initial survey results contingent on future developments from the state.

"At this point the town backs the club as far as usage of the parking area," DeMet said. "Nothing is going to happen this year, it will be 2019 at the earliest. Before the trails are developed, we'll need to move ahead with the process to adopt an ordinance and come up with a plan. For now, it would probably be important for us if we're going to take some sort of action to affirm and accept the results of the survey."

The board accepted the results unanimously. Now, an ordinance on the issue will be developed by the town.

Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at evan@lakelandtimes.com.

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