Beaver Dam To Gather More Details On Proposed ATV-UTV Ordinance

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Operations Committee Monday night directed city staff to collect more information on a proposed ATV-UTV ordinance.  

A public involvement meeting was held last week on the draft ordinance that would allow all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles to be driven on certain city streets.  

Operations Committee Chair Zack Zopp discussed the large turnout of ATV-UTV enthusiasts at last week’s listening session, who had overwhelming support for the ordinance and, by-and-large, indicated that all city streets be opened up. He canvassed his district door-to-door over the past week, hanging 75 door hangers seeking feedback. Zopp says he received 30 responses: 14 constituents were against ATVs, 14 supported the ordinance with no changes, and two supported the ordinance but wanted all streets opened up. 

A mid-debate motion to table the ordinance until the state Department of Transportation establishes clear guidelines failed on a two-to-five vote.  

City Administrator Nathan Thiel emphasized the importance of collecting more information. He noted comments from the public last week about Stevens Point opening all streets to ATVs and the similarly sized Fort Atkinson doing the same, except the campus. Thiel clarified for the record that Stevens Point has dedicated ATV routes while Fort Atkinson has half the population of Beaver Dam when school is not in session.   

Ultimately, Thiel was asked to invite the police chief and a DNR warden to the committee meeting to field questions and also explore more in-depth what regional communities have on the books. If given the green light in committee, the ordinance would go to the council floor where there would be a public hearing before the vote. 

The proposed ordinance excludes major thoroughfares including North Center and North Spring streets along with Park Avenue, Front Street, Madison Street, Industrial Drive and Gateway Drive. It also restricts usage on public property and in city-owned parks, limits noise and bans cruising. ATVs would be prohibited from operating between the hours of 11pm and 6am. Riders would have to be at least 16 years old, licensed, registered and insured, and would have to be restrained by a seatbelt or similar system, while those under age 18 would need a helmet.

Headlights and taillights would have to be on at all times. Tire chains or studded tires would not be allowed. Golf carts or dune buggies would not be allowed. The Beaver Dam Police Department would be responsible for enforcement along with any other law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the city including the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Natural Resources.  

Click HERE to read the draft ordinance.