Pateros considers ATV use

— The City Council will consider an ordinance during its meeting next month that could open city streets, alleys and parking areas to all-terrain vehicle use.

A public hearing and vote on a proposed ordinance were scheduled for the Nov. 18 meeting, but the draft wasn’t ready, Clerk/Treasurer Kerri Wilson said. The hearing and vote have been rescheduled to the Dec. 16 meeting, which will be at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 113 Lakeshore Drive.

If approved, people will be able to ride their ATVs and snowmobiles within designated areas, according to the proposal.

The draft states, “It is lawful to operate an (off-road vehicle) or snowmobile upon roads, city streets, city alleys, ORV trails, non-highway roads and in parking areas that have been designated,” as long as the rider complies with state and local laws and stays out of the parks and off sidewalks.

The ordinance sets a maximum speed limit of 20 mph and requires a headlight and taillight between dawn and dusk, as well as a state-approved spark arrester and muffler.

The municipal code already allows snowmobiles, which have the added requirement of a four-foot tall flag attached to the rear of the vehicle.

According to the proposal, the city can fine a rider up to $250 per code violation.

A map of acceptable riding locations is available at City Hall.

Okanogan, Tonasket and Conconully also allow ATV use within city limits, and Okanogan County opened hundreds of roads in July, which has been challenged with a lawsuit filed in the county Superior Court by the Methow Valley Citizens Council and Conservation Northwest.

In other city business, the council:

• Raised the speed limit on U.S. Highway 97 on the north and south ends of the city limits to 50 mph, to go into effect Dec. 18. The speed limit will remain 45 mph from mileposts 253.32 to 254.16.

• Passed the 2014 budget of a slightly more than $1 million.

• Approved 1 percent increases in property tax revenue and tax collection for emergency medical services, a total of $121,075 and $21,076, respectively.

• Approved an ordinance declaring Pateros to be a Tree City USA.

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