HIGHGATE — The Highgate selectboard is one step closer to passing an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ordinance to help local law enforcement crack down on illegal usage.
The board met with representatives from the Vermont State Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Vermont ATV Sportsman’s Association (VASA), and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Thursday night to discuss whether to pass an ordinance banning all ATV use or one permitting use on certain secondary roads in the town.
“We feel that at this point, it’s our job to put an ordinance in place so that it can be enforced,” said Sharon Bousquet, chair of the selectboard.
She said Town Constable Ben Lowell drafted an ordinance banning all ATV use in Highgate. She said the board discussed whether or not to amend the draft to allow riding on specific secondary roads and access to a fuel station.
Joshua LaRocque, vice chair of the road, said he does not think completely restricting ATV use will work. He recommended working with VASA to develop a trail system in the town.
“We’re not going to open up all dirt roads, just certain roads that make sense,” he said, “[and] a path to a fuel station so they can get gas.” LaRocque said the people who ride outside these specific areas would be fined by local law enforcement.
“We’re looking to see, does that provide you a little more grounds for fines, towings, arrests, pursuit, whatever we can do to get our problem under control?” Bousquet asked the law enforcement in the room. “We’re getting constant resident complaints… [We] definitely have a problem and a lot of it’s happening on the state road. [Route] 78 down here is the flippin’ highway of ATVs.”
For more on the discussion of ATVs in Highgate, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger, or subscribe to our digital edition.