City Commission approves UTV ordinance

After much discussion and research by the Fort Scott City Commission and police chief Travis Shelton, the commission voted unanimously Monday evening to allow Utility Task Vehicle’s on city streets.

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During past meetings, local UTV owners spoke in support of allowing those vehicles on city streets, pointing out that golf carts had been allowed on streets with no issue. UTVs are usually larger, heavier and more capable of higher speeds than golf carts.

The commission had asked Shelton to create an ordinance that would specify what UTVs would need in order to be considered street legal. Shelton presented that ordinance during their meeting Monday evening, which will now come into effect January 1.

Though capable of high speeds, the ordinance demands that UTVs not drive on certain streets or at speeds higher than 35 mph. They will also be required to have at least two side or rear-view mirrors, turning signals, reflectors, a muffler and seat belts. Some of those features do not come with a purchased UTV, but can be bought separately as a kit.

UTV owners will be required to register their vehicle with the police department and have their title registered at the county courthouse. Those without a title will not be allowed to register or legally drive on the roads.

Another issue previously raised involved the UTV tires, which often use softer materials than most cars use. But after consulting with owners and researching the issue, Shelton said they decided not to require UTV drivers to purchase separate tires since there is not enough data to show the tires would do any harm to the roadways or affect the drivers’ safety.

The commissioners gave their approval while asking Shelton to bring a report back after six months to see if there are many violations, accidents or road problems as a result.

Other topics discussed or approved included:

  • The commission approved working with the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team to create a strategy on how to improve health in Fort Scott and the county.
  • A $43,000 bid for the repainting and resurfacing of the aquatic center was accepted.
  • Funds from the Buck Run Community Center reserve will be used to replace their current surveillance system, which is about 15 years old.
  • Fines for not keeping property up to code for will now be a minimum of $300 instead of the previous $50, which will include the city mowing the yard and clearing branches if needed, and also covers administrative fees.
  • Homeowners in violation of the property maintenance ordinance will now be given six months to complete the needed improvements before their structure is condemned.

 

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