Angel Fire Village Council considers off-highway vehicle ordinance

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Only one person spoke during a public hearing for a proposed ordinance that would allow use of recreational off-highway vehicles on Angel Fire village streets.

Speaking at the start of the regular village council meeting Tuesday (Sept. 26), local property manager Bubba Davis expressed his belief the village would lose business to Red River, which passed a similar ordinance last fall.

During council discussion, Angel Fire Police Chief Brad McCaslin noted the ordinance is "similar to golf cart and snowmobile ordinances already on the books."

Referencing abuses he already sees from snowmobilers who do not respect private property, including his own, Councilor Brinn Colenda said, "I'm going to be the bad guy here. I am absolutely against this."

Since this was first reading for the ordinance, however, Colenda and the rest of the council approved the first reading. A second public hearing will follow at the next council meeting, followed by a council vote up or down.

According to the proposed ordinance, a recreational off-highway vehicle is a "type of off-highway motor vehicle" defined as follows:

"A recreational off-highway vehicle is a motor vehicle designed for travel on four or more non-highway tires, for recreational use by one or more persons, and having:

"a steering wheel for steering control;

"non-straddle seating;

"maximum speed capability greater than thirty-five miles per hour;

"gross vehicle weight rating no greater than [1,750] pounds;

"less than [80] inches in overall width, exclusive of accessories;

"engine displacement of less than [1,000] cubic centimeters; and

"identification by means of a [17]-character vehicle identification number; or

"By rule of the Department of Game and Fish, any other vehicles that may enter the market that fit the general profile of vehicles operated off the highway for recreational purposes."

Also according to the proposed ordinance, their use would be limited to village streets provided the driver follows local and state traffic laws and:

"the vehicle has one or more headlights and one or more tail-lights that comply with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, Chapter 66, Article 3, NMSA 1978;

"the vehicle has brakes, mirror, and mufflers;

"the operator has a valid driver's license, or permits as required under the Motor Vehicle Code and off-highway safety permits as required under the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act;

"the operator is insured under the provisions of the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act (NM 66-5-2-5) and the operator must be able to show proof of the insurance or have proof of financial responsibility. The proof of insurance or proof of financial responsibility must have the vehicle identification number of the vehicle being operated clearly shown on said proof. A home owner's policy will not suffice under this ordinance; and

"all ROVs and ATVs must be registered under NM 66-3-1003. Registration can be obtained at the MVD office at Village Hall if you are a resident of NM;

"the operator of the vehicle is using eye protection that comply with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act; and

"a person under the age of [18] shall not operate an Off-Highway motor vehicle or ride upon an Off Highway motor vehicle without wearing eye protection and a safety helmet that is securely fastened in a normal manner as headgear and that meets the standards established by the department and comply with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act; Chapter 66, Article 3, NMSA 1978."

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Gary Ferguson

This option has been used with great success in Phoenix, at least parts of Phoenix but instead of OHV's they use Golf Carts, often electric Golf Carts. Far more efficient, compact and handy than full size, 4.000 lb Internal combustion giants. tons more parking options, uses less fuel, lower speeds for safety, cheaper vehicles for around town errands.

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