GENESEE COUNTY — Commissioner David Martin (R-9th District) held a press conference last week to remind local municipalities about the county board’s passage of an Off-Road Vehicle ordinance earlier this year.
Martin, of Davison, said the county board passed the ordinance during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis and he said he hopes communities will take advantage of the guidelines the ordinance sets for allowing ORV vehicles to operate on local roads.
“Our intention was to not to allow ORVs or golf carts on Miller Road going to Target,” said Martin. “What we’re trying to do is to allow the local units of government to allow ORVs on their roads, but they want to know how to govern it and control it and make the decision at a local level.”
The Genesee County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance in February which establishes guidelines by which local townships, cities and villages can create their own ORV ordinances allowing them to determine where ORVs can be driven on public roads.
“With the COVID crisis, pandemic, it has caused a lot of people to be home, caused a lot of people not to travel, to go to their vacation spots up north,” said Martin. “There seems to be an increase in ORV use in our local municipalities. So, we wanted to make sure the law was on the books and that it got publicly announced so local municipalities can start working on their own local ordinances.”
State law requires the county to create an ordinance so that the local municipalities can follow suit, if they so choose.
Police Chief Matt Grovensteen of the Otisville Police Department joined Martin at the press conference to talk about how his community has adopted such an ordinance.
“The law is going to allow our senior citizens to ride golf carts around town, they will be allowed to ride on our secondary roads and the only road we’ll actually be shutting down (to ORVs) is M-15,” said Grovensteen. “We won’t allow them to travel north or south on M-15 but will allow them to cross it at a couple of crossing spots.”
He said Otisville is going to make sure its citizens know they can ride them, but they’re going to have to have certain safety equipment the ordinance is going to require. They will also have to have slow moving signals for other vehicles.
“It’s going to make it so our people don’t have to worry about being stopped in their golf cart or their ATV and have it confiscated by the police,” said Grovensteen.
Martin said there were people in western Genesee County who live on the Shiawassee County line who were afraid to drive their ORV a mile or two to their friend’s house in Shiawassee County where there is an ORV ordinance in place.
He said there is the same potential with Lapeer County, who also has an ORV ordinance.
“There are more recreational opportunities you can do right here in Genesee County,” said Martin. “We want to make sure local units of government can control their residents and their needs.”
He said a list of closed roads and a map can be found at gc4me.com, search “ORV.”