Wrightstown police chief given more direction on ATV/UTV ordinance

Brian Roebke photo
Wrightstown Police Chief Greg Deike, who is crafting an ordinance to allow ATV/UTV use in the Village of Wrightstown, received general thoughts on the ordinance from the village board at last week’s meeting. Their use is currently prohibited.

By Brian Roebke
Wrightstown Police Chief Greg Deike received additional direction from the village board last week about crafting the village’s ATV/UTV ordinance.
After a meeting earlier this year when advocates for ATVs and UTVs spoke, Deike has been researching ordinances from other places and was looking for more direction from the board. Those vehicles are currently prohibited from being driven inside the village.
Most of the interest was from people who are not village residents, but there was clear direction from the board village residents also wanted the option.
Deike said the bridge being a state highway complicates the situation, finding statutes that both prohibit and allow using the vehicles on state highways.
The City of Brillion included golf cars and “neighborhood electric vehicles” in its ordinance.
He noted Outagamie County has some of the strictest rules in the state, and he’s using that as his base.
“Unless you have any suggestions for me as to how you want me to proceed, I’m open to suggestions,” he said.
Several trustees expressed concern about their use in the village.
Village President Dean Erickson asked if there would be constant “racing down streets” but Deike said it depended on what the board decided, but Brillion doesn’t have a lot of issues.
Most of their drivers are in their 50s and 60s, not 18-30 as one might suspect.
New London had a lot of use initially after they recently passed their ordinance, but that use decreased over time.
Deike noted the Town of Wrightstown enacted an ordinance, but with the two areas of the town divided by the village, there’s a wall that is prohibiting them from going from Point A to Point B.
He noted drivers would still need to register the vehicle with the village if they would drive through.
“Those are recommendations these other villages have,” he said.
Trustee Sue Byers said, “There aren’t any trails here, why am I the only one who doesn’t think this is a good idea.”
She noted the back of all ATVs have a sticker saying they should “never be used” on public roads.
Deike said that was the manufacturer’s recommendation. “It’s the same as don’t eat the Tide pods,” Fire Chief Mike Schampers chipped in.
She didn’t like the potential of having parents walking strollers down the streets and having to deal with people wanting to drive ATVs instead of driving their car or truck to get to a neighbor’s barbecue.
“I can see where someone wants access to the bridge, I get that,” she said. “But according to Brown County if you have access to the bridge you need to take the first right or first left once you exit the bridge. You can’t just meander through the village because it’s fun.”
Trustee Mark Leonard noted there were ATVs running in his neighborhood. “If they’re not conforming to the rules that are set now, which is none, how are we going to stop them while also allowing others while they deviate from the rules they’re supposed to be kept,” he said.
He noted there are ATV tracks on the Fox River Trail through Greenleaf despite them being prohibited there.
Deike said New London has a prohibition on cruising randomly on village streets with no intention of going straight from Point A to Point B, and he was open to suggestions on other prohibitions in the Wrightstown ordinance.
Deike reiterated he will do whatever the village board wants and will continue to work on the ordinance.
The village could always revise or remove the ordinance at some point in the future if there are problems.
In her report Clerk-Treasurer Michelle Seidl said the preliminary assessments for Brown and Outagamie counties are in, with the real estate and personal property in the Brown portion of the village increasing, with real estate in the Outagamie portion increasing but personal property decreasing.
Brown County real estate increased from $209 million to $216 million, while personal property increased from $1.1 million to $1.2 million.
Outagamie real estate increased from $49 million to nearly $64 million but personal property went down from $213,400 to $187,200.
Manufacturing values are not included.
“All in all, we had a good year,” she said.
The board approved UW-Whitewater student Drake Recob as a seasonal laborer, one of six applicants.
Also approved was a summer neighborhood picnic at Shamrock Park on June 19.
Trustees also approved developer’s agreements with Alliance Plastics, MM Cold Storage, and River Valley Industries.