September 15, 2014

Officials say ordinance is problem-free…summer withstanding

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — Since it became active six months ago, the Arenac County ORV (off-road vehicle) ordinance, according to county road and law enforcement officials, hasn’t created a problematic situation…yet.

According to Arenac County Sheriff James Mosciski, there haven’t been any injuries, citations or accidents reported in the first six months; but he says the approaching summer will play a bigger role in determining if there will be any law enforcement issues with the ordinance.

“I, personally, don’t think it (ORV ordinance) will be a problem,” Mosciski said. “But with this being the first summer, it’s hard to say.”

He added an influx of Southerners traveling to Arenac County this summer, possibly with ORVs in-tow, might affect that perception.

Lewis Ostrander, Arenac County Road Commissioner, says the road commission hasn’t experienced any problems to this point, as far as road conditions are concerned.

“To the best of my knowledge there hasn’t been any problems,” Ostrander said. “The road I live on, there’s a few people who drive their ORVs, but I haven’t seen a lot elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, when summer comes, if more people are using them, especially with people traveling north from down South. There definitely could be [problems]. We’ll have to wait and see. Arenac County has never experienced this before.”

According to both Mosciski and Ostrander, no townships have opted out of the ordinance, which is allowed per ordinance language. Some township board members told county commissioners they would opt out of it while the Arenac County Board of Commissioners was considering passage of the ordinance last year.

“It (opting out) could happen in the summer, if things get wild,” Mosciski said, adding the road commission also has the ability to shut down roads if they feel the ordinance is detrimental to safety and/or if road conditions aren’t capable of handling ORV traffic on top of normal traffic.

“There’s a couple (townships) that have expressed interest, but nothing yet,” Ostrander said. “[The road commission] hasn’t decided on anything.”

Mosciski added there currently aren’t any ORV trails in Arenac County or immediate plans to install any, although, there are trails available in surrounding counties (Ogemaw, Gladwin and northern-Bay county).

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