Town bans modified tractors on streets

New Windsor also adds motorized scooters to list

January 09, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Some tinkering with the wording on a proposed ban on motorized scooters and modified lawn tractors from New Windsor's streets and alleys apparently led to easy approval by the Town Council.

The ordinance was approved unanimously by the council Wednesday night. It increases penalties and adds modified lawn tractors and scooters to the list of vehicles banned from the street, which includes snowmobiles, minibikes and trail bikes.

When the ordinance was proposed in November, officials said that some tractors have been modified so much that they are effectively recreational vehicles.

A handful of opponents said then that the alleged problem was a minor one. Some residents worried that they might be fined for driving a lawn tractor a short distance down the road to mow their relatives' lawn.

After that meeting in November, town attorney Michelle M. Ostrander said a paragraph was added to the proposed ordinance to make it clear that the ban was not intended "to restrict the movement of lawn and garden tractors or lawn mowers from one location to another for the purpose of lawn maintenance, snow removal or operations normally performed with this type of vehicle."

At the public hearing on the ordinance before the council vote, Frazier Hollenbeck was the only resident to question how the new law would be enforced.

Later, Hollenbeck said he had seen several young men on lawn tractors near his home on Church Street during the summer, sometimes "dragging kids in a wagon behind them." He said they would drive the wrong way on one-way Union Bridge Road, where visibility can be a problem for drivers turning off Church Street.

The ordinance also increases fines for violators from $50 to $150 for a first offense, and from $150 to $500 for a subsequent offense.

The council approved the ban without discussion.

During committee reports at the council meeting, Councilman Edwin W. Palsgrove said there had been an increase in water use during the past month, "up to 50,000 gallons a day over where we should be."

This is unusual for the time of year, and probably signals a leak somewhere in the system, he said.

"If anybody sees any water anywhere - in storm drains or coming up in a yard somewhere - let someone at the town know," he said.

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