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Town to look at snowmobile ordinance

Susan Cunningham

Snowmobiles could be allowed on the streets of Oak Creek after tonight’s Town Board meeting.

The Oak Creek Town Board will consider an ordinance drafted by Oak Creek Police Chief Tim Willert that would allow people to ride snowmobiles on town streets.

The town has never had such an ordinance as far as Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said she could remember. Rather, the model traffic code the town adopted prohibits snowmobile use on town streets, but gives towns leeway to permit the machines.

The proposed ordinance was modeled after one adopted by the town of Frisco, Willert said. It allows snowmobiles on town streets, but with various restrictions.

For instance, the snowmobile operator must be 16 years old or must be older than 10 and supervised by a person at least 14 years old who holds a snowmobile safety certificate. The machines must be kept to speeds of 12 mph or less, and they can be used only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The proposed ordinance also states that snowmobiles must travel in a single file line in the same direction as vehicular traffic and must obey all traffic laws and signs posted for other vehicles. Snowmobile travel must take place in a direct route from a point within town to a destination outside of town.

Another important feature of the ordinance is that snowmobile users must take all necessary safety precautions and must wear an approved safety helmet while operating the machine in town.

If town trustees decide to pass the ordinance, it would be possible for police to monitor and control the situation, Willert said.

“Right now, as it stands, anybody and everybody gets on them, and we have to stop everyone,” Willert said.

The ordinance, he said, would make it easier to monitor use and keep complaints to a minimum.

Last winter, Willert said he had more than a dozen complaints about snowmobile use in town. Most of those complaints were about juvenile riders who were racing down streets and riding long after dark, he said.

In other business, the board will discuss issues concerning the nuisance ordinance, the designation of town-owned property as park land and the purchase of water rights.

The Oak Creek Board of Trustees meets at 7 p.m. today at Town Hall in downtown Oak Creek.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com


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