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Constable board shuts roads to ATVs citing safety, liability

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CONSTABLE — The Town Council voted unanimously last week to close town roads to all-terrain vehicles.

The vote followed a public hearing during which only two people commented.

One of them was Dickinson resident Farrin White, who spoke at length about why he thinks the town should keep the roads open.

“We’re going backwards,” he said, later adding he believes ATV access would benefit local youths, especially in light of what he sees as dwindling interest in activities such as sports programs.

“The children are getting left out,” Mr. White said. “If you get rid of the ATVs and the baseball and basketball and all the other sports, where are those kids going to go?”

Councilman Clyde Wilson rebutted by noting most of those riding ATVs on the town roads are young and inexperienced.

“Around here it’s kids, and they’re young kids,” he said. “These machines are much too fast and they’re not designed to be operated on a highway.”

Mr. Wilson added the town’s liability is too high on roads open to ATVs.

“We could all wind up in court,” he said.

The Town Council opened the roads to all-terrain vehicles in 2002.

That year, a club whose goal was to create a countywide interconnected trail network approached various town boards asking them to allow ATVs on town roads.

“I personally feel, because I was a board member at that time, that we jumped the gun,” said Supervisor Michael Shea. “We’re the only town” in Franklin County that designated its roads for ATV use, “and there’s no interconnecting trails — we’re isolated.”

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