Silt to allow off-highway vehicles on town’s streets
Town hopes ordinance, which has not taken effect yet, will fuel local economy
Following two unanimous votes, Silt’s Board of Trustees has given the green light to off-highway vehicles on its town’s streets.
“An off-highway vehicle would include your four wheelers, so an ATV, dirt bikes and side-by-sides,” Mayor Keith Richel said. “We did not include golf carts just because of the lower speeds that they travel at. We did not feel that they would be safe on the roads with an automobile.”
According to Town Administrator Jeff Layman, the ordinance would likely not take effect until the end of November or early December following the completion of required publication notices. Additionally, those wishing to ride their off-highway vehicles on the town’s streets must register their four wheeler, dirt bike or side-by-side with the town.
Layman said the town was not looking to make money off of the registration fee but was simply trying to cover administrative costs. Although not yet set, Layman believed the annual registration fee would amount to $20-$25. Drivers will then receive a registration sticker to put on their off-highway vehicle as well as a flyer with the rules and regulations concerning its usage on the town’s streets.
“They have to follow all of the Colorado motor vehicle laws,” Richel said. “You have to be a licensed driver. Your [off-highway vehicle] has to be registered with Colorado State Parks and we are also going to do a registration program within the town of Silt. And, you have to carry liability insurance just like a vehicle.”
The town, which held a public outreach meeting and conducted an online survey heard predominantly positive feedback concerning the ordinance.
“We all really wanted to think outside of the box when it came to smart ways to further economic development,” Mayor Pro-Tem Kyle Knott said. “We were thinking what are some unique ways to connect our downtown area to the south side.”
One of the ordinance’s supporters included local restaurant owner Christian Harra. Harra, who owns Miner’s Claim restaurant in Silt, believed the allowance of off-highway vehicles on the town’s streets would drive more tourists to area businesses, particularly with the nearby Colorado River KOA campground.
“It’s a win-win,” Harra said. “I want them to come and spend money at the grocery store or grab coffee after dinner. That’s my goal, is to get people over here, not just for Miner’s Claim, but for the benefit of the town.”
Off-highway vehicles cannot access U.S. Highway 6, which a majority of Silt’s businesses reside along. However, the town will petition CDOT in the coming months to see if they will allow them on the town’s thoroughfare.
“The state just passed an ordinance where you can have them review state highways on a case-by-case basis to get it allowed there also,” Richel said. “This is just a small piece of the pie. Off-highway vehicles are allowed north of the interstate on town roads. We are going to have to work with CDOT and Garfield County to try and get access to the south side of (Interstate) 70.”
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