Petersburg may consider letting ATVs on Mitkof Island roads

  • Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:09pm
  • News

PETERSBURG (AP) — Voters in southern Alaska may find a question about whether to allow all-terrain vehicles on the roads of Mitkof island on this year’s ballot.

Local four-wheeler owner Richard Burke plans to collect signatures this spring for a vote to allow ATVs and snow machines on local streets, KFSK-FM reported Wednesday.

Burke said allowing four wheelers and side-by-sides — two- to six-person off-road vehicles — on Petersburg roads gives people an affordable transportation option. He also said that for residents who already own off-road vehicles, there aren’t many options.

“You spend $7,000 or more on a four wheeler and all you can do is illegally plow snow with it,” Burke said. “I’d like to be able to ride to the post office occasionally or to the grocery store. I’m a single guy. Most of the stuff I buy I can fit on my four wheeler.”

Petersburg currently does not allow ATVs, side-by-sides or snow machines on any streets. Police chief Kelly Swihart said his department doesn’t strongly enforce those rules, particularly in winter.

“It’s Southeast Alaska, we get a lot of snow at times and we don’t wanna hinder that. So as long as people are being responsible while they’re plowing, they’re not going to have a problem with us,” he said.

Swihart said he wants to remain neutral on the possible ballot question. Burke has drafted an ordinance based on municipal code from Thorne Bay on Prince of Wales Island. He plans to submit the ordinance to the borough for certification soon.

After the ordinance is certified, Burke will be able to start collecting signatures to get the issue on the regular election ballot in October.

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