Golf carts, ATVs approved for Valley Falls city streets
by Clarke Davis
An ordinance allowing nonregistered vehicles on city streets was passed by the Valley Falls City Council Oct. 19, but a number of restrictions apply.
Golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, and various utility carts will be allowed on the streets during daylight hours so long as operators obey all traffic laws.
These vehicles must be driven by someone with a state-issued permit or license and they must have liability insurance. The vote was 4-1 with Todd Harrington opposed.
An ordinance with fewer restrictions and a city-issued permit for minors was discussed during recent meetings, but all were shelved when it came to writing something into law that had to be enforced.
A dispute between neighbors spilled into city hall. Kurt Oborn, a city resident for about 18 months, approached the council first about debris, unmowed yards, and the parking of vehicles on front lawns.
“What can be done to keep the town clean?” he asked.
Mayor Charles Stutesman told him it was diffcult to enforce unless it was a case of garbage, and then the health codes could be enforced with a letter of complaint.
The mayor said he was a “property rights person” and that most of these cases are a matter of perception — one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
Councilwoman Lucy Thomas said she had been trying to clean up the town for 30 years. “And I’m still at it,” she said.
The mayor told Oborn that the city would work on specific complaints that he could file in writing. A phone call to city hall does not constitute a complaint.
Later in the meeting Oborn’s neighbor Ben Branstetter appeared to inform the council that Oborn’s constant complaining bordered on harassment.
“I don’t like it and I want it to stop,” he said.
Branstetter said he had a messy yard and some weeds in the garden. The mess amounted to a few barbecue grills, a lawnmower, kids’ bicyles, etc.
“I’ll take care of the weeds,” he said, “but I want to be left alone to live in peace.”
The mayor and council sat by as Branstetter and Oborn sparred verbally for awhile. Oborn asked if he would stop parking in the yard to which Branstetter said he would not.
He told Oborn that if he had any more problems to talk to him personally, that he was tired of the police always knocking on the door.
Police Chief Josh Pence said after the meeting that he has only been to the Branstetter home once that he could recall on a noise complaint.
An executive session was held for the purpose of police evaluation with former Police Chief Gordon Bledsoe present. A part-time officer, Derek Charles, submitted his resignation.
A land acquisition question was also put before the council in executive session. The council was apprised of a land auction that is coming up, but the council showed no interest.
The city has advertised for another full-time police officer. Pence has received four applications from certified officers who will be interviewed by the police committee.
The council has approved two cereal malt beverage licenses recently. One for Matt Frakes at The Old Elevator and a renewal for the Petro convenience store.
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