Letter: Townwide vote needed on Pownal ATV plan
To the Editor:
The decision regarding Pownal opening additional roads to ATV/UTV's needs to be a town-wide vote by ballot and can not be decided by just having an ordinance approved and adopted.
We all agree there needs to be public hearings on this issue. These public hearings will give the townspeople the chance to speak for or against it. After several hearings, the issue should then be put on the ballot asking if you want to open additional roads as designated ATV trails. If the vote is affirmative then that would be the point where an ordinance is developed by the Select Board using legal counsel assistance.
What will happen with the currant proposed ordinance being approved and adopted is an automatic outcome that additional roads will be designated as ATV trails whether you like it or not.
The process for an ordinance is the Select Board will vote to approve it. After that, there will be a formal public hearing and a 30-day comment period. Then the ordinance is adopted. If there are public comments, the board has the right and authority to review them, see if they are applicable, and make changes. If they do, the process starts all over again.
As far as I know, there is no mechanism in the process to have the ordinance taken off the table. What the ATV organization are betting on is that eventually the townspeople will get tired of having to attend public hearings and the board will have the right and authority to just make it law. Is this what you want?
I urge the residents of Pownal to engage in the discussion at Thursday night's ATV meeting. This is an informational meeting. Let's give them the information they need to hear. Your appearance will make a difference.
I would ask the Select Board to allow the question of whether additional roads should be opened to ATV/UTV's travel be included on the ballot, possibly along with the Town Office bond vote, and an ATV ordinance not be approved or adopted until such vote has occurred.
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