Derby Adjusts Ordinance To Officially Open All Roads To ATVs

Newport City Manager Laura Dolgin gives a thumbs up as she rides an ATV on the Causeway in Newport City past the chamber welcome center on May 15, the first day that roads were open to ATVs in Newport City. (File Photo)

DERBY — The Derby Select Board voted unanimously Monday evening to work around an existing ordinance and open all roads to all-terrain vehicles effective Tuesday, June 2.

The decision coincided with action by the Newport City Council to open Prouty Drive on the city side to ATVs right to the Derby town line — creating a link between the two neighboring communities for through ATV traffic via back roads like Darling Hill and Beebe Road. Both municipal boards voted to open access to ATVs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, a change from 8 a.m. in Newport City.

The effort by both municipalities is intended to benefit local businesses eager to benefit from the influx of ATV riders to this region.

And Derby and the local ATV club, Border Line Ridge Riders, have also asked the Vermont Agency of Transportation to approve use of state roads like Route 5, the commercial corridor that is the main link between Newport City and Derby.

The Derby Select Board followed Newport’s lead by signing a memorandum of understanding that addresses problems in the town’s existing ordinance that would otherwise limit ATV access to certain roadways.

The board’s MOU set the times that ATVs are allowed, and deleted language in the existing ordinance that would have banned ATVs from any section of road where residences are close to the roadways.

That would have limited ATV travel on many roads in Derby, especially in the two villages of Derby Center and Derby Line where houses are typically near streets.

The MOU is a legal way to address problems with ordinances without being forced to warn the amendment officially and wait 60 days for it to take effect.

Select Board Chairman Grant Spates said the ordinance was written before the town considered ATV access to all roads.

He suggested that the Derby Select Board might want to hold a joint meeting with the Newport City Council to discuss any tweaks they may want to make with the town ordinance and city ordinance once the city’s trial year of ATVs is over.

The season for ATVs ends Oct. 1.

Derby is doing a two-year trial of ATVs due to unusual circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Derby MOU also notes that ATVs are required to follow the posted speed limits on town roads, as are other vehicles.

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