In a 5 to 2 vote, the Chewelah City Council approved opening city streets to off-road vehicle (ORV) use in a move they hope will help boost tourism and improve recreation opportunities in the community. Chewelah Mayor Clancy Bauman said the city is hoping to increase its appeal to recreationists who use all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, four-wheel drive vehicles and dune buggies. Snowmobiles are not included in the ORV ordinance. â€śWe are hoping to draw more recreationists to our town that can ride around and stop in at our restaurants and gas stations,â€ť Bauman said. â€śTourism is the main thing for our area, so we are doing what we can to encourage it. We also have local people with ATVs who couldnâ€™t wait for us to get it open.â€ť The ORV ordinance that was passed at the Oct. 5 meeting took effect on Oct. 10, the required five days after the ordinanceâ€™s passage. In accordance with the cityâ€™s noise ordinance (10.25.080), ORV users can ride their vehicles within the city limits from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Riders must have an ORV license from the Department of Licensing, wear helmets and obey posted speed limits. Additionally, while riders have access to most of town, they are prohibited from using state Highway 395, and Main Avenue from Fourth Street East to State Highway 395. Riders may cross Highway 395 anywhere there is a direct intersection, such as Webster, Lincoln, Cozy Nook and King Streets. Opening Chewelah up to ORV use will be advantageous for riders who want to link to county roads that are also open for ORV use. There are over 80 county roads that are open to off-road vehicle use throughout Stevens County. Detailed maps and description of those county roads are available at: http://www.co.stevens.wa.us/commissioners/BOCC_OHV_UseArea.htm. However, some residents were not at all enthused about allowing ORV use of Chewelah streets, including Chewelah Golf & Country Club neighborhood resident Nick Nicholas. â€śI am in opposition to any ordinance that would allow ORVs on the streets by the golf course,â€ť said Nicholas. â€śThe golf course is a non-profit corporation owned by the residents who live there and if we had ATVs out spinning donuts on the golf greens, it would take thousands of dollars to repair.â€ť Despite the comment, the council passed the ORV ordinance to apply to streets around the golf course as well. Council woman Krisan LeHew suggested the council review the ordinance in a year and make changes if needed, but a date for the review was not set at the Oct. 5 meeting.
For more information about the City of Chewelah ORV ordinance, visit www.cityofchewelah.org or call 935-8311.