The Lake Tomahawk Town Board has authorized the town's planning commission to conduct a survey of residents regarding the use of all-terrain and utility vehicles on all town roads.
The decision was made during a brief board meeting Feb. 12. Several members of the Lake Tomahawk ATV Club were in attendance for the discussion.
In a December letter to the town, the club requested 2.6 miles of Lakewood Road from Cassian to County Highway D be opened to ATV and UTV traffic.
"This 2.6 miles," the letter stated, "would connect Nokomis ATV Club to Lakeland ATV Club trails."
The request led to an extensive discussion during the board's December meeting. In expressing his opinion on the use of ATVs on town roads, town chairman George DeMet mentioned there were four ATV/UTV related fatalities in Oneida County in 2019.
"Each one of those deaths occurred on a town road," DeMet said. "That's what bothers me."
By the end of the discussion, the town board voted to send the request to the town's planning commission.
Following another extensive debate on Jan. 28, the commission voted to recommend town residents be surveyed as to their thoughts on the use of ATVs and UTVs on all town roads.
Last week's town board meeting lasted less than 20 minutes and just under 10 minutes of that time was spent on the ATV/UTV survey recommendation from the planning commission.
DeMet asked town supervisor Larry Hoffman, who'd attended the Jan. 28 planning commission meeting, for a summary of what occurred there.
Hoffman told him the planning commission's chairman, Steve Forrest, "wants to send postcards to everybody in town to see if they're in favor of opening all the roads."
"OK," DeMet said. "Is that the way we should go? Do the survey?"
"I think so," Hoffman said. "Steve thinks so."
"OK," DeMet said again. "You want to make a motion to that effect?"
Hoffman made the and DeMet seconded it. Town supervisor Stephanie Sowatzka was absent.
"The ATV club volunteered to pick up the cost of it and send it out," Hoffman said.
"Well, I think this one should be on the plan commission," DeMet said and called the question.
Minutes later, the town board's business being done, DeMet ended the meeting.
"I guess we're done," he said. "This meeting is adjourned."
At that point, Lake Tomahawk ATV Club president Barb Ehler asked to address the board.
"First of all, I appreciate your time and your willingness for the Lake Tom ATV/UTV Club survey," she said. "I want to point out and ask, first of all, how can we help?"
Ehler said she appreciated the town's offer to absorb the cost.
"We would like to help in any facet possible," she said. "What is our time frame, as far as getting the survey out, getting it mailed out?"
"It's in the hands of the plan commission now," DeMet said. "It's all in the hand of the plan commission. We have authorized them to go ahead and do the survey."
"So, the planning commission is to take over," Ehler said, seeking clarification.
"Yep," DeMet said. "I would assume they would come back to us when they have a cost estimate and the question that they want to send out for approval. But, it's in their hands right now."
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at bjopek@lakelandtimes.
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