ATV Statement and Study Committee Proposal | Conrad Bellavance

in Letter to the Editor/Newport/News

This letter was submitted by the Board of Directors Newport City Downtown Development, Chair Conrad Bellavance.

The City of Newport Ordinance #120 Regulating ALL – Terrain Vehicle Use on Town Highways also known as the “ATV ordinance” was approved by the City Council on October 21, 2019, for a trial period commencing May 2020 to October 2020.

The trial period outlined in the approved motion provides a reasonable approach and a measured way to assess the benefits to our Downtown.

The NCDD Board considers this type of exploration in alignment with our efforts to build Newport’s Outdoor Recreation Economy.

ATV ridership is proven to provide substantial positive economic benefits to many communities across the country.

However, it is important for Newport to assess the experience for ourselves in our own community.

NCDD is willing and offers to set up an independent ATV Study Committee charged with developing measurable standards to assess the impact of ATVs on city streets during the trial period.

A report will be generated based on these standards, along with fact-finding and conclusions from this information.

When the committee has reached a consensus on its findings and conclusions it will develop a set of recommendations.

The Committee will present both the full study report and the recommendations to the City Council at the end of the trial period.

NCDD suggests that the ATV Study Committee be comprised of representatives from each of the following groups:

Two Newport City businesses, two resident representatives from Third Street who live on the designated ATV route, two resident representatives from Pleasant Street who live on the designated route, two members from the Recreation Committee, the Newport City Police, two members from the Borderline Ridge Riders ATV Club, and NVDA, with NCDD as facilitator.

The NCDD Board believes that a local committee comprised of people directly impacted by the ordinance is the best way to generate a credible report.

NCDD has been working for several years to build a foundation for Newport’s Outdoor Recreation Economy.

This is based on the community’s support to build on Newport’s incredible natural assets.

This theme has been stated repeatedly at every community meeting about how to develop Newport.

Although the organization has not worked directly with ATV ridership or the creation of Ordinance #120, we are pleased to see that outdoor recreation groups like snowmobilers and ATV riders are beginning to approach the City with opportunities to be part of this economic development strategy.

We are likewise pleased to see that the City leadership is open and willing to try out these opportunities on a limited basis in order to gauge the impact on the City.

As the organization that holds the Downtown Designation and represents the interests of the community in developing Newport’s future, NCDD has the capacity to facilitate and support the ATV Study Committee with the goal of generating a quality fact-based report and recommendations to the City Council at the end of the trial period in October.

Interested candidates who meet the study committee criteria, should contact NCDD Economic Development Specialist Jim Davis at 334-0599 or email him at newportdowntowndevelopment@gmail.com

Sincerely,
Conrad Bellavance

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