Upper Saucon Township neighbors aired out concerns—but came to no resolution—over a proposal to establish new regulations for the use of all-terrain vehicles during a township supervisors committee meeting Thursday night.
The Planning & Zoning Committee did not make a formal recommendation to the full board of supervisors.
Instead, Stephen Wagner and Jack DeMatos decided to take a closer look at the situation by visiting the neighborhood that is the epicenter of the ATV controversy around the Curly Horse development off of W. Hopewell Road.
Supervisors did come to the meeting with a new draft ordinance that would prohibit ATV use between 8 p.m. to 9 a.m., within 175 feet of a dwelling unit, within 50 feet of a neighbor’s property line, and within 30 feet of a public street or road.
Unlike a previous draft ordinance, this proposal would allow “convoy riding,” something that ATV users said is important to the recreational activity. In the interest of compromise, Wagner said, 25 feet was added to the dwelling unit buffer zone.
The new law would apply only to recreational ATVs—not emergency vehicles and not vehicles used for property maintenance or agriculture, Wagner said.
Residents of the Curly Horse development, who have complained about ATV use in a nearby property, were generally positive about the proposal.
“The definition of compromise is that both parties leave the table unhappy. You’ve done that. Nice job,” said Patrick Price, who lives on Rolling Ridge Drive in the Curly Horse development.
But Peggy Sharrer told supervisors that a 175-foot buffer zone removes a large amount of riding area that her son and his friends typically use in their property.
She said that there have been fewer complaints from neighbors since her son has limited the riding to being at least 50 feet from her property line. She asked supervisors to consider lowering the buffer zone to 50 to 75 feet.
Many of the 30 or so people who attended the meeting—including a majority of those on the side of ATV riders—said they thought the issue should be resolved without a new ordinance.
“I think it’s ludicrous that we’re back here tonight,” said Anthony Caruso of Chestnut Hill Road. “I’ve been on both sides of this issue. I think it’s a disgrace that we have to come to the supervisors to settle this as a community.”
He pleaded with both sides to be reasonable and to treat each other with respect and addressed ATV riders and detractors about the other side’s concerns.
“You’re all smart kids,” Caruso said to the ATV riders. “You know how to turn a wrench. You know how to quiet them down.”
To Curly Horse neighbors he said: “You live in a rural community. We ride four-wheelers and go out and shoot our dinner. It’s noisy.”