SB County Board of Supervisors Keep Ordinance Strong !

The question at yesterday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting regarding the ORV Ordinance was:

1) Accept an oral report from the Deputy Director, Code Enforcement of the Land Use Services Department (LUSD) regarding enforcement of San Bernardino County Ordinance 3973, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Ordinance. 2) Determine that the OHV Ordinance, as written, is effective, working as intended, and needs no changes. (Presenters: Julie Rynerson Rock and Randy Rogers)

The issue has now been officially recorded as “Approved” by the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Thank you to all who have supported the ordinance by writing letters, signing petitions, calling the Supervisors and attending the BOS meeting yesterday.

San Bernardino County officials keep law restricting off-roading

San Bernardino County officials keep law restricting off-roading

By DUANE W. GANG – 8/22/07
The Press-Enterprise


The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to keep a year-old law restricting the use of motorcycles and other off-road vehicles intact.

The supervisors will reconsider a provision requiring a $155 permit for 10 or more people to gather and operate off-highway vehicles.

No date has been set to take up the law again.

Off-highway vehicle use is popular in San Bernardino County, especially with the vast stretches of open space available in the largest county in the lower 48 states.

Off-road-vehicle use has often drawn complaints from residents about noise, dust and trespassing. Supervisors last year approved the law and agreed to reconsider the issue in a year.

“This issue is really resolved best by good manners, good manners on both sides,” Supervisor Dennis Hansberger said.

The rules, approved in April 2006, require riders on private property to have written permission from the owners, to apply for a temporary-event permit when 10 or more riders gather, and to use vehicles that meet state noise standards.

Riders also are subject to laws that make it illegal to disturb the peace and quiet of a residential area.

Off-highway-vehicle enthusiasts said the law should be repealed or revised. They argued that only a small number of riders are problems, while the law infringes on a person’s private-property rights by requiring the permit for 10 or more riders. The permit was their biggest concern.

Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who, along with Hansberger, represents most of the areas popular with off-road vehicles, said the permit process must be streamlined. But he said he was unwilling to alter the law immediately.

“I think three weeks to get a permit for staging for OHV activity is too long,” he said. “For all the good the ordinance has done, that may be beyond what the board’s intent was.”

With more than 100 people voicing their views to supervisors, the hearing lasted all afternoon. The board began taking public comment at about 1:30 p.m. and didn’t wrap up until 5:40 p.m.

Jenny Doling, a Yucca Valley lawyer and off-highway-vehicle rider, said special permits are typically for large events such as concerts, not riding motorcycles.

“This is why we are here today, to correct a wrong,” Doling said.

Supporters of the law, carrying signs reading “Stop ORV Outlaws,” “Dust Noise Trespass Harassment,” and “No Trespassing on My Land,” gathered in front of the County Government Center in San Bernardino before the start of Tuesday’s meeting to urge supervisors not to tinker with the restrictions.

“It is already a fair and effective document and should be upheld and renewed,” said Chris Carraher, a Wonder Valley resident and founding member of the group OHV Watch.

County code enforcement officials said the law is proving effective. It provides specific measures that can be used for enforcement, said Randy Rogers, head of county code enforcement.

Rogers said any time a local government attempts to regulate a person’s leisure activities, the move will prove controversial. But this law was not developed in a vacuum, he said. Both sides were present during the debate and had input, Rogers said.

Sheriff Gary Penrod said deputies needed the law to deal with riders on private property.

“We need to have some kind of enforcement tool,” he said.

Strict off-road rules are upheld by SB Board of Supervisors

From the LA Times 8/22/07

Strict off-road rules are upheld

By Sara Lin August 22, 2007


Spurred by desert homeowners tired of noise and dust, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold an ordinance that clamps down on off-road riders gathering in groups or trespassing on private land.

But supervisors promised to review some aspects of the ordinance criticized by riders.

In particular, supervisors promised to look at the restriction on “staging” — when a large group of riders gathers on private land. Under the ordinance, groups of 10 or more must apply for a $155 special-event permit, which off-road proponents said was too severe and interfered with family gatherings on holiday weekends.

“This issue is really resolved best by good manners on both sides. By good manners from people riding off-road vehicles and by neighbors and others who have to accept that not everyone enjoys the same form of recreation,” said Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, whose district includes off-roading desert hotspots Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree. “There are some details I’d like to revisit. But I don’t want to heartlessly try to resolve them today.”

Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt agreed: “I think three weeks to get a permit for staging for [off-road] activity is too long. I think that for all the good this ordinance has done, that may be beyond what the board’s intent was.”

The ordinance, passed unanimously in April 2006, also established fines for off-roaders who ride on private property without written permission.

Frazier Haney, 25, said he was happy that the restrictions remained untouched, adding that kids on ATVs often speed down the street near his home in Joshua Tree.

“I think what everyone has to realize is that there are more people in California and, as places urbanize, they’re just not going to be able to do things like they used to,” he said.

Ray Pessa of Yucca Valley, who often rides with his family on land he owns in Johnson Valley, said he was satisfied with the supervisors’ assurance that they would revisit the staging restriction.

“We’re not against an ordinance, we’re in favor of one,” he said. “But we’re not in favor of a staging permit that punishes legal and responsible riding families.”

About 250 people gathered at Tuesday’s board meeting, an even number testifying for and against the ordinance during a marathon public hearing.

Desert residents told supervisors the law was necessary to protect them against unruly off-roaders who tear through residential areas, kicking up dust.

In particular, many told the supervisors, the law helps keep in check dozens of out-of-towners who descend on the desert with their ATVs on long holiday weekends.

Besides, there’s a nearby park in Johnson Valley specifically set aside for off-roaders, said Phil Klasky, a part-time Wonder Valley resident opposed to any changes to the ordinance. The Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area is the largest of its kind in the state.

Off-road proponents described their sport as a family-friendly tradition that was being marred by a few reckless riders.

“My family has been off-roading for four generations. I’m a little upset it came to this,” said Cathy Hawkins, 56, of Yucca Valley. “I want you to go get the bad guys and let the rest of us raise our kids in the manner that we’ve lived for generations.”

Riverside and San Bernardino counties are home to one-fifth of the state’s 1.1 million riders, state parks officials said. Riverside County officials are considering their own new rules for off-roaders, including restricting riding times and the number of vehicles per property.

As in San Bernardino county, riders in Los Angeles County must carry written permission to ride on private property. About 158,000 off-roaders live in Los Angeles County.

Inland counties have long struggled with how to resolve conflicts between their booming populations and off-roaders used to riding through long stretches of unpopulated desert.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, there were 60% less people in the high desert, said Randy Rogers, San Bernardino County’s chief of code enforcement.

“So if somebody rode down a dirt road, the chances of them riding where they never passed a house was pretty good,” he said. “But you just can’t do that now.”