• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

Ban on off-road vehicles passes Wasilla Planning Commission

By Kate McPherson Photojournalist: Andy Nitchman - 7:10 AM July 9, 2014

Off-road vehicles are one step closer to being illegal in Wasilla after the Planning Commission voted to ban them.

Following a public hearing on Tuesday night, four of the five commissioners voted in favor of the resolution to prohibit the use of off-road vehicles, including ATVs, dirt bikes and snow machines. Commissioner Loren Means cast the only opposing vote.

The matter now goes before City Council on July 28. Mayor Verne Rupright is reluctantly in support of the ban.

“If people would just use the trails that have been on that books for 15 years we wouldn’t be here discussing this,” the mayor said during the public hearing.

Rupright helped to establish the 1999 Trails Plan that allows off-road vehicles to travel in city limits. These corridors include Lucille Street, Knik-Goose Bay Road and the Parks Highway.

“There seems to be a belief that you can ride anywhere,” said Rupright, who believes an outright ban is the only way forward for the city because too many people are breaking the laws and not sticking to the designated trails.

But it’s a contentious issue because many valley residents use the Wasilla trails to get around town.

“Wasilla is in a rural area so there’s a lot of people who don’t have a vehicle that drives on the highway,” said Thomas Hannan of Alaska Toy Rentals.

Hannan’s business includes ATV tours that leave from his Wasilla shop. If the ban becomes law, he says he’ll lose money.

Todd Ferguson at House of Power says his business won’t be directly impacted, but he knows residents who will have a hard time

“Fifty percent of our customers use their ATVs locally in the city limits to get to work,” Ferguson said.

Wasilla police have received 248 complaints in two years from residents. But many opponents of the ban say it’s a small number of people doing the wrong thing and making everyone else look bad.

“Everyone is pretty upset about it,” said local Lee Pomelow. “Everyone wants to get out riding, get out and have fun, I thought that’s what Alaska was all about when I moved up here.”

Opponents of the ban say they would like to see other options explored before making the use of off-road vehicles illegal. Suggestions include better trail signage and educating children about the laws at a young age. More intense policing of unruly users was also suggested as a solution.

But some residents question whether police can handle the workload and enforcement.

“I’m tired of the noise, I’m tired of the lack of respect that people have for property that they ride over and tear up,” said local Roy West during his testimony Tuesday night.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Petition circling to stop Mat-Su school district from outsourcing custodial, cafeteria positions

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 27, 21:00

    Faced with a $10 million budget deficit, cuts sometimes have to be made beyond the classroom, says Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) assistant superintendent Luke Fulp. As a “viable option to help reduce ongoing expenses and financial obligations,” the district is looking to outsource its custodian and nutrition service workers. In February, the MSBSD voted 4 to 3 […]

  • News

    Be ready: Expert warns to be prepared before a tsunami strikes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 20:08

    It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, a reminder to be ready in case a natural disaster like the 1964 earthquake and tsunamis happens again. Paul Whitmore, the director of the National Tsunami Warning Center, says the week’s events include a test of the tsunami warning system. He said in 1964, most of the victims had no warning of […]

  • Politics

    Lawmaker introduces tax on opioid prescriptions

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Last month, Gov. Bill Walker declared Alaska’s opioid epidemic a disaster. Now, a member of the Alaska House is proposing a tax on prescription drugs to help remedy the issue. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins’ House Bill 196 raises revenue directed toward treatment and rehabilitation programs for opioid abuse. At $.01 per morphine milligram, Kreiss-Tomkins says the goal isn’t […]

  • Politics

    Senate calls for 5% education cut, balks at putting it in budget bill for public critique

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Public testimony on the Alaska Senate’s version of the state budget is closed, but Alaskans still haven’t seen cuts made to one of the biggest pieces — education. For weeks, the Republican majority has called for a 5-percent cut to the state’s four largest departments: Health and Social Services, Transportation, the University of Alaska, and […]

  • News

    Father and son look back at 1964 earthquake

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 27, 19:21

    It’s been 53 years since an earthquake changed the landscape of downtown Anchorage. It was recent enough to remember, but long enough ago to learn some important lessons along the way. In the last five decades, the scientific and engineering community has used what it’s learned from the ’64 quake to make buildings stronger and safer. The ground […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bureau of Land Management announces digital Alaska maps for outdoor excursions

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 18:51

    The Bureau of Land Management is making it easier to take maps into the backcountry. The agency launched a series of digital maps that can be downloaded to a smart phone or tablet through the Avenza Maps app. The first eight maps range from the Steese Conservation Area to the Unalakleet National Wild River. “There’s also […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 3 – Seat E – West Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 27, 16:31

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Mat-Su school board president says superintendent’s resignation was for personal reasons

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 16:23

    Last updated at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, March 27 The school board held an emergency meeting Monday evening to discuss the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) superintendent’s “pending immediate resignation.” Superintendent Gene Stone’s resignation was not initially announced by the district, but was outlined in a resolution considered at the emergency meeting. Stone’s resignation comes only a […]