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Petition fights Wasilla ATV ban

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: John Thain - 8:22 PM July 30, 2014

Thomas Hannam has been riding ATVs all his life. Now, he and his friends are being told their fun may soon end.

Hannam is the owner of Alaska Toy Rentals and fears his business could be in trouble.

The Wasilla City Council is considering a ban on ATVs within city limits to reduce damage to property and traffic violations.

Hannam disagrees with the ban. He’s even started a petition to fight it.

“Basically this is just saying you don’t want to lose your ATV rights in Wasilla,” Hannam said.

He’s asking everyone who comes to his business to sign.

“I want to see if we can stop this. Our government has already pushed down so many people in our world and we’re losing our rights rapidly,” Hannam said.

So far, Hannam estimates he has collected about 2,000 signatures, which he plans to present to the city council.

Despite all the signatures, Councilwoman Gretchen O’Barr says most residents she talks to are actually in favor of the ban.

“I do want to go into it where I’m really thinking about it. I’d like to see if there could be some sort of compromise or amendments rather than total ban. If that can’t happen, yes, then I would be for a total ban,” O’Barr said.

While people like Hannam feel a ban would take away their right to ride, there is a whole other side of the argument that says no more ATVs within the city would give them back the freedom to live in peace.

If anything is certain, it’s that the Wasilla City Council will hear it all before making a final call.

Petition signatures will be collected right up until the next scheduled public hearing on the issue on Aug. 25.

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