Moses Lake, Wash. – The Moses Lake City Council is moving forward with allowing Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicles (WATV) on city streets.
The council approved by a 5-2 vote on Tuesday amending the City of Wenatchee ordinance allowing WATVs on city streets to create a similar ordinance in Moses Lake. WATVs include “ride on or quad” ATVs and utility-type ATVs.
City Manager John Williams said staff is going through the ordinance to make necessary changes, including outlining roads where WATVs are not allowed, which includes any roads with speed limits over 35 mph, any state highway, along with Broadway Avenue and South Pioneer Way. Riders would be allowed to cross both Broadway and Pioneer. The city is also required to create a webpage with information on where WATVs are allowed on city streets.
The ordinance requires WATV operators to be at least 18 years old and operators must have limited liability insurance. Vehicles must also meet state requirements before they are allowed on city streets.
The idea was initially brought to the council earlier this month by several off-road vehicle supporters, including Derek Smith, the general manager of Experience Powersports in Moses Lake, and Rich Archer with the Sand Scorpions ORV club, who both cited recreational opportunities with allowing the vehicles on city roads.
But WATV operators will not be allowed to access the Moses Lake Sand Dunes as sections of Sand Dune Road and Potato Hill Road are county roads. Grant County currently does not allow for WATV use on county roads.
Several councilmembers voiced concerns of enforcement issues in relation to the sand dunes and visitors from out of town using the dunes area and not being aware they are unable to ride their vehicles into the city limits.
Both Smith and Archer, along with Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce officials, who supported the WATV ordinance, have approached the county about allowing WATVs on county roads.
Councilmember Ryann Leonard, who voted against the ordinance along with councilmember Karen Liebrecht, discussed not voting on the ordinance until any decision was made by county commissioners.
“You can’t get out of the dunes on your WATV to get into town,” Leonard said. “I think at this time it’s a little premature for us to consider this here as a council because right now the recreation aspect … there’s literally no way for them to access our recreation area.”
Also included in the ordinance is a provision to have the council revisit the ordinance in one year, looking at any possible changes or problems that arise.