ATV/UTV use allowed on Jasper County gravel roads

Even though Denny Carpenter, chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, disapproved of the idea, regulated recreational use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road/utility task vehicles (UTVs) is now permitted on gravel roads in Jasper County. The final of three public hearings was held at the courthouse on Aug. 27. The supervisors voted 2-1 to pass Jasper County Ordinance 65, an ordinance to regulate the operation of ATVs and UTVs in Jasper County. Supervisors Brandon Talsma and Doug Cupples voted in favor of the ordinance. The ordinance is effective immediately.

According to Jasper County Recorder Denise Allan, the purpose of this ordinance is to designate the secondary roads within Jasper County where ATVs and UTVs may operate and how they must be operated.

It is the intent of this ordinance to keep ATV and UTV operation on Jasper County paved roads to an absolute minimum. To that end, ATVs and UTVs may be operated on Jasper County graveled public roads, with the exception of Level 8 and C roads.

If someone is required to travel on a Jasper County paved roadway, the person may only do so for a reasonable distance. Operation is that time after sunrise and must cease before sunset. The operator is 18 years of age or older and must have a valid driver's license.

A person shall not operate an ATV or UTV between Sept. 15 and Nov. 1 of the calendar year. This is because of the heavy use of the rural roads by farmers during harvest time.

Individuals who operate on gravel roadways in Jasper County must obtain an identification decal from the Office of the Jasper County Recorder at a yearly fee of $30. The following conditions apply:

  1. The individual applying for an identification decal shall be 18 years or older and possess a valid driver's license.
  2. The owner of each ATV or UTV shall be required to provide proof of ownership including but not limited to registration and other documentation accepted by the county recorder’s office.
  3. The owner of each ATV or UTV at time of purchasing the identification decal shall be required to prove liability insurance with the minimum coverage of $50,000 bodily injury per person, $100,000 bodily injury per accident, and $50,000 property damage. The minimum coverages must be in effect during operation of an ATV or UTV.
  4. Decals will be issued for ATV and UTV and are not transferable.
  5. Decals shall be affixed to the rear of the vehicle so the permit is clearly visible at all times of operation.
  6. Decals will be good for one (1) calendar year and valid Jan. 1 through December 31.
  7. The sheriff may revoke the decal upon evidence that the owner/operator has violated the conditions of the decal or abused the privileges of being a decal holder. If the decal is revoked, there will be no refund for that decal fee. Reinstatement or purchase of a new decal is not allowed for that owner/operator for one year from the date of the revocation.

This ordinance does not apply to any exemption under the Iowa Code for ATVs or UTVs operated pursuant  to Iowa Code section 3211.9 (government and farm implements) or Iowa Code section 321.234A (incidental to and use for agricultural purposes, government, public utilities, licensed engineers, and licensed surveyors) or Iowa Code section 352.2, 3211.14(3)(b)(farm operations).

Violation of this ordinance shall constitute a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $65 to $625 plus the applicable court surcharge and costs and/or up to 30 days in jail. The full text of the ATV Ordinance can be found on the website co.jasper.ia.us/CivicAierts.-aspx?AID=72. The full ordinance’s public notice will be published in a future edition of this newspaper.

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