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Morris City Council considers resolution to allow more vehicles on city streets

File Photo: Gary Jenson, of Milnor, and Len Loegering, of Wyndmere, ride a cart to the next tee past the pond on the edge of the Lakeview Golf Course in Milnor, N.D. Dave Wallis / The Forum

MORRIS - The Morris City Council is considering a new ordinance that would allow golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, utility task vehicles or mini trucks on the roadways of Morris. The council gave the ordinance a first reading at their meeting Tuesday night and will hold a public hearing on the issue at their next meeting.

Allowing more vehicles on Morris streets is something that the council has wanted to do for the last two years, said City Manager Blaine Hill. However, the city was prohibited from making the change because of state law until very recently.

"This past legislative session, [the legislature] amended the law to allow for the bigger, side-by-side type vehicle," explained City Attorney Aaron Jordan. "It's been written into the law so we can now pass an ordinance allowing them."

Part of passing the new ordinance will be to repeal an old ordinance that regulates the uses of these vehicles. Hill said he considered just amending the old ordinance, but ultimately decided the best approach would be to repeal the old ordinance and put a new one in place.

In addition to allowing more vehicles on city streets, the new ordinance extends the number of years that a permit will be issued for and allows vehicles to be used after dark if they come with the required equipment to be used at that time (lights, etc.).

One question raised by council members during the discussion of the resolution was whether it makes more sense to permit the driver or permit the vehicle. As the ordinance is currently written, the permit is issued to the driver.

"To me it makes sense that it's the vehicle that gets permitted," said Council Member Jeff Miller. "Unless there's a good reason why we wouldn't, I think a change should be made to permit the vehicle instead of the operator."

Hill said that under his reading, the state statute leans towards permitting a person rather than a vehicle.

Jordan and Hill said they would look into the question about what should be permitted and bring information to the council when they next consider the ordinance.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at their next meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 5:15 p.m.

Other business

• The council set a public hearing for a city ordinance updating the city's zoning map to take place at their next meeting, Tuesday. Nov. 22 at 5:15 p.m.

• The council approved a Fire Grant Contract with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for $2,000, which will be used to purchase breathing apparatus for the Morris Fire Department.

• Hill invited council members and the community to a kickoff event for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. at the Armory.