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EAST PALESTINE Ordinance would prohibit the use of off-road vehicles



Published: Tue, May 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



One resident said no-trespassing signs in the area are torn down soon after property owners post them.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

EAST PALESTINE -- Council will consider at its June 11 meeting an ordinance prohibiting operation of dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles within the city limits.

David Fruit, a West High Street resident, asked for council's help in restoring quiet to the neighborhood.

A wooded area on the city's north side has long been a favorite spot for neighborhood children to play. People often use a path through the area to walk their dogs and enjoy nature, Fruit said.

In recent years, however, and especially this spring, the area has been invaded by teens and adults on dirt bikes, four-wheelers and other off-road vehicles. Some of the property belongs to Sugar Camp Drive and High Street residents. Another portion belongs to the city school district.

"My wife called me one day and said there was a Humvee in our back yard," he said. "It wasn't that, but it looked like some kind of Army vehicle. It had six wheels and seated four people."

Law Director Bradley Allison, who lives on neighboring Sugar Camp Drive, said he chased the six-wheeled vehicle that day "right past no trespassing signs."

Fruit said he has counted nearly 20 different vehicles in the area where no-trespassing signs are clearly posted. He said the riders tear the signs down, many within minutes of property owners posting them.

"The police have responded every time we call them," Fruit said.

Need ordinance: Police Chief Gary Clark said without an ordinance in place prohibiting operation of the vehicles in the city, the property owners must be willing to testify in court that they did not grant the riders permission to operate the off-road vehicles on their property.

"It's difficult when police don't know where the property lines are," Fruit said. "If there is an ordinance against these vehicles in the city, then the property lines are a moot point."

tullis@vindy.com




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