Monona Council approves use of UTVs on city streets—but with restrictions

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

ATVs and UTVs can now be used on Monona’s streets—as long as riders abide by certain rules.

At its July 10 meeting, the council approved an amendment to the city’s ordinance pertaining to off-road utility vehicles, following a request by a resident to use city streets to reach a nearby county secondary road, where off-road utility vehicle usage is now permitted.

“[The ordinance] was just updated a few years ago, but now the county is doing stuff,” noted councilman Dan Havlicek at a previous meeting. “We need to catch up with the times.”

According to the ordinance, an off-road utility vehicle, or UTV, is defined as having at least four tires (but no more than eight), with a bench or bucket seat that cannot be straddled and a steering wheel or levers to maintain control. 

Golf carts, the council noted, are not considered an off-road utility vehicle, and cannot be used on city streets.

ATVs and UTVs may be operated on city streets and alleys for:

•snow removal via attached snowplow, blade or snow blower

•gardening or lawn work

•appropriate business purposes

•special events authorized by the council

•accessing designated county roadways located within and through the city in accordance with the Clayton County Ordinance #1-2017, “Regulations Regarding Off-road Utility Vehicles.” This ordinance allows for just the use of UTVs, and not ATVs.

Operators are to follow traffic regulations and abide by age and safety requirements. 

Per the ordinance, UTVs and ATVs cannot be operated on Main Street and Iowa Street or Center Street from West Street to Egbert Street unless in the act of snow removal or in compliance with UTV regulations noted in the code. ATVs and UTVs may cross these prohibited streets, however.

“I think there are enough restrictions that it won’t allow people to just run all over town,” said city administrator Dan Canton.

Other business

Monona’s deputy clerk, Barb Collins, and Michelle Finnegan, manager of the Monona Family Aquatic Center, updated the council on activities at the pool so far this summer.

Finnegan said pool attendance is strong, thanks, in part, to some hot days. The highest daily total this summer was 153 people, she noted.

Seventy people attended the midnight swim in June, and another is planned for Thursday, July 20.

“They are pretty popular,” Finnegan said.

Private swimming lessons have also been popular this summer, Finnegan said, as have pre-beginner lessons for kids ages 2 to 4. 

“It’s a good way to get them started,” she said of the pre-beginner lessons. “There was nothing like that before. We’ve had a positive response and awesome turnout.”

The Monona Family Aquatic Center has 19 lifeguards this year, Finnegan added, with all of them Red Cross-certified to teach lessons.

During the meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the proposed designation of the 2017 Monona Housing Urban Renewal Area, for development of lot 19 of the Gordon Subdivision into a five-lot cul de sac called Gordon Estates.

A resolution establishing the urban renewal area and approving the urban renewal plan and projects was approved.

The city plans to finance infrastructure improvements in the area. 

“The cash flow is good enough that we can finance it rather than going to the bank,” Canton said.

That debt will be recouped by creating a tax increment finance (TIF) district that will capture consolidated property taxes from the school, county and city, he said.

“That comes with the construction of new homes,” Canton explained, and is the difference between the base property cost and the new valuation once a home is constructed.

“This is a nice financing tool for these types of plans,” he added. “It fits well with the city’s comprehensive plan.”

The council hopes to take action on bids for the project, and learn more about the project cost, at its July 24 meeting.

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