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Community Report: Newport City May Allow ATVs On Main Roads

Two people riding ATVs through the mud.
Suriya Silsaksom
Orleans County Record reporter Robin Smith spoke with VPR's Mary Engisch about a debate over ATV use in Newport City. Some want to allow them on city streets, while others want them to stick to the trails.

Each week, VPR touches base with a local newspaper reporter about a top story from their community. This time, we hear from Orleans County Record reporter Robin Smith.

She's reported on how Newport City will now use a petition to force a vote on whether or not all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, can drive the main streets of the city next summer.

"There's an ongoing effort to have many more all-terrain vehicle trails that link as far as they can get,  across Vermont, really, to connect to New Hampshire, which has a lot of trails," Smith said.

Read the story from the Orleans County Record here.

The main reason many residents are all for the change is due to what they see as missed income from visitors who travel nearby roads and recreational trails on ATVs.

Some in town are, however, against the request to open up some of the main streets in Newport City to ATVs, hence the petition, which circulated for a month and garnered around 200 signatures who oppose the measure.

"Opponents say, 'Yeah, but young hotrods are gonna be tooling down the street at all hours,'" Smith said. "Opponents say, 'Well, the city police are busy enough with the drug situation up here, they don't have time to chase some goober who drives his ATV home from work at midnight.'"

The petition is expected to be presented on Tuesday to the city clerk, requiring the council to call a special vote on the ordinance.

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