Talk about shooting oneself in the foot…
After spending $99,000 on a “scientific” study that the Sedona City Council hoped would show that OHVs (Off-Highway Vehicles) are harmful to the health of the community, it turns out they are not any more dangerous to Sedona than the vehicles we drive every day in town.
What a massive disappointment this had to have been for council members who thought the results of this study would bolster their arguments that indeed OHVs are dangerous, not just because of their potential for crashes, but also in terms of noise and air quality, and must be controlled or banned from the city — if owners of local OHV companies do not comply with council-created regulations.
Tentative agreements have been reached between operators and owners that would allow ATVs on city streets if certain equipment improvements are made.
If the operators do not comply, they have been warned that OHVs would be completely banned in the city, which would undoubtedly result in a battle that could only be settled in court.
Let’s say that happens. Imagine the bemusement of a judge reading that report by the consulting firm Kimley-Horn, which, of course, would be introduced as evidence by the plaintiff. The report rebukes the premise that these types of vehicles are a danger to public health.
The chances of the council prevailing are now even more bleak than they were before.
The council has rejected the findings of the consultant. There is no choice in this matter, given the repercussions admitting the study’s results were valid would have on its effort to regulate OHVs.
Except for one council member who just wants to move on, assuming there is a deal on the table between the council and operators—an agreement the council hopes would improve the safety of such vehicles.
But anything can happen now that the results of this study have emerged.
Would operators be emboldened and decide not to make the expensive modifications to their vehicles that the council wants? Decide to take their chances in court?
Hmmm. The plot thickens.
By Tommy Acosta