116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) are now allowed on Marion streets.
The Marion City Council Thursday approved a new ordinance’s final reading to allow the vehicles.
The council voted 6-0 with Mayor Nick AbouAssaly absent for the formal meeting, but he again voiced his opposition to the ordinance during the council’s Tuesday night work session. He voted no during the first two readings.
“I’ve spent a better part of my adult life trying to move Marion forward and make it a leader in so many ways and this isn’t one of the ways we should be leading,” he said on Tuesday. “We should be more careful in watching how this plays out around the state, in other communities.”
During Thursday’s meeting, council members, some of whom had been on the fence, voiced their support for the ordinance.
“I’ve been on the fence,” said City Council member Colette Atkins. “But I’m voting yes based on the fine structure we spent some time putting together and the idea we have a six-month review process. It’s exciting and we will keep a close eye on this to make sure it’s not impeding on residents’ ability to enjoy the community.”
“I understand there are some concerns by individuals in our city,” added Council member Steve Jensen. “My initial thought was this pertains to small towns. That is not true. Council Bluffs and Ankeny have it.”
Council member Sara Mentzer said she “came into this thinking, ‘absolutely, no way.’ I’m voting for it solely because this is something we’re watching, reviewing and looking at. We understand nothing is perfect and please be patient with us as we continue with this.”
UTVs, also called utility task vehicles or side-by-sides, are like all-terrain vehicles in their use for off-road recreation. But UTVs are heavier, can have up to six wheels and haul heavy loads.
Marion Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller said in April that he was OK with the proposal after talking with police chiefs in Council Bluffs and Ankeny, where UTVs are allowed on city streets. Both cities are larger than Marion.
UTVs will be able to be operated on any city roadway with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, except for 10th Avenue east of 35th Street and East Post Road south of Oak Brook Drive.
In addition, use of UTVs would be allowed only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Operators must be 18 or older with a valid driver’s license.
Breaking the rules of the ordinance, including the time restrictions, will result in fines of $250, $500 and $850 on the first, second and third offenses, respectively.
City Manager Ryan Waller previously said the city would plan to review the ordinance after six months. If issues arise before that time, he said, a review would happen sooner.
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