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Danbury officials look to crackdown on illegal ATV use

The Danbury City Council is once again looking to crack down on ATV users riding on City streets and on other city property.  The committee was created back in 2016.  They met again last October and asked the City attorney to look at the current ordinance on the books.  In 2003 Danbury regulated all-terrain vehicle use to preven damage to public parks and City-controlled property.  In 2016, the state added dirt bikes and mini motorcycles to the statute. 

Chairman Irving Fox noted that there have been recent changes to state statute, allowing municipalities to put more teeth in their local laws.  Corporation Counsel Les Pinter looked into possible changes and what other municipalities are doing when it comes to the growing problem. 

ATV can be seized by the officer and, after 15 days, forfeited and sold at auction.  There are some conditions though.  It can't be resold if there's a lien or lease on the vehicle, or if there's a lienholder who didn't reasonably known that the person on the motorcycle/dirt bike/etc was using it the way it was.  There is no limitation on the seizure. 

Towing and storage cost, along with repairs for any damage, would be the responsiblity of the owner/rider. 

Under state statute, there's a longer wait period and additional process if a private wrecker tows the ATV from the scene.  Danbury Police do not have the capability in-house to tow these vehicles and would have to call on the on-duty tow company. 

Councilman Joe Cavo had asked that the committee meet again when he was Mayor.  At that time he wanted the vehicles seized to be destroyed, but says he's now comfortable with the resale. Cavo says the hefty fine, coupled with the cost to buy back the ATV, would be cost prohibitive in having repeat offenders.  He hopes that through the auction process adults will buy them for proper use in the proper place.  Worse comes to worse and the City finds repetitive rebuy-reuse, Cavo says they can address that with the state delegation to see if state statute could be changed.

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