New Jersey township seeks ATV park operator

Publish Date: 
Jul 24, 2014

WEST MILFORD, N.J. - West Milford's governing body recently authorized a request for proposals seeking an insured organization to lease a municipal property for use as a park for ATVs.

An insured private concessionaire would let the city have an off-road park without having to manage it or buy insurance coverage to operate it, Township Attorney Fred Semrau told the Record/Herald News.

"The state right now is doing the same thing," Semrau said. "It's a thought to try and bring this a step forward. Or maybe it would encourage the state to take note that the township has a great interest [in opening an off-road park]."

Noise concerns have been the biggest obstacle to local support. Local police cracked down on riding at the 99-acre site in the spring because of noise complaints. Local officials are considering flattening the property's trails to further discourage riders and eliminate the existing liability. "If we are seen as tolerating an attractive nuisance at a time when we absolutely know we are not insured for it, that would be a bad thing," Councilwoman Carla Horton said.

The RFP would not directly address the noise issue stemming from illegal riding at the municipally owned Random Woods property, Semrau said, but it might lead to a solution to that problem by providing a more isolated legal place to ride.

To create an off-road park, the local government would need to change the town code to remove restrictions that bar vehicles from public properties. That, Horton said, would certainly have to involve a discussion of whether ATV riding on public property should be happening at all.

Semrau said if the township does not receive any proposals or even interest in its RFP, then the township may have hit a wall considering the difficulty the township has run into when seeking insurance to operate its own park. Semrau said his firm has spoken with two organizations that were intrigued by West Milford's discussions regarding an ATV park, but not intrigued enough to make a serious proposal.

From the Dealernews wires