2012-09-13 / Local News

Empire board will wait to see how ORV ordinance works

Empire Township Board members decided on Tuesday to adopt a ‘waitand see’ attitude for an ORV ordinance recently passed in Leelanau County.

Under that law, ORVs can travel on the far right of all county roads at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.

But townships can opt out of the ordinance, and Empire, Cleveland and Glen Arbor townships had all sent letters to the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners saying they were opposed to the new ordinance due to safety concerns. They were also worried that ORVs may travel through people’s yards.

Empire Towship trustees reserved the right to change their minds.

“At any time we can enact an ordinance (restricting their usage) if it becomes an issue with ORVs,” said Christine M. Neiswonger, township clerk.

In other business, township gave two employees bonuses for a job well done in the busiest summer on record. Paul Daley, manager of the Empire Township campground, and John Rude, assistant campground manager, both received $1,000 bonuses.

Empire resident Mary Sharry spoke at the meeting, asking township officials to consider adopting an ordinance to ban fireworks. The township, along with the rest of the county, has gotten multiple complaints over the summer regarding very loud fireworks going off at all hours of the day and night. A new Michigan law has made it legal for residents to purchase and ignite Roman candles, bottle rockets and other explosives that leave the ground.

Empire Township does not currently have a fireworks or a noise ordinance. Neiswonger said the township will wait and see what other townships do.

“The enforcement is so difficult, unfortunately,” Neiswonger said.

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