Public hearing Dec. 19 on proposed ORV ordinance

City of Wayland Water Superintendent Ben Batchelder is retiring soon.

Though prospects for an ordinance permitting use of golf carts in the Wayland City limits are dead in the water, hope springs eternal for off road vehicle (ORV) enthusiasts.

The Public Safety Committee has been meeting and crafting a proposed local ordinance, which will be the topic of the first reading a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19.

Several citizen advocates appeared before council Monday night to promote side-by-side vehicles.

Rick Maddox told council members side-by-sides are much safer and quieter than snowmobiles and safer than golf carts, which were rejected by the city earlier this fall.

Maddoc said, “I can’t get from my house to out of town (on his ORV),” yet many communities in Allegan County are welcoming the vehicles with ordinances.

He added that side-by-sides are safer than motorcycles, which are widely accepted on roadways.

Former Mayor Burrell Stein insisted that “Transportation continues to change very fast and people are lowering their costs to get around in their communities.”

Both men also maintained that allowing ORVs would benefit local communities with visitors and users stopping in to do business.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the City Council:

  • Approved the purchase of a new fire truck from Spencer’s of South Haven, with the cost being $435,000 for the city and $647,000 for Wayland Township, both to be absorbed by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Fire Chief Jim Stoddard and Councilman Rick Mathis said Dorr Fire Chief Gary Fordham was extremely helpful in explaining the truck and its functions last Saturday.
  • Approved the request for a special use permit for Fall River to open a marijuana business at Clark Street next door to Sweet Leaf Glass behind Burger King of West Superior. The Planning Commission recommended approval two weeks ago.
  • Approved entering into a temporary contract with OML Analytical of Rockford for operating the water treatment plant for the next several months. Superintendent of Water and Sewer Ben Batchelder is retiring and the contract will be in force until his successor can be found.
  • Approved the reappointment of Joe Kramer to mayor pro tem, or second in command at meetings.
  • Approved the appointment of Steve Stepek to the ex-officio seat on the City Planning Commission. Stepek had been a Planning Commission member until he was appointed to the vacancy created by the election of Jennifer as mayor Nov. 8.


  • Within the defined city speed limits its hard to imagine how an ORV is any safer than a golf cart or motorcycle. That argument doesn’t wash. There isn’t nearly enough (if any) accident data reagarding ORVs on roadways to compare against.

    Safety is brake lights and turn signals just like On Road Vehicles that help pay for the up keep of the roadways through license fees. The state already addresses this with Dual Sport bikes. It is probably time for the state to do the same regarding ORVs.

    Quieter? Really? Wait till all the Johnny-straight-pipes come roaring in to town. After all the fun is in the mods man. Mine sounds better and louder than yours. I’ll be working on it tonight in my driveway while you are trying to get the kids to bed.

  • I can’t understand why we need to replace someone at the water department. If I’m not mistaken when Pierre was still working he handled both departments, and it seems it didn’t take long after he retired the city quietly went right back to having two people doing the job of one . And of course costing the tax payers more money.

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