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February 19. 2014 6:50PM

Berlin now even more OHRV welcoming after city council vote

BERLIN — On Monday, the City Council voted to give both locals and visitors who ride off-road highway vehicles greater access to public streets.

And on Wednesday, City Manager Jim Wheeler invited riders from all over to come check out the real estate opportunities, in this, the newest gateway to a thousand miles of trails in Coos County.

Following a public hearing Monday evening, the city council by a unanimous vote amended Berlin’s current OHRV ordinances to expand the number of public ways that can be driven upon by OHRV-ers.

Berlin has had a connector for several years between the Success All-Terrain Vehicle Trails to the east of downtown and in the west, to Jericho Mountain State Park, a 7,500-acre playground for a variety of motorized vehicles that the State of New Hampshire has been developing incrementally.

The amended Berlin ordinances, Wheeler said yesterday, will allow residents as well as visitors who are staying in-town, to ride their OHRVs from where they are to the connector. Meanwhile, riders on the connector will be able to go into more of Berlin for food, gas and services.

The changes do not allow riders to go all over Berlin, said Wheeler, and they contain enforcement language that authorizes Berlin police to crack down on bad behavior, including, to a concern raised by two residents on Monday, that of excessive noise.

Based on past, toe-dipping experiments that Berlin did to see what it would be like to be more OHRV-friendly, Wheeler expected few, if any problems, due to the new ordinances.

The changes go into effect “upon passage,” said Wheeler, “and really there’s nothing to do at this point but to wait for the snow to melt and the ATV season to start.”

As a municipality, Berlin did its homework on OHRV access, said Wheeler, adding that one area of consideration was how increased access could have a positive impact on several sectors of the local economy, including real estate.

Berlin has some real values when it comes to prime properties close to the tail system, said Wheeler, who on behalf of the city council, rolled out the proverbial welcome mat to OHRV-ers to come take a closer look at all that the “City that Trees Built” offers.

jkoziol@newstote.com


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