Council Sets New Regulations

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Cameron Bren

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Common Council adopted and amended ordinances regulating street parking citywide and the use of electric scooters and bicycles in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The council also approved the 2021 budget public hearing notice.

The public hearing for the city budget is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and will be held virtually over Zoom or by phone. The 2021 proposed budget increases the tax levy 2.03 percent largely making up for lost revenues in city services.

The council adopted an ordinance relating to another ordinance approved in September which restricts vehicles from parking in front of a mailbox during mail delivery hours. The amendment sets the fine for the offense at $30 and increases that to $40 after five days. 

District 5 Alder Luke Fuszard brought the ordinance to the council for consideration at the request of one of his constituents. The ordinance aligns with state statute which prohibits vehicles from parking within four feet of a mailbox and is enforced Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 

Language in the ordinance indicates parked vehicles often interrupt mail delivery at residential dwellings with private alleys or no driveway.

The council also amended an ordinance regulating the use of electric vehicles in the Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy. 

The ordinance continues to restrict any motorcycle, go cart, snowmobile, or other motor driven vehicle from being driven or parked in any conservancy except in designated parking areas.

Bicycles, electric bicycles and electric personal assistive mobility devices are also restricted except upon pathways designated for such use. The amendment adds electric scooters to the list as well.

The nonprofit organization Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy penned a letter to the Conservancy Lands Committee and Public Lands Staff in support of the ordinance.

The letter indicates increased usage of electric scooters and bicycles on the conservancy trails and requests the city go further by restricting all classes of electric bicycles. Overall uses and users of the trails have grown and are beginning to come in conflict, the letter states.

It also asks that the city revisit the designated areas and consider recommendations from the organization. 

The letter also comments on a proposed ordinance which would regulate the use of motorized toy vehicles, which includes radio controlled aerial vehicles commonly referred to as drones. The use of such vehicles would need to be approved by the city on a case-by-case basis, which the group says would effectively prohibit the use of drones.

The letter states conservancy volunteers use drones to map invasive species for removal efforts. The conservancy is also a big draw for hobbyist photographers and videographers who are interested in aerial imaging. The organization requested the council review its recommendations before adopting the opposed ordinance.

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