PUBLIC COMMENTS • A large crowd attended a public hearing to discuss proposed amendments to Mona City Code concerning ATVs.
By Myrna Trauntvein
A public hearing about a proposed amendment of Mona City Code 6-2 concerning the noise of certain vehicles within city limits and related matters drew an interested and verbal crowd of 47 on Tuesday.
“There will be no comments from the council or myself,” said Bill Mills, mayor. “Please come up to the mic and give your name. You will be timed and will be allowed three minutes each.”
In addition, he said, those interested may email or text the city office with comments.
Residents offering comments were: Joshua Davis, Janice Boyd, Wade Woolstenhulme, Jeff Walker, Kerry Lynn, Dan Woodland, Cory Ballow, Heath Hanson, Janae Kay, Janette Southworth, Brady Kay, Kurt Shelley, Mike Jensen, Stacy Peterson and Jana Hardy.
The consensus of all who spoke was that the ordinance in place should be enforced and that the issue should be about safety and not noise. Many said they would rather have the young outside than stuck in front of electronics inside.
Davis said he thought there was some miscommunication because he saw nothing about speeding in the proposed ordinance. Noise from motorcycles was specifically being called out.
“If noise is the main concern, the Razor 1,000 is as high in decibels as a dirt bike,” he said. “If people will not speed, it will be quieter.”
He said that not every single thing needed to be regulated and if noise was the problem then the town should worry about barking dogs and bleating goats.
Boyd said that a dirt bike reached 95 decibels and a truck reached 100. It was the speed limit that should be enforced not the noise. [According to the CDC, noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage hearing.]
“What percentage of Mona is concerned about noise?” she asked. “Mona is growing. Have them [complainers] go to mediation.”
Woolstenhulme said he would like to echo what had been said. When he was asked if he liked living in Mona he would reply that he loved it. He loved the rural feel.
He invited people to think back to when they were young and would run around town.
“We do have laws on the books,” he said.
The laws should be enforced. If someone gets two or three tickets, it will get around town and people will slow down.
“If it involves my kids, I will stand behind the officer,” said Woolstenhulme.
Walker said that he lived by the Lynns, who are racers, and it had never, even once, bothered him. The thing that did bother him, and that should be outlawed, was dogs that barked all day and night. There was a remedy that was available if people were bothered.
“Go talk to your neighbor,” he said. “Give them a phone call.”
Lynn said that when he was a boy it was illegal to ride a motorbike in town. Those who did and were caught were ticketed. What happened was that kids started running from the cops. Teens didn’t want tickets so they evaded law enforcement. One Mona boy, 15, died when he tried to evade police, crashed on the railroad tracks, became injured and later was hit by a train and killed.
“He was one week away from 16,” said Lynn. “These kids have to have something.”
He did believe in obeying the law and his family suited up in safety gear, wore helmets and followed the speed limit. As a family, they race motorcycles.
Last year, a son was hit by a side by side and broke his arm.
Lynn thought that the question should be put on the ballot and residents’ majority opinion should be valued.
Woodland said that as he read through the proposed ordinance, he found that it seemed to be the city was more concerned about noise than safety. The people who lived on his street had a bigger concern than OHVs because they had semi trucks traveling back and forth all the time. In addition, there were shift workers who traveled the road.
“We live in a small town,” said Woodland.
He had contemplated buying his kids a motorbike. In a rural community, what else were young people to use to get back and forth to feed cattle and do agricultural chores?
If he couldn’t have the freedom in a rural community to ride horses and etc., he would live in Callao.
“There are a lot of kids that do ride fast,” said Cory Ballow.
There were seven kids in Mona who were national champion racers. Those kids went out of town to practice in the areas around town that were available for that sort of riding.
Diesels that used the city streets made much more noise than young people on motorcycles or using OHV (Off-Road Vehicles) about town.
Hanson said that his family had moved to Mona from Salem because the rules in Salem got out of hand. A guy and his son, for example, were working on a derby car. There was a complaint and police stepped in. The over-regulation opened a Pandora’s Box with many complaints coming in on a constant basis.
As a boy, he ran from the police, he said.
“In Salem, it went from bad to worse,” said Hanson. “We don’t have a noise problem in Mona, we have a speed problem.”
Enforcing a noise ordinance on everyone in Mona would be impossible, he said. If a young person became arrogant, then an officer should be called.
J. Kay said that she agreed and thought that the motorcycle noise was no more than the noise from dogs around town.
“We need a program for little kids,” she said.
All youth needed to learn to ride. The 14-year olds trying to pop wheelies needed to know that 15 mph was basically crawling and that was what she told her family. There were not speedometers on dirt bikes, she said. To the youth, the speed limit was slow. It was like an old lady’s putt-putt speed.
“We need to get a program for kids to teach them and we need to make sure they are all here,” she said. “At the ATV class, there were like five there.”
She said her kids had not been a problem because they were taught about speed and took the safety classes mandated by the state.
Southworth read from the proposed ordinance and said it did not make sense. Those traveling 100 North were in cars and trucks and were speeding.
“Flipping rocks is not safe,” she said.
B. Kay said that stating “your kids are not a problem” is the first fatal flaw. His seven-year-old daughter was being taught. Once, he had her follow him in a full-sized side by side when he had needed to drop off a vehicle. They needed to learn.
“We are getting off-side on the topic,” he said. “If kids are going too fast, a cop has to enforce the law.”
Parents needed to teach children to think about their neighbors and adults also needed to be thoughtful.
He was glad to see so many out at council meeting.
Shelley said he grew up in Provo. If someone saw his kids going too fast, they should tell him. As for mufflers, he said, any purchased muffler would be louder than stock. Any muffler approved aftermarket would be louder so he was not certain about that portion of the ordinance. If the current ordinance was not enforced, why change it?
“The current ordinance should be enforced,” he said.
Jensen had moved from Spanish Fork one year ago and said it was louder there. He had been mentoring youth for 12 years and had operated a motor shop for eight years. Bikes needed a spark arrestor to quiet them. A spark arrestor replaces the muffler on a 4-stroke or silencer on a 2-stroke. Factory mufflers were not quieter and emit a high-pitched noise.
He has five to seven teen boys working with him and he teaches them about bikes and how to live their lives. When he was a teen, he had very little guidance and may have ended up in the drug scene if it had not been for bikes.
“Give tickets to the bad actors,” said Jensen. “I would be happy to teach classes for the city youth.”
Peterson lives on a four-way stop corner. Kids and noise were not the problem but adults and those driving vehicles who did not obey the law were a big problem. Many sped and did not stop at all.
“I get all the noise,” said Hardy, “and I love it. The world has gone crazy.”
She said that young people could put on a helmet and ride. Those riding were having fun, they were not sitting at home and were not depressed. There were so many restrictions in their lives that it was good to have them have something to do that gave them some freedom.
“Our lives matter. Right now there is no freedom, and the kids riding all go home at night, but we have a million chickens all running free.”
She grew up in Provo and wanted the youth in Mona to be able to grow up as kids.