By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
The action took all of about three minutes last week, as Clark County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an ordinance officially making Moapa Valley friendly to Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use.
The OHV-friendly designation has been sought by community leaders for a long time. For five years or more, Partners in Conservation (PIC) Administrator Elise McAllister, of Moapa, has headed a special taskforce to make key local roadways legal for OHV use. The goal was to allow access to and from public lands on the periphery of the community.
“It happened so quickly,” McAllister said of the Commissioners’ action. “After all these years; and just like that – it is done! We are so happy!”
The Ordinance specifies nearly 100 county roads in the Logandale/Overton communities as officially designated for OHV use. Because of limitations in working with state officials, the state highway (Moapa Valley Blvd) was not included on the list. But most other county roads are. And state law allows OHVs to cross the state highway to get from one side to another. So, supporters say, the ordinance accomplishes the goal of allowing OHV riders on public lands to access various points of interest in the community.
“It will be a tremendous boon for our commercial sectors to be an OHV-friendly community,” said Moapa Valley Town Advisory Board member Marjorie Holland, who was in attendance at the County Commission meeting. “It will help in reviving regional tourism back to the community and it will assist in our community revitalization efforts.”
“The Commissioners should be commended for recognizing that things are different out in rural areas and for allowing some differences in county code for our areas,” Holland said.
McAllister also gave much of the credit for passage of the Ordinance to Commissioner Tom Collins and his staff.
“This NEVER would have happened if Commissioner Collins and his right-hand woman, Janice Ridondo, had not heard the frustration of the town board and decided to take on this issue,” McAllister said. “After years of banging our collective heads against a wall, they stepped in and made it happen in about six months!”
While the ordinance affords new legal leeway to local residents, it is not without important limitations.
“It is now our responsibility to learn and abide by this new ordinance,” McAllister said. “We need to discuss concerns and ask questions as a community, so that each of us is educated to follow this ordinance.”
McAllister listed off several requirements that are still necessary to travel OHVs, even on newly designated roadways. Riders on roadways must possess a valid driver’s license and must adhere to all applicable laws The law also requires that helmets be worn by all riders. No more than the approved number of occupants, per vehicle design, should be riding in the OHV. Vehicles also must be equipped with the appropriate and functioning headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps and reflectors and they must also have a muffler in working order.
McAllister also emphasized that another main rule to follow is that OHVs should travel slow enough along roadways to avoid kicking up dust. Speed and safety were concerns that the commissioners had voiced in earlier meetings on this Ordinance, McAllister said.
“This ordinance is actually just a trial, not only for Moapa Valley, but for other rural communities in Clark County,” McAllister said. “We are the first community in the county where it is being tried. If the commissioners or Metro hear legitimate complaints about too much dust, this ordinance can be revoked. So it is important for everyone to watch their speed and to remind others to do so as well.”
McAllister suggested that if OHV riders will limit speeds to no more than 10-15 mph on the designated roadways, then dust is usually not an issue.
Another limitation in the ordinance is that not all roads have been approved for OHV travel. First and foremost in that category is the state highway. According to State law, OHVs are only allowed to use state highways if approval is granted by Nevada Department of Transportation. That approval has not been given for State Route 169.
In addition, not every County road is included in the list of approved roadways. Copies of that list are available at the Northeast Clark County Office in Overton or by emailing to PIC at firstname.lastname@example.org, McAllister said.
Another regulation still in place, states that there is no riding OHVs on a public sidewalk. Also, riding on the shoulders of approved roads is only for travel to and from public land.
“Other travel such as to get the mail or drop off kids at school are not approved,” McAllister said. “Also, travel for more than two miles along a paved road that is designated for OHV use is not allowed; again such is stated in state law.”
The new ordinance will officially go into effect after it is signed, recorded and published in a legal newspaper. That process is expected to take 3-4 weeks.