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Ordinance change allows Berkeley County sheriff to seize ATVs

May 14, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Commission on Thursday adopted changes to the county's all terrain vehicle ordinance to clarify the sheriff's department's authority to seize ATVs that violate regulations on where they can be operated and the allowable amount of noise they generate.

The amendment provides the sheriff's department the authority to confiscate an ATV that is used in violation of the ordinance for up to six months, unless there are pending criminal charges or civil forfeiture proceedings or both, according to the revised ordinance.

A second change incorporated state code regarding rules that require ATVs to have a spark arrester and a muffler that must be connected to the vehicle's exhaust system, according to commision attorney Norwood Bentley III.

"A lot of people drive those things without the muffler, and state law requires that they be attached," Bentley said.

The ordinance prohibits the operation of ATVs in Berkeley County on any road, street or avenue, or on any county-owned property. The regulations can not be enforced in a residential subdivision in the county that has not petitioned the county to authorize enforcement of the ordinance.

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As of Thursday, homeowners associations in 34 subdivisions have asked the county to enforce the ATV ordinance in their community, according to an attachment to the regulations.

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