The voters have approved an ordinance amendment allowing the use of snowmobiles inside the Whitehall city limits, but now the details of the routes will be determined.
At last Tuesday’s city council meeting, the city council approved the appointment of three of its members to a committee who will serve with City Manager Scott Huebler, Police Chief Roger Squiers, Public Works Director Brian Armstrong and City Attorney Rodger Sweeting.
The three council members appointed are Orville Smith, Jim Bartholomew and Tanya Cabala
Voters in the Nov. 6 election approved an ordinance amendment to allow snowmobiles to operate in the city from Dec. 1 through April 1 between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. on routes designated by the city council.
A tentative committee schedule calls for a meeting this week to draft an ordinance which would include the designated routes, and a presentation of that draft to the White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and public review.
The schedule anticipates a presentation for adoption to the city council at its Nov. 27 meeting, a required publication of the new ordinance on Dec. 2 and an effective date of Dec. 12 for the new ordinance to take effect.
Cabala called the schedule “ambitious.”
“Yes, that is ambitious,” replied Mayor Mac Hatch.
“We want to do it as fast as we can,” added Mayor Pro-Tem Edd Whalen.
City Manager Scott Huebler told the council there already is the impression that snowmobiles are now legal since the ballot issue passed.
Whitehall business owners John Dillivan and Josh Chamberlain said the ordinance change allowing snowmobiles will have a positive impact on local businesses.
Chamberlain, who owns Gary’s Restaurant in Whitehall, said his business benefited from snowmobilers when it was located in neighboring Montague. “We had many snowmobilers in for breakfast and lunch.”
Dillivan, who said he is a snowmobiler, offered to work with the committee in coming up with designated routes.
A Whitehall resident who is a member of the Whitehall planning commission, Steve Salter, told the council he is concerned that the route was not published before the vote, and people will think they can ride anywhere. He also challenged the supporters that allowing snowmobiling in the city will prove to be an economic benefit.