City of Union

Union is reconsidering how it issues permits for utility vehicles.

Currently, each person who drives a utility vehicle, or UTV, is required to get a permit from the city, even if multiple people use the same vehicle. The city is considering changing the system from a one-time permit to limiting permits to three years.

“It would allow us to go back and check their insurance and driver’s license again,” City Administrator Jonathan Zimmermann said at the April 19 city parks, buildings, development and public service committee meeting.

The permits are approved by City Clerk Jonita Copeland but reviewed by Police Chief Andrew Parker, who said he has turned down permits in recent years because the driver is not meeting the definition of a UTV.

“I’ll ask them what the purpose is, and if they don’t tell me it’s primarily for landscaping, lawn care or maintenance purposes ­— if it’s for recreational purposes, I’ll deny it,” he said.

UTVs differ from all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) because ATVs will typically have seating for one person, but UTVs will have side-by-side seating.

Alderman Bob Schmuke said the rules can be confusing, admitting he was pulled over himself for not having a reflective triangle on the back of his UTV, even though it has reflectors and brake lights.

Zimmermann said the city’s permit system is based on state law.

The issue is expected to be taken on by the full board of aldermen, which will consider the three-year renewal period. The month in which the permits must be renewed would be determined by city staff.

Permits cost $15, which is mandated by state law.

Union has 28 permitted UTV drivers currently.

Even though the discussion was called about UTVs, its focus drifted to ATVs.

“We do have some ATVs in St. Andrews Place that are not doing recreation. The kids are running around on them,” Alderman Karen Erwin said.

Zimmermann said no permits are issued for ATVs, and they shouldn’t be on the road, but that is difficult to enforce.