Chester residents will be allowed to use utility task vehicles -- commonly known as UTVs -- on city streets, provided the vehicles are licensed with the city, following adoption of regulations by the Chester City Council on Oct. 1.
Under the new rules, UTV drivers will be required to pay a $50 annual licensing fee and will be issued a numbered sticker for their vehicle. In addition, all UTVs will be required to pass inspection by the Chester Police Department and must have seat belts, working blinkers, headlights, taillights and brake lights.
Licensed UTV drivers will only be able to drive on city streets, but will be able to legally cross state routes within the city at intersections only.
A number of residents spoke in favor of allowing UTVs on the streets during the council meeting.
Aldermen Dan Ohlau, Donnie Clark and Ray Allison voted no on the issue. In a previous meeting, Clark said he was concerned about their speed and that the rules forbidding state route travel would not be strictly followed.
Many communities around the region, such as DuQuoin, have passed similar ordinances, according to Mayor Tom Page.
Chester Police Chief Ryan Coffey noted at a previous meeting that he has no problem with their use, but police will ticket UTV drivers for infractions of the laws.
The ordinance does not include golf carts or all-terrain vehicles, which are smaller than UTVs, usually hold only one to two passengers, and are primarily used for recreational purposes.
The council also approved an ordinance requiring all new businesses in town to obtain a one-time business license at a cost of $50. Page noted the new licenses would only apply to new business, and existing ones would be grandfathered in.
"This won't be a revenue causing situation," Page said. "It's just a good way for the city to be aware of all businesses in the community and also for the city to obtain appropriate and accurate contact information."
A license application would ask for the business name, number of employees, tax ID number, business type, and goods and services. The licenses would also assure the business has all the proper certificates required by law.