SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – On March 2, 2022 a group of 13 Moab ATV businesses and the BlueRibbon Coalition filed a Notice of Claim to Grand County to challenge recently enacted restrictions on ATV rental and ATV outfitter and guide service businesses. On March 3, 2022 the same group of claimaints filed a similar Notice of Claim to Moab City. On March 3, 2022, the Utah Legislature also passed HB 146, which provides an important check and balance to unreasonable local ordinances that were designed to harm ATV businesses in Moab and will provide immediate relief from some of the most oppressive elements of these ordinances.
Through the spring and summer of 2021, Grand County and Moab City enacted business license restrictions on ATV-related businesses that included limiting the number of business licenses, requiring additional identification, creating maximum sound pressure levels, limiting the number of ATVs traveling together, requiring education of customers, making business owners liable for the actions of their customers, and threatening revocation of business licenses for non-compliance.
Each of the businesses has documented damage to their businesses as a result of these ordinances. BlueRibbon Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit that fights for expanded recreation access for all forms of outdoor recreation – including motorized recreation. The claimants argue that these statutes are not consistent with Utah law and undermine fundamental rights.
HB 146 will prevent the implementation of almost all of the most oppressive elements of the Grand County and Moab City ordinances, but much damage has already been done. The claimants live in and support the local community in Grand County, and they have voluntarily made adjustments to their businesses to be better neighbors and mitigate noise impacts. The claimants are looking forward to participating in any public process to update local ordinances to make them compliant with HB 146 once it is signed by the Governor.
“It is common for local elected officials in Utah to proclaim the virtues of local government control,” BlueRibbon Coalition Executive Director, Ben Burr said. “However, local control is still control, and there is nothing virtuous about using the oppressive power of government to intentionally harm the livelihoods of hardworking Americans. The government in Grand County has overreached by enacting unreasonable ordinances. In doing so they have caused tangible harm to these local businesses, their customers, and their employees.”
“Epic 4X4 Adventures strives to be good community members,” Jennifer Johnson from Epic 4X4 Adventures said. “We will continue to support our community through good business practices that enhance quality of life in Moab. However, when local government weaponizes government ordinances to destroy businesses, jobs and a huge segment of the local economy we must let them know abuse of power will not stand. We regret it has come to this, but many, many hours working with Grand County Commission and Moab City Council only resulted in passage of illegal and burdensome ordinances designed to ensure compliance is all but impossible.”
“High Point is doing everything it can and will continue to make things quieter at an organic level,” Lori McFarland from High Point Hummer said. “We will continue to educate customers and make every effort to continue to keep things quieter. We live here, we want to coexist in peaceful communities.”
The Notice of Claims estimate damages caused to these businesses to be in excess of $1,000,000 as a result of lost wages, bookings, revenue, sales, inventory, and employees.
BlueRibbon Coalition has established a legal defense fund to support this legal action in order to protect outdoor recreation around Moab and access to the surrounding public lands for motorized recreation: https://secure.anedot.com/blueribbon-coalition-sharetrails/Ride-Moab