The Monroe City Council is asking the committee responsible for reviewing transportation and public safety issues to weigh in on wheeled all-terrain vehicles.

The discussion was initiated at the Oct. 10 meeting and revived last Tuesday. About half a dozen residents turned out to speak up at the most recent meeting for allowing WATVs to be driven on city streets. Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer presented and gave his opinion on the topic.

“I urge you not to go forward with this idea; we have nice trails, (and) parks that currently do not suffer from abuse from WATVs, so why invite it in?” he said at last month’s meeting. “When this bill was proposed to the state Legislature, it was offered as a way to reduce ATV abuse and provide accountability for the misuse of the ATVs. We do not, nor do I recall ever having those issues within the city of Monroe.”

Quenzer said he reviewed material sent in ahead of the October meeting from Amy Bleam. The 31-year Monroe resident contacted the city in August, and came that night to ask the council to initiate “a fair and open ordinance process” that could lead to legalizing the use of WATVs in town.

She said the vehicles are safe and regulated; that was largely the purpose of state code adopted in 2013. They have the potential to stimulate economies through increased patronage of lodging, restaurants and gas stations by opening up certain roadways, and are fuel efficient and low impact, she said.

In Washington, cities are able to decide if the wheeled all-terrain vehicles can operate on local roads, according to council documents. The WATVs are mostly restricted to traveling routes where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.

If approved for use in Monroe, the city would have to develop and publish a list of authorized roadways, according to the documents.

Councilmember Jason Gamble, who disclosed he owns a side-by-side, said he would be in favor of considering an ordinance. He said there have been times he has been without a car for a short period, such as when it’s in the shop. It would have been convenient to use the WATV in the meantime.

“If it’s a licensed citizen and legal vehicle, it’s a state law — I am just feeling why don’t we at least take a look at this,” he said.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, WATVs must be registered, driven by someone with a valid Washington driver’s license, and be inspected by a licensed WATV dealer or motor vehicle repair shop.

Linda Driscoll, who owns Premier Polaris in Monroe with her husband, said she came to speak on behalf of her thousands of customers. She was also a part of the statewide collaborating groups that worked to get the bill that allows for on-road use passed.

Driscoll supports people choosing which street-legal vehicle they drive on the road. She said restricting access comes down to a matter of opinion, but the state says they are legal. Meeting Washington’s registration requirements is no easy task, she said.

Councilmember Kirk Scarboro said before adopting anything he believes administrators at the Monroe School District, especially at the high school, should have a chance to comment. He said they could potentially have students who choose to drive the vehicles to school.

Councilmember Patsy Cudaback asked if the city could enforce a higher age limit, such as allowing no one under the age of 21 to drive one in town. Quenzer said the city has the ability to design an ordinance to fit any guidelines on who is allowed to operate and where.

He also brought up concerns about the dangers of interactions between dump trucks, which have a history of collisions with small vehicles — especially in Monroe’s roundabouts — and WATVs. The potential of impeding traffic flow, the lack of policy pertaining to insurance liability and taking courses to be certified to drive the vehicle — as one would a motorcycle — were also discussed last Tuesday.

At the end of the conversation, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Rasmussen directed staff to bring the topic to the Transportation/Planning, Public Works, Parks & Recreation and Public Safety Committee, so they can explore what regulations, if any, would be best for Monroe.

The primary purpose of the committee is to review and advise upon matters of policy assigned by the council involving the physical and economic development of the city, wrote Monroe’s City Administrator Deborah Knight in an email. They also address planning for transportation systems and facilities, also involving public health, welfare and safety, and infrastructure, she wrote.