Rhinelander accepting public comment on three proposed new ordinances
By Lori C. Adler, reporter
At last week’s Rhinelander City Council meeting, city administrator Daniel Guild announced the drafts of three proposed city ordinances are available for public input. Potential new ordinances on ATV/UTV usage, sex offender activity and residency, and bullying and harassment were drafted by Guild and can be accessed on Rhinelander City Hall’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RhinelanderCityHall).
An ordinance outlining ATV/UTV usage inside city limits was drafted after many conversations between Guild and other cities in the area and a review of area ordinances already in place. The draft for Rhinelander includes many aspects of other area ordinances including rules and regulations, nuisance and noise levels, and liability to the city. Routes through the city and any prohibited streets or areas will be determined after public input and city council discussion. Also to be determined are any additional fees or registrations that would be required to operate on city streets.
Sex Offenders Activity and Residency
Creating an ordinance on sex offender activities and residency can cause constitutional challenges, according to Guild, if it is felt to infringe of rights of others so it must be considered carefully. The scope of the ordinance would cover activities disallowed within city limits by registered sex offenders such as distributing Halloween candy or dressing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny in public. The ordinance would also establish zones around parks and playgrounds, schools, or other areas where children congregate. Registered sex offenders would then be in violation of the ordinance is they were found within a predetermined proximity of these areas. It would prevent residency for registered sex offenders within these zones as well.
Bullying and harassment
Alderperson Andrew Larson had recently suggested a possible ordinance regarding bullying and harassment since he felt there was nothing in place if these offences occurred off school property. Guild stated as well that there is a small movement among area cities to pass anti-bullying ordinances. The draft proposal would include parental responsibility for children participating in bullying activities.
Anyone wishing to comment on these draft ordinances can do so through Facebook or email to the city administrator, mayor, or city council members. For a more formal method to react to the proposals, the public is asked to use an online tool called Polco (www.polco.us). Polco allows residents and non-residents of Rhinelander to review and comment on public issues, and the city is hoping to continue utilizing this tool into the future. Polco is free to use but does require registration using an email address or Facebook or Google log in information. The site uses voter rolls to confirm identity, but while City officials will be able to view comments made, users will not be identified to the officials. People can therefore express their feelings on issues anonymously. No specific comment period has been determined, but these draft proposals are just a starting point for discussion on these issues.