Local News

Monday, Jul 07 2014 08:38 PM

Council hears report on mountain bike path

Tehachapi city council approved a number of items at its July 7 meeting, including the go-ahead for the city staff to seek out potential partners for a down-hill gravity mountain bike path.

Assistant City Manager Chris Kirk presented an update at the council, detailing the progress thus far. According to Kirk, consultants from Gravity Logic had come down to take a tour of the area as part of assessing whether Tehachapi could benefit from a gravity mountain bike path.

The idea was proposed last year by city staff as another way to expand its quality of life. The concept revolves around a series of bicycle paths that would allow potential visitors to use a lift to access high points of the trail and then blast down a trail on a bicycle.

Kirk said it would be one of the only parks open year-round in the United States.

The city council has authorized $25,000 set aside for the next stage in the project, or directing staff to look at potential partnerships in order to develop and find funding for the project.

Kirk acknowledged that the project will need partnerships and revenue to be successful. It has already looked at a number of sites within and outside the city limits.

Before calling for a motion, Mayor Phil Smith noted the economic benefits such a mountain bike park could generate, as well as potential investments for the city's businesses.

The city council approved staff to go ahead with its goal to find suitable partners and continue development efforts up to $25,000.

The city also finalized a repeal of a past ordinance to stave off potential lawsuits.

City Attorney Tom Schroeter, in his report, recommended the council repeal an ordinance adopted in 2010 that was a stricter version of a California state law that prohibited any registered sex offender from loitering within 300 feef of a public or private school, park, school buss stop or similar facilities.

Two court decisions ruling that such local ordinances could not be enforced, and that it fell to the state to mandate such laws. Following the rulings, a group called California Reform Sex Offender Laws issued letters to several cities, including Tehachapi, saying it would sue if the municipalities did not rescind the ordinances.

Schroeter recommended the council revoke the ordinance, as the city would likely lose a lawsuit. It would also be responsible for any of the suing organizations legal fees, in addition to its own.

The city attorney also noted that retired Police Chief Jeff Kermode had stated no one had ever been cited under the Tehachapi ordinance.

Council voted 5-0 to remove the ordinance from the city municipal code.

See an expanded version of the story in July 16's print edition and online.

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