Keeping with the holiday spirit, the Manchester City Council has granted a one-time exemption that will allow select ATV/UTVs in the downtown area in order for them to participate in a popular annual holiday event.

The local ATV/UTV club, Delaware County Roads to Trails, had requested permission to operate on normally restricted streets after dusk on Dec. 2 in order to bring five decorated vehicles to be included in the Chamber’s Window Walk and Static Christmas Parade.

While the council stated it had no issues with the club wanting to participate in the community event, safety was its number one concern, especially given the pedestrian-heavy nature of the static parade.

Before making its decision, the council turned to Manchester Police Chief Jim Hauschild for his opinion.

“As long as their lighting meets minimum requirements by law, I think for a one-time event we’d be OK,” Hauschild said. “It’s a big event that draws a huge crowd and I think they should have a right to participate just like everybody else.”

The five vehicles the club is looking to showcase during the parade all belong to club members who live in town, so they would be able to take a direct route to the downtown, park and then drive back home immediately following the event’s end.

To keep this one-time exemption in check, the council has established a very limited scope on when the ATVs can actually be driven — from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hauschild said his department has recently stepped-up enforcement regarding ATV usage in town, mostly emphasizing education on when and where they can be operated, especially after seeing an uptick in the number of vehicles appearing in the restricted downtown area.

But Hauschild wanted the council to know the vast majority of drivers that are not following, or are not aware of the rules, are not members of the ATV club.

Club members, he said, are a valuable asset in the effort to get everyone familiarized with the city’s ATV ordinance.

“The club pushes really hard for people to follow the rules and they’re great members of the community,” Hauschild said.