Darren Doyle, story and photos
Several residents from the Nolin Lake area attended Monday night's fiscal court meeting (July 25, 2016) to show their support of passing a county ordinance to allow the use of golf carts on public roads within their subdivision developments.
According to state law, it is currently illegal to operate a golf cart on a state or county roadway. Many members of the Cave Hollow Bay Homeowner's Association were in attendance and voiced their support for an ordinance to be passed.
"We're simply looking to bring golf carts up to low-speed vehicle standards," said Charlie Peck, president of the association. "We're not looking for any special treatment."
Homeowners in lake area subdivisions and developments say it's much easier to travel from their homes to neighboring homes and docking areas in a golf cart than in regular vehicles.
After discussing, all magistrates said they would be in favor of an ordinance allowing golf carts within subdivisions. Judge Cannon said even if the court approved, it would still take some time before everything about an ordinance could be finalized. It would first have to be drafted and more than one reading would likely take place. He said at minimum, a final signed ordinance was still several weeks out.
Some in attendance questioned whether or not they would be hassled by local law enforcement for simply riding a cart to a neighbor's or down to the water until an ordinance was passed.
Sheriff Shane Doyle assured the citizens that his office tries to use practical ideas when enforcing the law and said his office would support such an ordinance in the event that cart drivers used good judgement. “We’ve always tried to apply common sense and the intent of law," Doyle said. "I know you're all good people and as long as you're not driving recklessly on a cart, or allowing underage drivers, we're not going to be looking to write golf cart tickets until an ordinance is passed."
Another homeowner asked that if an ordinance was passed and their carts were driven at dark, “Will we have to have lights, turn signals, and all these other things? We've heard that.”
Doyle said according to state law, yes. Another driver asked if side-by-side ATV's be included in a golf cart ordinance, to which Doyle replied no. The ordinance would only allow golf carts, but that side-by-side ATV's can already be allowed on public roads as long as they meet all legal road requirements, such as proper lighting, license plates, registration, car insurance, etc.
One homeowner asked if one could currently drive golf carts on private roads with no ordinance. County Attorney J.B. Hines said yes, but legally could not cross public roads to get to another private road while on a cart.
Hines said he would begin the proper steps in preparing the first draft for a golf cart ordinance to allow legal use of carts within subdivisions only and it would be brought up again at future fiscal court meetings.