Spring Hope sets public hearing on golf cart rules | The Enterprise
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Spring Hope sets public hearing on golf cart rules

Posted on March 29, 2021

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The Spring Hope Board of Commissioners is set to hold a public hearing Monday on whether the town should adopt tighter rules on golf carts like this one pictured in the downtown district earlier this month.

Lindell J. Kay | Enterprise

The Spring Hope Board of Commissioners is set to hold a public hearing Monday on whether the town should adopt tighter rules on golf carts like this one pictured in the downtown district earlier this month.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

SPRING HOPE — The town Board of Commissioners has teed up discussion on golf cart regulation for next week’s monthly meeting.

Commissioners putted around a possible ordinance during their March 1 meeting. They sent the final draft to the planning board for review and are set to hold a public hearing on the matter Monday.

The planning board recently determined the proposed ordinance to be consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan, reasonable and in the public’s interest.

“The central issue to be considered regarding amendments is whether the proposed amendment advances public health, safety or welfare,” according to wording in the planning board agenda as prepared by town staff.

The draft ordinance states that the town doesn’t advocate or endorse the operation of golf carts by allowing their use on town streets.

“All persons who operate or ride upon golf carts on designated roads do so at their own risk and peril and must be observant of and attentive to the safety of themselves and others, including their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The town of Spring Hope has no liability and assumes no liability under any theory of liability for permitting golf carts to be operated on designated public roads pursuant to the statutory authority of N.C. General Statute 160A-300,” according to the draft ordinance.

The ordinance calls for golf cart operators 18 and older to hold a state-issued identification card, while operators who are 16 and 17 must hold a valid driver’s license.

The ordinance has an exception for golf cart use in connection to a parade, festival or other special event with permission from the chief of police.

Golf carts will be allowed on town streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph, and the carts must not exceed 30 mph. Carts can only be driven after sundown if equipped with operational headlights and taillights.

A $5 registration fee will be due at the beginning of each year. Operators must provide proof of ownership, liability insurance and a waiver of liability.

The final draft contains not just the proposed regulation, but application forms for cart registration and a waiver of liability.

Discussion began during a budget meeting last year when Commissioner Ricky Tucker asked about carts driving around town late at night.

“At midnight, I saw kids driving around a golf cart,” Tucker said. “I’d hate to see them get hit by a car.”

At last month’s town meeting, Police Chief Nathan Gant said he reviewed similar ordinances from other towns and cities before drafting Spring Hope’s proposed ordinance from scratch.

A golf cart is defined in state statute as a “vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph.”

N.C. General Statute 153 allows local governments to require the registration of golf carts; charge a fee for the registration; specify who is authorized to operate golf carts; and specify the required equipment, load limits and the hours and methods of operation of golf carts.

Nothing stops a town from adopting stricter policies.

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