Public hearing on Polk golf cart ordinance Monday

Published 11:43 pm Sunday, January 21, 2018

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Board of Commissioners is strongly urging residents to give opinions on whether the county should regulate golf carts on some roads in the county with speed limits of 35 mph or below.

A second public hearing will be held on Monday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice of the Womack building in Columbus.

Commissioners have been discussing the possibility of regulating golf carts after being requested from residents on Green River Cove Road. Commissioners held the first public hearing on Jan. 8 and heard from five residents and received one email, with comments for and against the county regulating golf carts.

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Commissioners decided a couple of weeks ago to have attorney Jana Berg draft an ordinance and make copies to give out to the public so residents can follow along as they make changes. The county is considering allowing golf carts on requested roads that are 35 mph or less in unincorporated parts of the county. Discussions have included whether to require safety equipment and lights, what times of day to allow them, which department would inspect them and insurance requirements. If approved, golf carts would only be allowed on roads posted 35 mph or less and drivers would need to have a driver’s license.

Green River Cove Road residents have requested the county regulate golf carts to make it cheaper on residents. The state already allows the use of golf carts on any roads 35 mph or less, but the golf cart has to be inspected with a VIN number, with residents saying getting the VIN number cost $2,600.

The county received a petition earlier this month with 46 signatures in favor of the county regulating golf carts. Commissioners have said they prefer to have residents petition the county to have roads added, not to make it a county-wide ordinance.

The Town of Tryon and City of Saluda currently regulate their own golf cart ordinances for use within the downtown areas, with each having certain restrictions. Columbus does not regulate golf carts.

The public hearing Monday will be the first item on the agenda at 7 p.m.