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Golf cart ordinance under scrutiny

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By Emory Williamson

Local residents may be able to drive golf carts on public roadways in Oldham County despite safety concerns after all.

After a 7-to-1 vote by members of the Oldham County Fiscal Court June 15, a red light was issued concerning a proposed ordinance to permit the use of golf carts on public roadways in Oldham County.

But not so fast.

Fourth District Magistrate Steve Greenwell said the Kentucky General Assembly recently revised the original golf cart ordinance and the court will discuss it at the July 7 fiscal court meeting.

Members of fiscal court were initially against the original ordinance, but became confused upon receiving word from Oldham County Attorney John Fendley that – with proper equipment on the golf cart – they may qualify as slow-moving vehicles, similar to that of a lawn tractor.

Greenwell said Fendley’s comments regarding slow-moving vehicles will also be discussed at the meeting.

Oldham County Police Lt. Col. Billy Way said the issue should be clarified due to “bad information” with the initial ordinance and everything regarding golf cart use in Oldham County should be “crystal clear” by the July 7 meeting.

“If you want to ride a golf cart on the road, you don’t need an ordinance,” Way said. “The ordinance would only make it more 

restrictive.”

Greenwell, the lone supporter of the original ordinance, said he was approached by homeowners in the Crystal Lake subdivision seeking to permit the use of golf carts in their neighborhood.

Yet, the other seven magistrates – including Fifth District Magistrate Iva Davis – were less enthused concerning the original ordinance and voted against the proposal, citing issues with the safety of permitting golf carts on public roadways.

“I think it’s very unsafe to have golf carts on the road,” Davis said. “I just think it’s a bad idea.”

Based on the ordinance, the golf carts must be operated by licensed drivers and must be within five miles of a golf course and on roadways with speed limits under 35 miles per hour.

Greenwell said the issue wasn’t sufficiently discussed in the meeting and that’s a possibility as to why it didn’t obtain more support.

Other fiscal court members cited not only safety concerns, but sought to restrict the ordinance to specific neighborhoods. However, the ordinance states that it must be issued county-wide and cannot be exclusive to individual circumstances.

Way said in order for drivers to operate a golf cart on the road, the vehicles require – among other things – turn signals, brake lights, headlights, seat belts and an inspection. 

He said of the three golf carts he’s aware of in the area – including La Grange Mayor Elsie Carter’s $4,000 E-Z-Go golf cart – none are in compliance with regulations.

E-mail us about this story at: emory@oldhamera.com