UPDATE: Third reading of Golf Cart Ordinance passed by Belpre Council
BELPRE, Ohio. (WTAP) -
Belpre City Council’s Golf Cart ordinance passed it’s third reading.
At the Belpre City Council meeting on Monday night, the third and final reading passed with a total of 4 votes to 3, which is the same margin from the first vote back on June 14.
On Monday night, a narrow four to three vote pushed an ordinance forward that would allow golf carts on Belpre streets.
Councilman Bill Lock, the current leader of the golf cart push, said of the ordinance, “This is a very contentious piece of legislation.”
The ordinance doesn’t mean that golf carts would have free range like cars. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to cross Route 50 nor would you have access to major roads. You also wouldn’t be able to drive on streets with speed limits over 25 miles per hour.
This would make golf cart access to utilities like gas stations and most pharmacies impossible but Lock says that’s not the point.
“It’s recreational. It’s not intended for that.”
Utilities, however, weren’t the only concern brought up.
Belpre Police Chief Terry Williams says, “From a police standpoint, we look at it as a safety issue. I mean we deal with wrecks every day and some of them are just absolutely horrible.”
Lock sees it differently. He says, just like with motorcycles and bikes...
“Every individual is responsible for their own safety.”
Williams, however, says there is a difference.
“We don’t want to lose one person and, like I said before, with a golf cart you might have your family on there and you could wipe out the whole family.”
Bikers also usually wear helmets.
Still, Lock says he is also committed to the safety of Belpre citizens.
“There were several amendments made to address concerns brought up by city individuals and our local law enforcement and we endeavor to please both groups of people and integrate the safety into this bill.”
One amendment limits street golf cart use to Belpre citizens to avoid heavy traffic. Another is you can’t cross Route 50 and the inspection fee was raised from $25 to $45.
Still, Williams says there is no amendment he can think of that would change his opinion on the bill.
Lock says yearly inspections as well as titling and licensing golf carts will be a requirement. There will be a specific garage with experience in golf cart inspections which will be designated for that.
When it comes to enforcement, Lock says that will be left for law enforcement.
The bill has not passed yet. Its final reading will be on June 28th.
Lock says most of the details of the ordinance were figured out in 2019 meetings led by another council member. It was supposed to gain ground in 2020 but the pandemic put a halt to it.
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