If a proposed ordinance is adopted, residents living near DeHaven Park will be able to legally drive golf carts and utility vehicles on two county roads.
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Monday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. to consider the ordinance, which would make it legal to operate golf carts and utility vehicles on Beach Drive and Waterview Lane, within a quarter mile of the park. The ordinance, however, would require the vehicles follow state guidelines for operation of such vehicles on state roadways.
Gary Buckner, a resident of Beach Drive, says some residents are already operating golf carts and utility vehicles on public roads when traveling between their homes and the park. However, he said the vehicles pose a safety issue and shouldn’t be allowed on public roads.
“It’s unbelievable how fast kids fly off that hill,” Buckner said, adding that the biggest problem is children operating the vehicles. He noted that the fire department has a dry hydrant in that area, so it is dangerous to have carts sharing the road with fire trucks.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble out of four-wheelers,” Buckner said. “There are no license plates on them, so it’s my understanding they have no right to have them on the road at all.”
Buckner said he has been calling law enforcement about problems with the carts being driven on public roads for the past two years, but “they tell me they can’t correct it if they don’t catch” the cart operators in the act of operating a cart on the road.
He questioned how an ordinance would help because “if (law enforcement) hasn’t been able to control them the last two years, how are they going to now?”
County Administrator Peter Huber pointed out that the proposed ordinance would require the operator of such vehicles to have a valid drivers license to operate them on a public road. He said that should take care of the problem of children having them on the roads.
“A lot of these are 16- and 17-year-olds who don’t have a job,” Buckner responded.
Supervisors Chairman Joe Sheffey told Buckner no ordinance can be enacted until a public hearing has been held to receive citizen input on the matter. He suggested Buckner and anyone else having objections to the ordinance speak at the hearing.
Under state code, golf carts and utility vehicles must meet certain requirements to be operated on public highways, including:
• They can only be operated on roads with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less;
• The operator must be in possession of a valid driver’s license;
• All vehicles must display a code-conforming slow moving vehicle emblem; and
• The vehicles can only be operated on the road between sunrise and sunset unless they are equipped with lights that meet state code requirements.