EAST PALESTINE–Council met for a Safety Park Recreation and Cemetery meeting (SPRC) Monday evening to discuss permitting golf carts on public streets in the village.
Police Chief James Brown III offered insight from law enforcement perspective. He told council he is unlikely to grant leniency when inspecting the vehicles.
“I’m not going to say its ok for Mr. Walker to have no turn signals but tell Mr. Cohen that he has to have those turn signals,” Brown said.
Brown said the department would collaborate with highway patrol for inspection trainings.
Brown and Parks Committee Chair Alan Cohen have been studying golf cart ordinances in other municipalities as a layout tool regarding golf cart usage for the village.
Council determined renewing golf cart registration on a yearly basis is best considering the presence of used golf carts along with unfamiliarity of the vehicles.
“Wear and tear in one year on a golf cart, or any vehicle for that matter, can be tremendous,” Councilman Flay Stewart said.
Council member Jim Hall believes registration can be extended at a later date.
“I think we are opening the flood gates here is what we are doing,” Council member Mark Walker said.
Due to limitations in Ohio revised code regarding law enforcement for low-speed vehicles Brown suggested specifying types of vehicles in the ordinance.
“You’re asking us to enforce the laws specifically for golf carts but you are telling the other people with these other low speed vehicles that you are not allowed to do it (enforce the laws),” Brown said.
Writing specific details regarding low-speed vehicles would give the police department an advantage to prevent occurrences like go-karts being driven on public streets.
“There’s two things we can cite them with — operating on a street that has posted a higher speed limit than they are allowed or simply you’re in violation of this revised code because the village of East Palestine has not authorized these on any street,” Brown said.
Brown pointed out logistics getting various types of vehicles towed is complicated.
“I’m glad that you are including me in the discussion anyway because there is a lot of things that we have to do between now and then,” Brown said.
Brown said he believes the village is capable of creating the best ordinance for everybody.
The ordinance is planned to take effect next spring; however, it is likely to take longer.
“Maybe we are not quite there yet in terms of other things that need to be discussed,” Cohen said.
Cohen wants council members to continue researching and creating drafts regarding the golf cart ordinance.
“I think we are bringing more harm to this community than good,” Walker said.
A concerned guest said golf carts have no safety standards and a high rate of accidents and deaths.
“There are no crash test standards, either,” said Walker. “It’s suicide.”
The ordinance is tabled until an SPRC meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 13.
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