Golf cart use on Bloomfield streets draws discussion, but no action
Discussion turned to the pros and cons of legalizing golf carts on the streets of Bloomfield during its town council meeting on Tuesday.
The topic was brought up by a Bloomfield resident during the meeting's public participation forum.
Town Council President Eric Harrah explained that currently mopeds and scooters can be legally used for transportation within the town limits, but golf carts and four-wheelers are prohibited.
"Probably by not having golf carts we could possibly be penalizing responsible adults because kids who are 14-years old can ride around on a scooter anyway," Harrah explained.
Town Marshal Ken Tharp said that the current town ordinance would allow him to impound a golf cart that was driven within the town limits.
According to state statute, golf carts are considered recreational off-the-road vehicles, Tharp noted.
In the past, Harrah stressed his main concern about legalizing golf carts had a lot to do with non-licensed kids driving them.
The same resident also inquired whether or not golf carts could be driven in the upcoming Apple Festival Parade--which is scheduled for Sunday.
Former Town Marshal Bob Richardson joined the conversation and said, "We've had four-wheelers (in the parade) before."
Tharp then explained, "I think the parade is a special event in town and it would be kind of overlooked…if the Apple Festival approved you to be in the parade then you can be in the parade."
Harrah explained, "I see both sides. I was mostly against it in the past…but only looking at bad things that could happen…"
Council Member Gary Swinney agreed with Harrah and explained that the council's past decision to not allow golf carts on the streets was based entirely upon the cons.
The decision was originally made when Swinney, Harrah and the late Russell Basye made up the council, Swinney noted.
Tharp also stressed that allowing golf carts to be legally driven in town would call for writing a whole new book of codes for violations.
Another con noted by Tharp was possible insurance rate increases.
"I'm looking at the big picture," Tharp added.
Harrah also requested some feedback from those at the meeting.
He asked if those in favor of passing a golf cart ordinance would be willing to pay a registration fee and if so what fee would fee feasible.
The majority of those at the meeting agreed that paying an annual fee would be acceptable. Some suggested that the fee be as low as $25.
Harrah stressed that some towns require an annual fee as high as $140 for golf cart registration.
Some towns also require an annual safety inspection of all golf carts, he said.
No action was taken on the golf cart discussion.
Harrah as well as those in attendance were happy with the matter being brought to the table.
"If you do it (legalize golf carts) do it the right way," Harrah stressed--noting that the discussion was a great opportunity to hear from the public on the idea.