Albemarle postpones vote on golf cart ordinance

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Albemarle Police Chief Jason Bollhorst reported to city council members Monday that he and Assistant Chief J.T. Cranford had reviewed a draft of an ordinance originally presented in 2017 which would permit the use of golf carts on city streets that have speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less.

The ordinance would require such vehicles to be registered with APD, and to be properly insured and inspected. Operation at night would require lights, and an orange “slow vehicle” triangle would be recommended, although not required, to be affixed to the rear of the cart.

“With a few minor administrative changes, the ordinance as proposed in 2017 would still be appropriate today,” Bollhorst said.

Albemarle residents John and Deborah Allen spoke in favor of permitting carts, with fellow Albemarle resident Pat Bramlett expressing safety concerns with allowing such vehicles.

Councilman Chris Bramlett, Pat’s husband, cited three statements from the proposed ordinance as contradictory.

“The proposal states that allowing golf carts would ‘expand mobility to persons who do not operate automobiles,’ ” he noted. “But it also requires that operators of carts have a driver’s license. It also reads that use of carts would be limited to 35 mile-per-hour streets, but carts are not to go over 20 miles per hour.”

Bramlett continued by reading from the proposal, “And finally, it states, ‘This ordinance is adopted to address the interests of public safety. And, it states, golf carts are not designed or manufactured to be used on public streets, and the city in no way advocates or endorses their operation on public streets and roadways.”

“But if we approve this, we would indeed be endorsing their use on public streets,” he concluded.

Hall noted that Councilman Dexter Townsend, who had asked that the proposed ordinance be reconsidered, was absent from the meeting.

Councilman Chris Whitley added that two council members (Councilman Bill Aldridge was also absent) were not in attendance, and asked if the vote could be delayed to the first meeting in May, after which a motion and second to do so was passed unanimously.

In other business, the council:

● Approved abandonment of the North Sixth Street right of way between East Oakwood and East Cannon avenues;

● Approved a vacate and close order for property at 142 S. Morrow Ave.;

● Approved naming of a new section of street from the end of Henson Street through the Albemarle Business Center as “Albemarle Parkway;”

● Received the 2023 Albemarle Police Department Annual Report; and

● Entered closed session to discuss confidential/privileged information, to consult with the city attorney, to discuss economic development and to discuss personnel.

The next regular meeting of Albemarle City Council will take place on May 6.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.