Albemarle City Council OKs usage of golf carts on city streets

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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At its Monday meeting, Albemarle City Council approved an ordinance that would legalize the use of golf carts on specific streets in the city.

The action, which had been delayed from the board’s second meeting in April, requires that citizens obtain a permit from Albemarle Police Department to operate the carts, which are not to exceed 20 mph and which are limited to streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph and below.

“I think we need to either set hours of dusk to dawn, or require lights on these golf carts,” said Mayor Ronnie Michael as Council discussed the ordinance, leading to an explanation of the differences between low speed vehicles (LSVs) and golf carts by APD Chief Jason Bollhorst.

“LSVs come from the manufacturer with all required equipment and a vehicle identification number,” said Bollhorst, “so the DMV will license that vehicle. Golf carts do not have the required equipment or a VIN.”

In response to a question from Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall, Bollhorst also explained the difference in speed regulations for LSVs and golf carts.

“An LSV is not to exceed 25 mph; a golf cart is not to exceed 20 mph,” he added.
Councilman Chris Bramlett registered safety concerns using the verbiage of the proposed ordinance.

“This ordinance is adopted to address the interest of public safety,” read Bramlett. “Golf carts are not designed or manufactured to be used on public streets.”

Councilman Chris Whitley moved, with a second by Councilman Dexter Townsend, that the proposed ordinance be accepted, along with the addition of requiring headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals for permitted golf carts.  Bramlett, then offered an amended motion, seconded by Hall, that golf carts be prohibited from use on First Street, Second Street and Main Street.

Upon vote, the amendment failed 4-3, but the original motion passed 6-1, with Bramlett casting the dissenting vote.

In other business, the council:

● Approved an economic development incentive for Project Temper 24, which will expand a local industry and bring 36 new jobs.

● Rezoned a 4.52-acre parcel on North Third Street from Light Industrial to Residential Office.

● Rezoned a parcel on Morningside Avenue from General Highway Business to R-6.

● Were introduced to new city staff members Christina Brown (Administration) and Danielle Dobbs-Jackson (Parks and Recreation)

The next regular city council meeting will take place on at 6:30 p.m. May 20 at City Hall.

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