Starke Commissioners Approve Second Reading of Golf Cart Ordinance

The Starke County Commissioners yesterday morning held the second public hearing regarding a proposed golf cart ordinance regulating the use of the vehicles on county roads. The commissioners opened the public hearing and heard comments and suggestions from the public, including a concern regarding the use of golf carts on County Road 625 E between Toto Road and Bass Lake.

Because the road has a speed limit of 45 mph, but the ordinance only allows for the use of the vehicles on roads with speed limits under 35 mph, golf carts would not be able to drive on the road, hindering their ability to be used to travel to and from the lake. Commissioner Kathy Norem explained that there will be no exemption made for that road, but residents can request to have the speed limit on the road lowered to accommodate golf carts.

Norem mentioned other concerns that had been brought to her before the meeting, such as a request to strike the portion of the ordinance requiring the golf carts to have brake lights, a request to remove the 11 p.m. curfew for golf cart operators, and to include ATVs and other utility vehicles. Norem explained utility vehicles are already included in the ordinance.

Norem emphasized that the primary reason for this ordinance is to ensure the safety of residents, drivers and golf cart operators, and she said she would be comfortable with the idea of changing the definition of “utility vehicles” in the ordinance to allow for vehicles incapable of speeds greater than 30 mph.

To accommodate this change, County Attorney Martin Lucas recommended holding off on the third reading of the ordinance to allow time for residents to voice their opinions on the proposed change. The commissioners approved the ordinance on its second reading and will hold the third and final reading at the next regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 21.