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Golf cart ordinance no hole-in-one

NORTH LIBERTY– Looking for a fuel-efficient way to tool around North Liberty?
Don’t buy a golf cart just yet.
The North Liberty City Council put off the first reading of an ordinance that would allow golf carts to be driven on city streets, last Tuesday, Aug. 23.
They just aren’t completely sold on the idea.
In April, a resident of Goose Lake Circle requested that council consider allowing golf carts to be street legal. At that time, the council directed city staff to review what other cities had on the books for golf cart use in town.
After visiting with the communities of Solon, Ely, Carson, Runnels, Palo and Hopkington– all of which have golf cart ordinances but much smaller population counts– City Attorney Scott Peterson drafted an ordinance for the council’s review. Iowa law allows licensed drivers to operate golf carts on city streets in municipalities that provide such an ordinance. Iowa code says golf carts on city streets must be equipped with slow moving traffic signs, bicycle safety flags and operate on the streets only from sunrise to sunset.
Other larger Iowa cities that have current golf cart ordinances include Algona, Forest City, Clive (for disabled persons) and Ft. Madison, among many other smaller communities.
But last Tuesday was the first time the North Liberty council had opportunity to discuss the issue, and there remained too many questions on the safety, possible restrictions, equipment requirements and other factors for the council to reach a quick consensus– or even a belabored one.
City Administrator Ryan Heiar said the ordinance before the North Liberty City Council outlined what city staff considered the pros, cons and minimum restrictions for allowing golf carts on city streets.
Council discussion rolled from general safety to possible street exclusions, whether other types of slow moving vehicles would be included– such as mobility carts– and requiring extra equipment like lights, turn signals and seat belts.
Several councilors asked for the subject to return to the agenda, but councilor Terry Donahue suggested the ordinance appear on the agenda for its first reading at the next council meeting of Sept. 13.
“Let it be voted on, up or down,” Donahue said.
The public hearing will be held just prior to the council’s discussion and first reading. People will be allowed to offer comments on the subject at the public hearing, or submit comments to the council members and city admiinstration prior to the public hearing.