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Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Celina golf cart ordinance rolls along

Legislation would let multi-use vehicles travel on city streets

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City council members at Monday night's regular meeting advanced on a 5-2 vote legislation to permit "multi-use vehicles," including golf carts, on city streets where the speed limit is 25 mph or slower.
On the ordinance's second reading, councilor Mark Fleck joined his colleague Myron Buxton in voting against the proposal. After the meeting, Fleck said he had fielded many calls from residents concerned about safety and other vehicles that would be allowed to use city streets such as Rangers, Razors and Gators.
Fleck said he may vote for the ordinance on its third and final reading at the next regular council meeting at 7 p.m. July 10, depending upon any additional feedback from the public in the meantime.
Buxton also voted "no" on Monday night. At the last regular meeting, he had said he feared the potential for deadly accidents involving golf carts and other vehicles.
Other city officials, too, had voiced safety concerns at the previous meeting. City law director George Moore, though, added language to ease those worries, notably those of police chief Tom Wale, requiring multi-use vehicles to have seatbelts and child-restraint seats for each child occupant as required by Ohio law.
Councilors also added amendments including a provision giving Wale discretion to revoke multi-use vehicle permits if the driver violates any regulations in the ordinance.
Councilors briefly discussed multi-use vehicles that are capable of exceeding 20 mph. The ordinance defines multi-use vehicles, in part, as under-speed vehicles "with an attainable speed on a paved level surface of not more than 20 mph and with a gross vehicle weight rating less than three thousand pounds." They include Rangers, Razors and Gators, with a bed to transport material or cargo; and mini-trucks, a four-wheeled vehicle propelled by an electric motor.
Officials agreed that drivers of multi-use vehicles driving above 20 mph could be pulled over and ticketed by police. Also, drivers found to have "modified" multi-use vehicles enabling them to travel at faster speeds could ultimately have their permits revoked by Wale.
Wale also made it very clear that multi-use vehicles would be regulated like any other vehicle and unlawful operation will not be tolerated. Operators found to be under the influence, driving recklessly or violating any other traffic law can expect to be cited and prosecuted, he said.
The legislation was drafted in response to a request from mayor Jeff Hazel, who had said that a resident had asked him if he could drive his street-legal golf cart in town.
Though permitted by state law, golf carts must also be allowed by a municipality to use its streets.
Hazel had said city administrators are not necessarily taking a position on the matter. They've simply heard from residents who are asking the reason why they can't drive licensed golf carts in Celina while people in Fort Recovery and Rockford are allowed to do so.
Multi-use vehicles would need to pass a police inspection before being allowed onto city streets. During inspection, the owner would need to present a valid driver's license, proof of insurance and a $25 inspection fee.
Out-of-state multi-use vehicles would not be permitted on city streets.
All multi-use vehicles would need to be equipped with brake lights, taillights, headlights, turn signals, white rear license plate light, horn, rearview mirror, windshield, brakes, steering mechanism, seatbelts, child restraints if applicable and appropriate tires.
A violation of the ordinance would result in a minor misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $100.
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