07/17/12 Well, we won’t be seeing any golf carts on County roadways in the near future.  After a public hearing during the Marshall County Commissioner’s meeting Monday there was an impasse between the three commissioners and no action was taken.

President of the Commissioners, Kevin Overmyer explained that a few years ago state legislators gave cities and towns the right to enact ordinances pertaining to golf cart using public roadways.  On July 1st a new law went into effect allowing county governments the right to enact ordinances to govern their usage on county roadways.

Last month the commissioner approved on first reading an ordinance that would restrict golf carts to specific roadways, mainly in lake communities.  Commissioner Jack Roose said, “I have heard from a lot of people who feel they are being excluded because they don’t live around a lake.” He continued by saying, “They pay taxes and help maintain roadways.” Roose spoke of hazards such as bike riders, ATV’s, walkers and runners, and snowmobiles that drivers should always be aware of.

A dozen people spoke during the public hearing including Marshall County Sheriff Tom Chamberlin who said he has concerns of putting golf carts on roadways where vehicle are traveling 55 mph.  He also noted that coming up against a slow moving vehicle such as a golf cart is a potential for an accident.  He requested only allowing carts on roadways where the speed limit is posted at 35 mph or less.

Marshall County Coroner Bill Cleavenger also spoke and said, “If permitted I would suggest roadways where the speed limit is 20 mph.  I would make it extremely restrictive and limit times of operation and require lights, including a strobe and a slow moving sign.”

Several citizens from the county’s lake communities were on hand and primarily spoke in favor or golf carts on all roadways.  Leo Watson read a statement which said golf carts are an attractive transportation solution and are more visible that bicycles.

Suzie Norwich who lives on 16C Road near Culver has a golf cart and has had it insured for the last two years.  She said on her roadway she sees people riding horses, runners, and small children on bikes.   She is in favor of golf carts on all county roadways.

Bruce Carter lives on 16th Road and is against golf carts on roadways.  He said he has seen carts in Culver with 6 or 7 kids hanging of the golf carts.  He said there will be more accidents if approved that will result in more injuries.

Commissioner Jack Roose motioned to allow golf carts on all county roadways but it died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Greg Compton motioned to only allow carts throughout the county but only on roadways with a speed limit of 35 mph of less.  His motioned died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked Roose if he would consider amending his motion to exclude golf carts on Michigan Road and Lincoln Highway.  Roose refused and Overmyer said, “It looks like we are at an impasse so no carts will be allowed on county roadways.”

Following the meeting Overmyer said he expects the issue to come back up at the next commissioner’s meeting for consideration again.  He is hopeful that they will find some common ground and move some form of a golf cart ordinance to a vote.