Golf-cart decision delayed, again

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For the fourth month in a row, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners delayed a decision on a request from two business owners on the south side of the Pamlico River for an ordinance that would allow their customers to drive golf carts between the two locations.
“My intention was it would be an up or down vote tonight,” said board Chairman Jerry Langley. “But nobody wants to vote tonight.”
Langley’s comments came after Commissioner Hood Richardson said the description of the roads supplied to the board were not clear enough for the panel to enact an ordinance. Instead, the commissioners appointed a committee that will try to address their concerns over the use of golf carts on state-maintained roads while meeting the needs of those businesses and community groups seeking county approval for their use.
Interest in the use of golf carts to drive short distances in Beaufort County and other surrounding counties has grown in recent years, and several communities have enacted ordinances permitting their use in certain circumstances.
The owners of two businesses catering to vacationers on the south side of the Pamlico River approached county leaders some four months ago asking for an ordinance that would allow their customers to drive golf carts over a half-mile route that connects their businesses.
Frances Bradley, owner of Campground on Blounts Creek, and Jimmy Daniels, owner of Cotton Patch Landing on Blounts Creek, have told the commissioners that their customers want to use golf carts to drive the short distance on the two dead-end roads between their two businesses because parking spaces for cars is limited.
The delay in enacting an ordinance continues to hurt their businesses, the two have said.
On Monday, the Cypress Landing Homeowners Association also approached the commissioners seeking an ordinance that would allow homeowners in that community to drive golf carts on state-maintained roads.
State law gives county boards the authority to authorize the use of golf carts on public roads in unincorporated areas of the county where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. The law also stipulates that golf-cart drivers must be at least 16 years old.
But the county board has been reluctant to act on the issue, citing safety concerns and the lack of information they need to make a decision.
Commissioners Stan Deatherage, Al Klemm and Jay McRoy were appointed to a committee to work with William Mayo, lawyer for the board, and interested residents to develop an ordinance.