Spencer tables discussion on golf carts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SPENCER — No regulations were set on driving golf carts on the streets of Spencer on Tuesday night, but there may be some in the future.

During the Spencer Board of Aldermen meeting, the board discussed the conditional use of golf carts on Spencer’s streets.

Alderman Kevin Jones was not at the meeting.

Alderman Mike Boone asked that the item be placed on the agenda and said the board would only be discussing the subject, not taking any action.

Boone said he looked over China Grove’s ordinance on golf carts, but Spencer would have to tailor its rules and regulations to fit the town.

“I believe this would prevent future problems just like the scooter laws, for example. Of course it doesn’t have to be that complex …” he said.

Police Chief Michael James was asked to provide some information about the state’s law on golf carts. He said the state requires the person operating the golf cart to be at least 16 years old and the speed limit must be obeyed when 35 miles per hour or less, which applies to the whole town of Spencer.

He also said the board does have the authority to regulate golf carts in the town.

James said the greatest cost for golf cart owners would be to add brake lights and turn signals to their carts, if the board required them.

“I don’t know of a golf cart collision that we’ve had here, but I think the question is do we want to be proactive and aggressive and do something about it,” James said.

Mayor Jim Gobbel said he and his wife have considered buying a golf cart. He said “Spencer is a great candidate to be a golf cart community,” but wants to make sure the town is following state laws.

“… If the mayor of Spencer is going to drive a golf cart on our streets, I want to be in compliance with North Carolina law, and anybody else should want to, law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Alderman Howard White said he wanted to be sure that the citizens were involved with the discussion.

“There’s a few (golf carts) that run around in my neighborhood. It’s good to see them out and about. You see the people getting together. I mean, we also want to encourage our citizens to get together with each other,” he said.

Earlier during the public comment section of the meeting, a few citizens voiced their opinions on the golf carts.

Tim Witkowski said he and his wife drive their golf cart to local restaurants and stores. He said he has not gotten any negative responses.

“Everybody in my neighborhood with golf carts and other neighborhoods that we go to, they all use them and drive these things in a very reasonable way …” he said.

Former mayor Jody Everhart said he also drives a golf cart and encouraged the board to get different ideas and have a good discussion before making any decisions.

On the other hand, Jerry Smith talked about the stores that have closed and moved away since his time in Spencer and thought the board should focus on economic development rather than golf carts.

The board decided to table the item to allow the police department and town staff to gather more information.

In other business, the board:

  • Discussed the Housing Code Ordinance draft. Land Management Director Troy Powell will bring the draft back to the board at a later meeting once lawyers have a chance to examine it.
  • Approved the Spencer Woods Conservation Easement.
  • Set the date for a community forum for Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.
  • Approved a property liens for properties on South Rowan Avenue, Fifth Street, Third Street, and South Yadkin Avenue.
  • Approved a contract with Square Clover and allocated $12,500 to update the town’s phone system, an item that was added to the agenda during the meeting.
  • Went into a closed session to discuss an economic development matter.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.