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Spencer Board of Aldermen approve golf cart use

By Amanda Raymond
amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SPENCER – The Spencer Board of Aldermen has approved an ordinance allowing the use of golf carts on Spencer’s streets.

The ordinance will become effective Feb. 11.

The board met Tuesday at 600 S. Salisbury Ave.

Police Chief Michael James presented the ordinance to the board. He said after meeting with golf cart owners and researching the issue, he wanted to develop an ordinance that was as easy to comply with as possible.

“My greatest fear ,” James said, “was that one of our citizens be in a golf cart that didn’t have liability insurance, someone be injured seriously, spend a month or two in the hospital and we all know what those hospital bills would be.”

The policy statement of the ordinance states the town does not advocate or endorse the use of golf carts on town streets and the ordinance was created “in the interest of public safety.”

Under the new ordinance, only one person would be allowed per golf cart bucket seat or two people per bench seat, no driving would be allowed on sidewalks or on the Stanback Forest’s walking trails, and no parking would be allowed in handicapped parking spaces unless the proper handicap placard was displayed.

Golf cart drivers would also be subject to a yearly registration and inspection, during which a copy of the driver’s liability insurance would have to be presented. Drivers would also have to sign a waiver of liability for the town.

The carts are required to have three-inch reflectors and head and tail lights, brake lights and turn signals would be required if driving at night.

Seat belts, reflective triangles, rear-view mirrors and audible reverse warnings are all recommended but not required.

There would be no charge for the registration or stickers, but replacement of lost or stolen permits or stickers will cost $5 if no record of a previous application or receipt of the permit or sticker can be found.

Alderman Kevin Jones asked how the inspections would be done.

James said the drivers could visit the police department or officers could go out to the driver’s house. James said there are only about 16 golf cart drivers in the town, so it would not be much of a burden for the department to perform the yearly inspections.

Jones also asked if an inspection is needed at all if a golf cart driver only drives in the daytime, but Chief James said he would still like the department to use the inspection to check the driver’s insurance and check if the cart is in good driving condition.

Mayor Jim Gobbel asked when the permit stickers would be ready for citizens.

“Hopefully, we’ll have it ready for warm weather,” he said.

James said they will likely be available before the warm weather months.

The board approved the ordinance and set the effective date at 60 days from Tuesday to allow time for the stickers to come in and for people to get their golf carts registered.

In other business, the board:

  • Heard departmental reports. Police Chief Michael James urged citizens to lock their car doors because there has been an uptick in vehicle thefts. Joel Taylor, from the Streets Department, said letters of interest have been sent to engineering firms for the Fourth Street storm water improvement project. He also said the final walk-through of the Stanback Forest went well and the trail from Spencer Avenue to the Eighth Street Park is ready to walk on.
  • Heard a report from the Reid Walters, town manager. He said the town has received notification of Transportation Alternative Program funding for improvements to intersections at U.S. Highway 29 and Isaac Street, Highway 29 and Anne Street, Highway 29 and Ninth Street, Highway 29 and 10th Street, Highway 29 and 11th Street and Highway 29 and Spring Hill Street.
    Walters also said the Community Appearance Commission was granted a $2,000 grant. The commission asked for $8,000, so Walters will discuss possible options with the Arts Council and Community Appearance Commission in the next month.
  • Recognized retiring members of town boards and commissions, including Edward Hull from the Zoning Board of Adjustment; Craig Powers, Ron Gerlock, Robert Smith, Meredith Williams and Robert Reece from the Planning Board; and Corrine Okun and Jim Norman from the Historic Preservation Commission.
  • Approved amendments to the duties of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Planning Board members and Board of Adjustment members will be the same and the Planning Board will be able to perform all of the duties of the Board of Adjustment.
  • Appointed Richard Randall, Jonathan Williams, Jim Sain, Ruby Steele, Lauren Raper, Megan Varner and Craig Powers to the Planning Board.
  • Appointed Reid Walters as the Technical Coordinating Committee representative and Troy Powell as the alternate and Mayor Jim Gobbel as the Technical Advisory Committee representative and Alderman David Smith as the alternate.
  • Certified the firefighter’s roster.
  • Approved a personnel policy amendment to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a town employee holiday.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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