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Springfield to take another turn at golf cart ordinance

POSTED: January 26, 2012 5:10 p.m.

Springfield’s work on a golf cart ordinance is back on the table.

City Manager Brett Bennett said the city may revive the golf cart ordinance it shelved after initial reports of the impact of a state law passed last year. But what  those effects were may have been misconstrued across the state, according to the Georgia Municipal Association.

“They made a separate classification for high-dollar golf carts,” Bennett said of the legislation that went into effect Jan. 1. “Everything is back on the table that we had taken off the table.”

Golf cart makers — the state is home to some of the biggest in the country, including Club Car, E-Z-Go and Yamaha — had asked for the legislation, according to Bennett.

Club Car, based in Augusta, makes a line of what it calls “low-speed street legal vehicles. Rival E-Z-GO, also based in Augusta, has two- and four-passenger street legal personal vehicles that are similar in size to golf carts. Yamaha, with a production facility in Newnan, also produces what it calls personal transportation vehicles.

“The golf cart makers approached the Legislature about creating a separate class for those vehicles,” Bennett said.

The GMA has said that the new law does not require golf carts be allowed to operate on residential streets, nor does it force municipalities to pass an ordinance preventing golf carts from being driven on city streets.

The state’s definition for a motorized cart, according to information from the GMA, is “strikingly similar” to the definition for personal transportation vehicles.

The GMA has drafted two model ordinances for cities wishing to regulate motorized carts. For personal transportation vehicles, driver’s licenses, registration and insurance are required under state law. For motorized carts, there are no requirements for a driver’s license, registration or insurance.

According to the GMA, the state’s golf cart manufacturers wanted to distinguish the new lines of personal transportation vehicles from golf carts already in use for personal purposes. They also wanted to make sure that people who have older vehicles classified as motorized carts could still use them where they were allowed on roads.

“Golf carts are still golf carts,” Bennett said. “There is no change there; no registration is required.”

Springfield City Council members will review the golf cart regulations at a Feb. 7 workshop.

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