Fayette County’s interns have been working hard on a project that has the potential to link up the county’s cart path with a unified golf cart ordinance.
As Fayette County continues to move toward becoming the nation’s first countywide multi-use path network provider, the necessity to interconnect the ordinances and requirements of the various jurisdictions is becoming more important. The situation is especially acute along the Peachtree City and unincorporated county border.
Right now, each municipality - with Peachtree City standing with the most in-depth- has its own rules governing golf carts which often not only don’t align but frequently can cause problems for drivers.
“It’s difficult to travel between jurisdictions with the changing age restrictions and, more than that, is significantly confusing for parents of Starr’s Mill School Complex students, since students here come from both Peachtree City and the unincorporated county,” said intern Jason Girolami.
“Unlike their counterparts at nearby McIntosh High School whose specially designed parking lots fill up with hundreds of golf carts daily, the students at Starr’s Mill face a different set of regulations because the school is located in the unincorporated county,” Girolami. “There are two different age restrictions.”
And the differences can become extremely confusing, not to mention costly if the rider receives a citation.
Peachtree City’s rules say that persons age 16 or older, with or without a driver’s license; persons 15 years old with a valid learners permit in their possession; persons 15 years old with no learner’s permit must be accompanied in the front seat by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or a person age 18 or older with a valid driver’s license; persons 12, 13, or 14 must be accompanied in the front seat by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian.
In Fayette County, drivers must be age 16 or older who possess a valid driver’s license. Any person with a learner’s permit and is at least 15 with a person is accompanied in the front seat by a person who possesses a valid driver’s license and is at least 18 years old.
In Fayetteville, only those who hold a valid driver’s license can drive a motorized cart, which doesn’t include seniors who no longer have a driver’s license. Tyrone’s rules of the cart path are pretty much the same.
Additionally, there’s the problem of recognition of specific registrations within the districts.
“People can be fined for not possessing the proper registration in other jurisdictions, making it impossible for some people to travel between the county and cities.”
And, says Girolami, those registration decals are important, making it easier to help with crime related to theft of golf carts and their recovery.
In Peachtree City, a decal must be purchased with 10 business days of the date of purchase. Similarly, in Tyrone, the vehicle has to be registered within 10 days of purchase, at the town police department and a decal is issued. Fayetteville’s rules require the cart to be registered with the city before it can be operated and the permit has to be renewed on an annual basis, but there are no decals required.
Fayette County has no registration process.
Girolami’s suggestion was to unify the code with each municipality using Peachtree City’s ordinance as an example.
“Peachtree City has had the same system for many years and it’s proved its worth.”
Fayette County, he noted, needs to consider registering golf carts and, along with Fayetteville, start issuing decals. And, he added, all jurisdictions should enact a “reciprocal agreement to travel countywide.”
“After consulting with the county attorney, we have concluded that our recommendations are indeed possible. The process would take around six months for the attorneys of various jurisdictions to look at blending the ordinances together.”
Residents from local subdivisions- Ashley Forest, Brandon Mill, Brechin Park, Breckenridge, Brierfield, Farrington, Goza Woods, Highgrove, Horseman’s Run, Jefferson Woods, Millpond Manor, The Chimneys, The Landings, Vickery Lane, Wellington, Whitewater Creek, Woodcreek, The Preserve, Timberlake and New Haven subdivisions have contacted the county on creating better golf cart access for high school students going to Starr’s Mill.
“We need to do something to move this forward. These young adults are not aware when they go from zone to zone. If the sheriff is sitting there, they are in violation,” said David Kozusko, who noted residents in his subdivision have been battling this for the past 14 years.
Resident Lara Dial, who lives in Whitewater Creek, said one of the biggest issues arises for students who can’t drive themselves to school and don’t know where the line is.
“So many kids have had that issue just crossing over and then they’re in Fayetteville. It’s just too confusing; it would make it much easier if it were the same.”
Whitewater Creek resident Scott Fabricius said he thinks the county ought to consider encouraging a greater use of golf carts.
“These rules have to be changed. Right now people are using roads to cross in an unsafe manner. Areas can be adapted to utilize golf carts.”
Ultimately, the commission opted to have interim county attorney Dennis Davenport begin the process of talking to other jurisdictions to consider a reciprocal agreements.