RUSSELL The Russell City Council teed up an ordinance that would allow residents to drive golf carts on city streets — with some exceptions.
The council passed a first reading of the measure last week after taking a mulligan.
Council members had already given initial approval to a slightly different ordinance that would’ve charged golf cart drivers $50 for a permit. But Councilman Ron Simpson pointed out Monday that other Kentucky cities charge far less. Councilman Butch Meadows said he felt a $50 fee would be too burdensome on residents already in a hole. The council then elected to take a drop and agreed to lower the fee to $25, thus forcing the need for a new first reading of the golf cart ordinance.
Councilmen Mike Whitt and Dave Kersey cast the only no votes after the details were ironed out. Councilwoman Esther “Sissy” Shaffer was absent from the meeting.
The driving range for golf carts includes all Russell city streets except Bear Run Road, Russell Heights Drive, Diederich Boulevard (Ky. 693) and a portion of Monroe Drive near the hill if the ordinance gains final approval. U.S. 23 would also be exempt.
One resident voiced concern during the meeting that Bellefonte Circle would not be included on the exemption list, based on his experience seeing cars speeding down the street. But Bellefonte Circle remained on the list of approved roadways.
The move by Russell to legalize golf carts on the streets is becoming par for the course in the region. Russell’s neighbor in Ironton, Ohio, passed a similar ordinance in 2013. The city of Greenup approved golf carts on most streets in 2011.
Kentucky cities have been allowed to legalize golf carts on city streets — no matter the distance to golf courses — since 2010.
Drivers in Russell would need a license and insurance — in addition to the $25 permit — and cannot drive on streets at speeds of more than 35 miles per hour.
Another means of travel — skateboarding — remains outlawed on city streets and public property in Russell. The council approved the controversial skateboard ban this summer, citing concerns about safety after several residents — including Mayor Bill Hopkins — said they’d nearly struck skateboarders on the roadways.
The Russell council may put the golf cart ordinance into law at its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 27.
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