Cart regulations irk golfers
Mayor: Turning blind eye better option
May 13. 2014 6:00AM
The Dell Rapids City Council legalized the use of qualifying golf carts on municipal roads last December, but several residents who live near the golf course think the policy is too burdensome.
Ordinance 781, adopted by the council on a 7-1 vote on Dec, 16, 2013, made legal the operation of golf carts on city streets in Dell Rapids if the owner purchased a permit from City Hall, provided proof of insurance and equipped the golf cart with a slow moving emblem and a blinking amber light for night travel.
About a dozen Dell Rapids residents who live near Rocky Run Golf Course gathered at City Hall last week where the city council heard a list of grievances about the requirements associated with obtaining the $25 permit.
“I’m not firmly convinced that the council or staff had adequate information to create or adopt the ordinance that effectively balances the legislative intent, the responsibility of the city and the needs of the residents,” said Jeff Traill, a golfer who’s building a home near Rocky Run.
Traill, a former city administrator for Dell Rapids, contested the proof of insurance requirement, the size and placement rules for the city-issued permit, the slow moving emblem and amber light requirements and renewing annually.
Wanting golf carts to be insured isn’t unreasonable but the practice of requiring proof of insurance when purchasing a permit is, he said.
“I don’t have to show proof of insurance annually on my one and a half ton Yukon that I drive,” Traill said. “If the state doesn’t require it on motor vehicles, then why are we so worried about golf carts?”
In December the city spent $65 for 30 permit sticker, approximately 5-by-5 inches wide, that must be placed on the outside of the cart.
“Don’t require a large reflective sticker to be placed on my cart,” Traill told the council.
A better method would for paper permits to be issued and to only require that it is kept somewhere in the cart, similar to the registration for a motor vehicle, he said.
“It’s much simpler, and it won’t damage the golf cart. Because I can’t take a razorblade to fiberglass very effectively without damaging,” Traill said.
City administrator Justin Weiland said he’s open to amending the ordinance but recommended continuing to require permits to be presented on the outside of the carts.
“The intent of that is as a license plate,” he said. “We had to get something that was identifiable.”
Without the requirement that a permitted golf cart be identifiable, people wanting to operate a cart on city streets would have no incentive to obtain a permit, Weiland said.
Mayor Scott Fiegen directed the Policy and Procedures Committee to review the ordinance that he said wasn’t worth adopting in the first place.
“For the time we’ve spent – all the discussions, staff and lawyers on this kind of stuff – I’d just rather see the thing go away and go back to being illegal on the streets,” Fiegen said. “People can do what they were doing before.”
The committee will consider recommendations offered at the meeting, including making permits valid through the life of a cart or until there is a change in ownership and reducing the fee.
In all, the City of Dell Rapids had issued 12 golf cart permits as of Monday.