Social Circle Council considers golf cart ordinance

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Golf carts may soon be a permitted form of transportation in some areas of Social Circle.

The City Council heard the first reading Tuesday of a proposed ordinance that would allow the low-speed vehicles to operate on roads that are not state highways within the city limits.

Councilman David Keener said he asked City Attorney Joe Reitman to draft a proposed ordinance in keeping with a newly enacted state law, Senate Bill 240, that allows golf cars to operate on city streets.

Reitman presented to the council a draft of the low-speed vehicles ordinance he recently prepared for the city of Madison. He said most cities, like Madison, that consider adopting ordinances that would allow golf carts on local streets pattern their ordinances after Peachtree City, which has allowed motorized carts for many years.

Reitman said that generally, motorized carts would only be allowed to operate on city roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. They would not be permitted on any state highways, such as Ga. Highway 11, which runs through the center of Social Circle. He added that the motorized vehicles could not exceed 20 mph and must comply with state law governing motor vehicles, including having functional brake lights, turn signals, headlights and taillights.

"We can consider this the first reading of the ordinance and customize it to Social Circle," Reitman told the council.

He said the council has the option of requiring operators to register their golf carts with the city.

"It depends how much oversight you want to have," Reitman said. "You can issue a license for every single golf cart or just make it a blanket approval that golf carts are allowed in the city."

He said if each cart were registered, then a member of the Social Circle Police Department would be able to inspect each vehicle to make sure it complied with state law.

The proposed ordinance states, "every owner of a motorized cart operated over the streets and parking areas accessible by the public shall register the cart with the city within 10 business days of purchase."

The suggested registration fee is $12 and the registration would be effective for five years. The penalty for failing to register within 10 days of purchase would be an additional $20.

The council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the proposed ordinance subject to modifications specific to Social Circle.

In other news, the council approved maintaining the lowered alcoholic beverage pouring license fee for another calendar year, through December 2012.

In January, the council reduced for one year pouring license fees from $2,500 to $500 for restaurants that sell beer, wine and distilled beverages. Those establishments selling beer and wine will also pay a $500 pouring license fee, reduced from $800.