The Stearns County Board of Commissioners recently approved a new ordinance allowing the use of golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles along county roadways. Stearns County enacted the ordinance at the request of citizens.
The board held a public hearing, and two people spoke in favor of adoption of the ordinance. No one spoke against the proposal.
The ordinance provides authority over the use of motorized golf carts on county roads located within cities. The ordinance requires that cities, which have an ordinance allowing golf carts on city streets, make an official request to the county board to allow them on county roads within the city. Three cities in Stearns County already have ordinances in place allowing golf carts on city streets – St. Joseph, Albany and Melrose.
The proposed ordinance sets forth, among other things, conditions for use, permit requirements, rights and duties of the operator and penalties for violations. Operators have the same rights and duties as drivers of any other vehicle. Golf carts can be operated only on designated roadways from sunrise to sunset, unless it has headlights, taillights and turn signals. They are also not allowed to be operated in bad weather or during poor visibility. Golf carts will not be allowed to operate on minor or major arterial roadways and only on roads where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.
Permits are required on all golf carts driven on county roadways. Operators obtain the yearly $10 permit from the Stearns County License Center. Applicants will be required to have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.
This ordinance will sunset in one year, May 31, 2015. It will give commissioners an opportunity to review how well the ordinance is working and to make any adjustments if necessary.