By Robert Helde
The City of Brooksville (City) has been engaged in discussion regarding how to address the use of golf carts on portions of the public roadways within the city. During the September 16, 2019 Brooksville City Council meeting the discussion came to fruition. In 2016, the now disbanded Brooksville Police Department’s Chief of Police designated specific segments of Barnett Rd. as lawful areas for golf carts to cross. This was in response to several requests by residents of the Southway Villas Development. However, the legality of these crossing points was revoked due to concerns that they were not up to Florida Statute 316.212.
As addressed on May 7, 2018, there are four major hurdles to be overcome to be in compliance with the statute, as well as other requirements. These hurdles begin with identifying the roads to be designated. Secondly, the road must be inspected directly by City staff to insure that the road is suitable to use by golf carts. Following this, the ordinance must be adopted and finally, signage must be put up informing motorists to be aware of golf cart users.
As a result of the May 2018 meeting, and subsequent meetings, three options for moving forward were lined out. The choices presented for the City to choose from are to regulate on a case by case basis, assess the entire city’s road network suitability, or to take no action. Recently there has been citizen interest in revisiting the issue. The City Manager reviewed two studies regarding the application of the second option in other cities.
During the Sept. 16th meeting, council member Pat Brayton expressed concern that choosing either to allow the use of golf carts on a case by case basis or to survey the entire city would prove to be too costly. Brayton commented, “I’m afraid if we start going to a case by case basis you’re going to be all over the City. So, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do.” He also added, “ Spending the funds, even with our in-house people, on a city wide assessment, which would have to include our Sheriff’s department and other personnel to do that, is – is going to cost us money in the long run.” After these comments, when prompted, Council member Brayton made the motion to accept the third option of allowing the Florida Statute to stand. The motion passed 5-0 with no citizen comments. The decision to take no additional action will result in no impact on the City’s budget.