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Flowery Branch finds ‘strong community support’ to allow golf carts on some streets
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Sterling on the Lake, a subdivision off Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch, is considered one of the city’s “top locations” for golf cart use, according to a recently released draft Personal Transportation Vehicle plan. - photo by Jeff Gill

A recent Flowery Branch survey said 76 percent of respondents believe personal transportation vehicles — or golf carts, mainly — should be legalized in the South Hall city.

The survey also said that 33 percent own a PTV and another 23 percent “would like to own one.”

“That leaves a total of 56 percent of people who will likely own a PTV if the (Flowery Branch) City Council moves forward with this PTV Plan and another 20 percent of people who support the idea of legalizing the vehicles but do not intend to own one,” states a draft version of the city’s Personal Transportation Vehicle Plan, released last week.

“Therefore, there is strong community support for pursuing this process.”

The survey, which ran July 10-Aug. 24, was one part of a city process toward an ordinance governing golf carts in the city.

The draft plan suggests that drivers should be at least 17 to be able to drive a golf cart.

However, the city could “provide a process to allow people who are 16 years of age to drive PTVs if they attend a third-party safety training class,” according to the draft.

Also, the city would have a map that “identifies legal streets for PTV operations on internal neighborhood streets and streets signed 25 mph or less.”

Sterling on the Lake, a subdivision off Spout Springs Road that is being developed with up to 2,000 homes, is considered one of “the top locations identified for PTV use.”

Otherwise, they’re suggested on “other neighborhood streets, any streets signed 25 mph or less, downtown streets and city parks.”

Also recommended is requiring “private developers to provide off-street paths in new developments to connect to the existing and planned PTV route network.”

Flowery Branch City Council voted June 7 to take steps toward developing the PTV plan.

The vote came after an hour-long discussion and comments from residents, particularly those living in Sterling on the Lake.

The city voted to hire a firm for $12,360 to develop the plan.

“I believe this is not just a Sterling on the Lake issue,” Councilwoman Amy Farah said at the meeting. “We’ve got a ton of development coming to the city, and I believe this is very appealing to those developments.”

One Flowery Branch resident, Ed Asbridge, said last week he believed the survey was flawed from the start.

“The first thing is the way the survey was publicized,” he said.  “At the City Council meeting, most of the folks there were from Sterling and most were golf cart owners. They in turn probably rallied all their friends to complete the survey.”

With 7,000-plus residents citywide, only 245 completed the survey, he added.

“The survey could not possibly be accurate, as most of the residents of Flowery Branch do not know anything about the survey or what a PTV is,” Asbridge said.

Adoption of a golf cart plan by the council had been set for Sept. 20, but staff was still “working on the plan and tweaking it,” City Clerk Melissa McCain in a recent email. “It is anticipated to be on an October agenda.”

To operate a golf cart, “it has to be allowed by local ordinance,” City Attorney Ron Bennett has said. “If the council does not pass a local ordinance that does not allow (their) operation on public streets, it would not be legal.”

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