Golf cart travel will be legal soon on certain Flowery Branch streets, but neighborhoods eventually may be able to petition the South Hall city to opt out of the new law.
Flowery Branch City Council voted Thursday, Oct. 18, to approve an ordinance allowing personal transportation vehicles (primarily golf carts), wrapping up months of public discussion and input, as well as a survey that went out to residents.
The law goes into effect Nov. 1.
“It’s been looked at for months, but it’s been an issue we’ve been dealing with for years,” said Councilman Joe Anglin, serving as mayor pro tem, presiding in Mayor Mike Miller’s absence.
“State law has changed a couple of times … and now it’s a situation where you have to have a local ordinance in place to allow golf carts. We heard enough scuttlebutt … to at least look and see if there was an appetite for that.”
However, as part of Thursday’s vote, council asked staff to look into a possible amendment that would address opting out.
The issue was raised by a resident, Bridget Peroni, who said she was personally opposed to golf carts, as “there’s a safety issue here.”
“If you want (golf carts) in Sterling on the Lake (subdivision), power to you,” Peroni said. “If (others) don’t want it, give us a way to say we don’t want this. Let the people decide what they want.”
City Attorney Ron Bennett told the council if residents want to remove a street or neighborhood from a map showing areas where golf cart travel is allowed or not, “it’s just a petition to get in front of you to make a decision. (Opting out) is not automatic.”
The map shown in the city’s Personal Transportation Vehicle Plan shows golf cart traffic allowed mostly in neighborhoods, including the city’s largest subdivision, 1,000-acre Sterling on the Lake, which is permitted up to 2,000 homes.
But travel also will be allowed on several downtown streets, including Main Street, Church Street and Railroad Avenue.
It won’t be allowed on such key roads as Gainesville Street and Phil Niekro Boulevard, as well as city portions of Spout Springs Road, Thurmon Tanner Parkway, Lights Ferry Road and Hog Mountain Road.
Officials have said the plan was being considered also because of residential growth around the downtown area. Grading is underway on several neighborhoods.
The map has been developed “with appropriate criteria for assessing new or altered streets in the future, as well as signage and marking plans to ensure crossings at state highways are properly signed in accordance with state law,” the plan states.