Council provides glimpse of things to come

Workshop issues range from golf carts to boat ramp use

by Marianne Gasaway

Clear Lake City Council members offered up their own version of a “Throwback Thursday” last week when the group, along with City Administrator Scott Flory, Police Chief Pete Roth and Finance Director Creighton Schmidt, sat down to discuss community issues.

Longtime Council member Mike Callanan said workshops were a common occurrence in his early days on the Council.

“They are a good venue for discussion of potential future agenda items,” Callanan told the group.

Five issues which have been brought to the Council’s attention at its regular meetings were placed on the first workshop agenda.  Golf cart permit fees and safety, late night noise from outdoor music venues, the future of the Parks & Recreation Department Advisory Board, the Highway 18 speed limit and Main Avenue boat ramp and dock use all appear headed for formal action.

Put the brakes on golf carts?

Third Ward Councilman Gary Hugi kicked things off by suggesting the city’s golf cart ordinance established in 2017 needs to be reviewed.

With permits issued to more than 490 golf carts, Hugi said numbers may need to be capped and the $25 permit fees raised to $35 or $50 to cover administrative costs. In addition, safety measures need to be increased, he said.

“Safety restraints, we’ve been through this how many times I don’t know. Children riding on the back of these carts all over, we’ve all seen it,” said Hugi.  “The golf carts drive down the street like they are a vehicle, a big car. They don’t move over to the side like they’re supposed to. I suggest requiring a safety restraint for children 10-years and under on these golf carts.”

“Golf carts are not designed to be on streets,” stated Police Chief Pete Roth after Councilman Bennett Smith asked for a staff recommendation.  Roth said he considers a safety belt in a golf cart “symbolic,” rather than effective, noting they have no shoulder restraint.

Callanan suggested increased adult supervision could help and proposed the ordinance be modified to limit the number of people allowed per seat in a golf cart and children under a to-be-determined age must have an adult seated beside them in a rear-facing back seat.

Councilman Smith said he shares the concerns about safety and would support recommendations on

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