The Wakefield City Council and Police Chief Jeff Doonan aren't opposed to the idea of allowing golf carts driven on city streets. However councilman Jeff Goeckler said he thought changing the ordinance to allow golf carts "wasn't inclusive enough" because it wouldn't' include other types of vehicles residents own.
As of now, a city ordinance prohibits such vehicles, except for limited use of ATVs, which can be driven on city streets if they are being used for a specific purpose, such as spraying weeds or snow removal.
Doonan proposed allowing golf carts after "a handful" of residents have approached him about a new state law that would allow such vehicles provided they are insured and have lights. He suggested that residents register these vehicles and receive a sticker that shows they are legal.
"I don't have a problem with it," Doonan said. "It saves them from having to hide it from me."
The new state law allows only certain smaller vehicles to be driven on city streets if the city government allows it. Driving them on federal and state highways is still prohibited. Some residents who want to drive other types of vehicles are "isolated" because of where they live in relation to K-82, a state highway where the vehicles won't be allowed. Others don't own a golf cart, but other types of low-pressure tire vehicles, including Gaters and mini-trucks.
Goeckler went through a list of vehicles residents may want to drive, including faster micro-utility vehicles, Mopeds and ATVs. Council members said the reason they had outlawed ATVs was because they were loud and noisy as well as being fast.
Doonan proposed allowing only the golf carts because they aren't capable of going very fast, but he wasn't opposed to allowing other types of vehicles.
Councilman Mark Allen said he thought Doonan was "opening a can of worms."
"I think it's going to create more headaches for you," he told Doonan. "Too many people are going to try to stretch it a little further.
City Clerk Jeri Mason said other Kansas municipalities are allowing golf carts on their streets, though no one could think of any neighboring communities that were allowing it. Clay Center currently doesn't allow golf carts, although the idea was brought up by councilman Steve Fox several months ago.
Mayor Ken Fowler said Wakefield is "more of a trend setter than a follower anyway."
The council tabled action on allowing golf carts so Doonan and Mason could bring back examples of similar ordinances from other cities.
The council also:
-- adopted the 2009 standard traffic and uniform public offense code ordinances,
-- tabled action on purchasing metal car ports to be used as shelters at the city park,
-- set a special meeting on Sept. 16 to take action on bids for storm water entries,
-- discussed changing the fireworks ordinance, but tabled it in order to speak with the fire chief,
-- purchased a $1,700 hand held water meter reader and the software for it for $495,
-- donated $1,500 to the Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12,
-- set handicapped parking, reserved spaces, diagonal parking and one-way traffic in the new City Hall parking lot.
-- directed city superintendent Dennis Riffel to send out letters and start collecting water samples for copper and lead testing, to send out notices for tree branches hanging over streets and sidewalks, to shut off a pump used for bulk water sales, and to purchase a part for the water chlorinator system.