Golf Cars In The News

The Great Debate

PHOTOGRAPHY: shutterstock / SevenMaps

A golf car community ordinance sparks contentious debate among council members.

According to the Daily News-Record, a quarrelsome session of the Broadway Town Council in Virginia ended in a narrow four-to-three vote against approving a new ordinance pertaining to designated streets for golf cars.

With each council member in attendance, the floor was set for the introduction of fresh business.

Town Manager Kyle O’Brien disclosed that a team had dedicated six months to crafting the ordinance, following a request from the council. It was now ripe for presentation and subsequent voting. For guidance, the team looked to Bridgewater and Grottoes, established golf car communities for years, to learn from their experiences.

O’Brien elaborated that these communities hadn’t encountered any issues with golf cars. However, for Broadway to emulate their success, it would entail legal steps like installing unique signage at every intersection. The scenario in Broadway is distinct from other locales in the sense that the golf cars’ passage would be constrained due to being surrounded by larger thoroughfares.

The ordinance, as put forth before the council, bore the title, “An Ordinance to Amend and Reenact Section 111.16 to Title XI, Chapter 111 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Broadway, Virginia.” It aimed to authorize the town manager to designate certain streets and public highways for golf car and utility vehicle usage, thereby permitting their operation on the designated routes.

Chad Comer motioned to adopt the ordinance in its existing form. The ensuing discourse among council members unveiled a deep divide, with half of the members expressing their disapproval.

In light of this unusual deadlock, Mayor Timothy Proctor exercised caution. He deemed it unfair to saddle his successor—Proctor is set to retire in four months after his term ends—with an ordinance that he had initiated when there was palpable uncertainty about its merit.

“When half of them express concerns,” Proctor explained, “I listen.”

Drawing from his extensive tenure as both mayor and council member, Proctor noted that the council had never before been so evenly split in a decision. Furthermore, he believed that the town’s topography didn’t lend itself favorably to becoming an optimal golf car community.

Despite the unsuccessful bid to designate streets for golf car usage in this particular meeting, the ordinance could potentially resurface in future sessions. Presently, the advocates for transforming Broadway into a golf car-friendly community represent a minority. Importantly, Virginia state law presents an “out” from the ordinance—by making a few modifications, a golf car can be rendered street legal, sidestepping the broader regulations.