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Russells Point to allow golf carts on streets

After seven failed attempts, the Village of Russells Point council passed an ordinance that would allow golf carts to drive on streets in a split decision this week.

Council members Joan Maxwell and Steve Reid voted no, but the yes votes of Tom LaDow, Kelly Huffman and John Huffman passed the ordinance 3-2.

Russells Point Police Chief Joe Freyhof said strict traffic laws and new council members were the reasons the ordinance went through this time.

“It’s really a common sense ordinance,” Freyhof said.

Golf carts will not be allowed to drive on any road that has a speed limit higher than 35 mph, according to the ordinance.

The vehicles can only cross US 33 at one intersection, that is Ohio 708 and US 33.

The carts are not allowed on sidewalks and cannot be driven so slowly as to disrupt traffic.

Freyhof said he and his department will be somewhat flexible as drivers adjust to the new rules. As his department educates people on the laws, he believes the council will look at the ordinance to see if it needs any improvements for next year.

A golf cart must be “street-ready” to be driven on roads. That means it must have mirrors, headlights and a horn. The vehicles also have to be insured, and must pass an inspection at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office. A permit fee of $25 a year is also required to drive the carts on roads.

“They have never been legal, but I’m not saying I don’t see them here and there,” 15-year Russells Point resident Lea Callicoat said.

She said she believes the council was hesitant to pass the ordinance because of traffic on Ohio 366.

However, Freyhof said he has not gotten any feedback on the ordinance from the community on the ordinance, positive or negative.

The new law is good news for at least one local business.

“We have been selling them like hotcakes,” Fisher’s Flea Market assistant manager Justin Kaufman said.

Fisher’s has traded and bought old golf carts for years, but started selling brand new ones this year. Kaufman said he has sold 18 so far this year and has had to order nine more.

He anticipates with the laws changing, people on the fence will move toward buying.

“We were happy they passed that because now more people can be interested,” Kaufman said. “If they were ever interested in buying a golf cart, they may move forward because they can do what they want to with it.”

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