Carisbrooke wants golf carts

Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Carisbrooke Homeowners Association wants permission to use golf carts in the neighborhood, but the scope, process and cost to do that gave the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors pause. 

Isle of Wight Transportation Manager Jamie Oliver outlined the process involved in allowing golf carts in Carisbrooke, which is located in the Newport District. 

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Isle of Wight would have to draft an ordinance with specific information, such as the targeted community, the names of the roads, the signage and other information, said Oliver. 

The county would have to hold a public hearing on the ordinance, and if passed, obtain a permit from VDOT. The rules surrounding the use of golf carts, such as needing a driver’s license and lights for night use, would need to be enforced by the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, said Oliver. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Isle of Wight would also have to install any necessary signs and create any needed infrastructure, said Oliver 

In Virginia, one requirement of golf cart use is that it is on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. 

Oliver estimated that in the case of Carisbrooke, the ordinance would need to include 10 roads in the neighborhood, with seven possible signage locations. 

Oliver also pointed out that a few years ago, Carisbrooke residents raised concerns about the speed of traffic in the neighborhood — and at one point wanted speed bumps. Those were not installed, however. The residents were also concerned about a possible increase in traffic in the future from the approved developments nearby, such as Archer’s Meade and The Crossings.

Oliver said a safety study could be conducted and that signs are currently running about $100 to $200 each.

Carrsville District Supervisor Don Rosie said that if the HOA were to pay for the signs, that’s a possibility, but the potential for future accidents, given the prior concerns, throws the whole enterprise into question. 

Oliver said there are also liability concerns if there is an accident, as the county already gets calls when signs or signals are involved, although those are passed on to VDOT. 

However, since Isle of Wight would install the signs, that adds another layer of liability, she said. 

Hardy District Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson wanted to know how to keep kids from driving around on golf carts when their parents were not home. 

Isle of Wight County attorney Robert “Bobby” Jones said the county could revoke the golf cart ordinance if too many problems arise. 

Jones said Isle of Wight could also create an application process if this was approved and, as a result, prompted other neighborhoods to seek the same.

McCarty said he lives in Carisbrooke, but does not own a golf cart and did not initiate the process — rather the HOA came to him.

McCarty said he would talk with the HOA about their picking up the cost involved before proceeding any further. 

Golf carts legal in parts of Smithfield

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

While Isle of Wight County currently does not have any ordinances allowing neighborhood golf carts, Smithfield passed one in 2011. 

Initially, the use of golf carts was limited to specific neighborhoods. That restriction was lifted in 2013, and the Smithfield Town Council lowered the speed limit on more roads in other neighborhoods, including John Rolfe Drive and Lumar Drive. 

Now, golf carts are allowed on any secondary road with a speed limit of 25 mph or less within town limits. 

That hit a snag for some last year, as there was a recent request to get the speed limit lowered on the Cypress Creek Bridge. That way, those with golf carts in the neighborhoods on the east side of town could drive their golf carts to the historic district. 

The speed limit on the bridge is 35 mph and, so far, that hasn’t changed. 

At the same time, a drive through some of the neighborhoods cited as wanting golf carts did not have signs indicating their use, other than Cypress Creek. However, the Cypress Creek neighborhood is built around a golf course and the golf cart signs are at the points where the golf cart path on the course crosses over a road. 

VDOT’s listing of requirements for golf carts specifies that the locality will bear the cost associated with the installation and maintenance of all required signs, and later refers to manual of uniform traffic control devices. The manual says that the need for golf cart signs is based on an engineering study or an engineer’s judgment.   

Isle of Wight Transportation Manager Jamie Oliver said the requirements don’t get any more specific, initially. 

“That’s why it’s important to specify “who decides what is needed.” We need to have an engineering study decide. That way it’s completely objective, and based on standard road design issues like speed, traffic volumes, curves and road geometry, and site specific issues like sight distance, on-street parking, distance to be traveled, etc.,” said Oliver. 

The towns of Dendron and Claremont in Surry County went to the General Assembly to have golf carts allowed in those tiny towns. 

Going to the General Assembly is required of towns that do not have their own police force to monitor the use of the golf carts, and they are limited to roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.  {/mprestriction}