Golf cart plan on road to vote

Published May 29, 2007

First it was Ozona and Crystal Beach. Now residents of Highland Lakes, with its three community-owned golf courses, want to be able to drive their golf carts legally on public streets. But first the County Commission has to say yes.

THE BACKGROUND: Golf carts generally are illegal on most public roads. In 2005, the County Commission okayed golf cart traffic in Ozona and Crystal Beach, making them the first communities in Pinellas to have the special golf cart designation. In Highland Lakes, residents want golf carts allowed everywhere. But county officials worry that Highlands Boulevard, the neighborhood's main road, is too busy. There also was talk of a road designated just for golf carts, but that could cost more than $1-million and take 10 years.

THE PROPOSAL: Under a plan worked on by residents and county officials, residents could drive golf carts to and from the clubhouse on MacGregor Drive. The carts could go on Highlands Boulevard, but officials would install signs warning motorists about them. Golf carts would have to have a reflective red warning device, an orange warning flag and a sign saying "slow-moving vehicle." The carts could be driven only from sunrise to sunset and would have to be driven by licensed drivers. "We feel like we've earned the right and we've demonstrated that we follow all the rules and we're responsible, " said Linda Brown, chairwoman of the neighborhood's golf cart committee.

WHAT'S NEXT: Commissioners will consider the plan June 5. If they approve, the next step would be to hold a public hearing on an ordinance approving the signs.