SIDNEY — Discussion continued on whether to allow golf carts and low-speed vehicles on city streets during Monday evening’s hybrid-style Sidney City Council meeting.
Police Chief Will Balling again led the discussion and sought direction from council after receiving requests for golf carts, utility vehicles and low-speed vehicles be permitted on city streets. City Council first considered the topic at its July 13 meeting. Currently the city of Sidney does not have an ordinance allowing these type of vehicles on the roadway.
During the previous meeting, Balling said a local authority that authorizes the operation of under-speed or utility vehicles or mini-trucks shall do all of the following:
(1) Limit the operation of those vehicles to streets and highways having an established speed limit not greater than 35 mph;
(2) Require the vehicle owner who wishes to operate an under-speed or utility vehicle or a mini-truck on the public streets or highways to submit the vehicle to an inspection conducted by a local law enforcement agency that complies with inspection requirements established by the department of public safety under a section of the ORC;
(3) Permit the operation on public streets or highways of only those vehicles that successfully pass the required vehicle inspection are registered in accordance with a chapter 4503 of the ORC, and are titled in accordance with chapter 4505. of the ORC;
(4) Notify the director of public safety, in a manner, the director determines, of the authorization for the operation of under-speed or utility vehicles or mini-trucks.
A local authority may establish additional requirements, he said, for the operation of under-speed or utility vehicles or mini-trucks on its roads.
On July 13, Balling said he didn’t expect to have many of these vehicles on the road, but felt allowing them would be a good public service. He was directed by council to begin drafting policy and legislation. Monday evening Balling returned for further direction on which streets low-speed vehicles would be allowed to operate. City staff recommended the following:
(A) No person shall operate a low speed, under-speed or utility vehicle or mini-truck upon any street or highway having an established speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour, or on any of the following streets or routes: Vandemark Road, Fourth Avenue, St. Marys Avenue, Wapakoneta Avenue, Ohio Avenue, Main Avenue (800 N. Main south), Russell Road, North Street (from Walnut Avenue to Riverside Drive), Riverside Drive, Michigan Street, Court Street, Campbell Road or Fair Road.
These streets were listed because of either the higher rate of speed, traffic flow or crashes on them.
(B) The operator of a low-speed vehicle, under-speed vehicle, or mini-truck is permitted to cross an intersection of the state routes, county road or prohibited streets.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan expressed concern about these vehicles on hilly roads with steep incline/decline elevations in some parts of the city and being able to be seen. She also spoke about concern for potential loud noise from all-terrain vehicles, versus golf carts.
Balling said council could make restrictions as they saw fit, which could only allowing these vehicle on roads that are 25 mph. Law Director Jeff Amick confirmed Sidney City Council can tailor the city ordinance how they want, but it would come down to enforcement.
City Manager Mark Cundiff and Council member Steve Wagner were reminded by Balling, when asked for specifics, the ORC requires certain safety features be these vehicles, including lights, a license plate, insurance, inspections and other safety equipment.
After a brief discussion, Barhorst suggested, and council agreed, to start by only permitting golf carts as the low speed vehicles on city streets, and for the speed to be 35 mph. City Council could add to the ordinance later, he said.
City staff will continue to draft the legislation and bring it back to a future council meeting for further consideration.
In other business, at the end of the meeting, Mayor Mike Barhorst thanked Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, for his service at his last City Council meeting on his last working day as city employee, before taking built up vacation time. Barhorst then proclaimed Tuesday, Sept. 8, as Gary R. Clough Day in the city of Sidney, which is his last official day as a city employee. Council members and those attending the meeting gave Clough a round of applause. Several council members also thanked Clough for his service.
During council member comments, Wagner shared the August Trap Neuter Release clinic for feral cats was cancelled and will be conducted in September. Barhorst also congratulated Balling for taking over as president of the Ohio Association of Police Chiefs.
Council member Darryl Thurber was absent Monday and was excused by council.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.