Editor’s note: Look for a follow-up story in Friday’s paper on Police Chief Will Balling’s presentation to committee members on the initial legislation presented to Sidney City Council on non-traditional vehicles on Sidney streets.
SIDNEY — The use of golf carts or other non-traditional vehicles on Sidney city roadways was discussed Wednesday morning during the Non-Traditional Vehicle Use Ad Hoc Committee’s first meeting.
The purpose of the teleconference meeting was to consider the moratorium request on enforcement of non-traditional vehicle use on public roadways. Currently low speed, non-traditional vehicles are not permitted to operate on Sidney city streets. At this time, violators are being warned by Sidney Police and will begin to be cited starting May 1.
Sidney City Council considered legislation in 2020 to permit the use of certain non-traditional vehicles on public streets. The legislation was tabled in September 2020 and tabled indefinitely during the March 22, 2021, council meeting. The Ad Hoc Committee was created to study the issue after numerous City Council members received several comments/inquiries from city residents requesting for it to be revisited.
Committee members include Chairman Randy Rose, Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan, Justin Ritter, Law Director Jeff Amick, Karl Bemus and Council members Jenny VanMatre and Ed Hamaker. Parks Director Duane Gaier and Police Chief Will Balling will also sit on the committee. Amick was absent Wednesday, as he was in court.
Members questioned how soon the prohibition of golf carts on city streets could be changed. Police Chief Will Balling reiterated that currently golf carts on city streets are against the law. He informed board members that will change when he is directed by the city manager, who is directed by Sidney City Council. He said city council must provide something in writing and makes the determination.
After some brief discussion about potential rules and what should be required of golf carts and drivers, Milligan recommended Balling provide committee members with his presentation of the ordinance initially presented to the Sidney City Council in 2020 on the use of non-traditional vehicles on city streets. Other members, and Balling, agreed the presentation would be a helpful place to start so they could decide what to keep or eliminate in what they provide to City Council to consider.
Rose said he learned it could take four to six weeks for manufacturers to make required upgrades to carts, so the committee wants to reach a decision as soon as possible.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Marilyn Drive resident David Fleming spoke to thank the committee for their expeditious work to study the non-traditional vehicle issue. He said golf carts or UTVs should be no different than other vehicles that are required to be road-ready. He also mentioned his past experience of driving such vehicles on roadways and of hearing about a potential golf cart rally this summer in Sidney.
Milligan noted the committee should try to meet more frequently to move the process along more quickly for getting a recommendation to City Council. June 1, 2021, was mentioned as he goal for those interested in golf carts being permitted on city streets. It was agreed the next meeting would be held the next day, Thursday, at noon and Balling would provide a presentation to members on the topic.
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