Golf Carts and OHVs on New Castle’s streets gains traction
New Castle residents appear open to allowing golf carts and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on the town’s streets following a recent open house meeting.
“The overall consensus was in favor of golf carts and OHVs,” Mayor Art Riddile said of the comments from the June 6 open house. “If several letters of opposition are entered into the equation, I’d say its 59 percent for and 41 percent against.”
Riddile said that he would like to hear other councilors thoughts at the regularly scheduled June 18 City Council meeting before taking a formal position on the matter himself.
“The questionnaires used during the open house gave residents the ability to comment on a number of different questions related to golf carts and OHV use,” Town Administrator David Reynolds said. “Staff has passed the comments to Council for their review. … Overall, [the] staff observed that there were more residents in favor of the idea than residents who were opposed to the idea.”
While Council does retain the authority to allow golf carts and off-highway vehicles on the town’s streets, no such ordinance could permit either alternative form of transportation on one the town’s main thoroughfares, U.S. 6.
New Castle Police Chief Tony Pagni said that ultimately it was a Council decision but did mention two concerns of his own.
“My concerns were, one, licensed operators operating the vehicles and then, two, proper insurance and vehicle registration on those vehicles,” Pagni said in an interview Friday. “Council hasn’t decided either way. They are going to continue to contemplate this issue. And when they do, they set precedence and then we figure out how we go about making it enforceable.”
“There will be a discussion at our next Council meeting regarding the direction we will take,” Riddile said of Tuesday’s upcoming Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in town hall (450 W. Main St.).
At that meeting Council may decide to direct staff to draft an ordinance, table the discussion for the time being in favor of more public outreach or abandon the idea altogether.
“People seem to be well informed and have ideas about both the advantages and the disadvantages,” Town Councilor Bruce Leland said of the ongoing discussion. “We will be sure to publicize widely if we do decide to consider an ordinance.”
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.