New Castle looking at possibly allowing golf carts and off-highway vehicles on town’s streets
The New Castle Town Council likes the idea of golf carts and off-highway vehicles (OHV’s) possibly being allowed on its streets.
While no decision has been made, New Castle Mayor Art Riddile said that the town will host a meeting in the coming weeks to gauge the community’s temperament toward the idea.
“We really want to have a community outreach in a few weeks to get input,” Riddile said Thursday. “We don’t want to allow this to happen and have people all of a sudden wake up and see side by sides coming down the street.”
The city will draft an ordinance and, depending on the public’s temperament, Town Council may consider it as a future agenda item.
“We pretty much are all in unanimous favor of allowing golf carts to roam our streets,” Riddile said of the Council’s position on the issue, originally proposed by New Castle Town Councilor Scott Owens. “We’ve also heard from citizens wondering if they can drive their off-highway vehicles in town, too.”
According to Riddile, New Castle could legally allow golf carts and off-highway vehicles on its streets.
“There is one catch, however, and that is off-highway vehicles are not allowed on state highways, and our main street is a state highway,” Art Riddle said of U.S. 6, which is governed by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“There are ways that we can go around that by finding different routes to allow these vehicles to get to where they want to go,” Riddile said.
Heading west, U.S. 6 runs through New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute.
To the best of his knowledge, according to Riddile, while the law prohibits OHV’s on state highways, no law on the books bans golf carts from being on them.
In 2016, the Garfield County commissioners adopted an ordinance allowing OHVs on county roads. According to that ordinance, drivers must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license. Additionally, OHV drivers must possess liability insurance and adhere to other requirements.
“We are looking at this as a possible economic driver for people who might be camping or hunting up in the Flat Tops, that could hop on their off-highway vehicles and come on down to New Castle to shop or go to a restaurant,” Riddile said.
Riddile admitted that, while at first he was a bit skeptical of the idea, after further consideration of its potential economic boost to the community, he thought it was a great idea for New Castle.
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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.