Swanville considers ordinance for golf cart-usage on street

By EMILIE THIESSENStaff Writer
emilie.thiessen@ecm-inc.com

In an effort to localize regulations regarding the use of vehicles, including golf carts and ATVs, the Swanville  City Council discussed the adoption of a possible permitting process to operate the vehicles on city streets.

“What the state is trying to do is encouraging cities to adopt ordinances regulating the use and operation of alternative vehicles on the streets,” Swanville City Attorney Tim Churchwell told the City Council, Tuesday.

Churchwell said as more residents are using alternative transportation, specifically golf carts, to get around town, it may be in the best interest of the city to implement a city ordinance regulating use.

Churchwell has drafted similar ordinances for neighboring cities, which stipulate that only those who are 18 years or older may apply for the permit to operate the vehicle on city streets.

Churchwell said that although the permit holder would have to be 18 or older, younger individuals who are legally able to operate the vehicle would continue to be able to operate it with permission from the permit holder. The permit would be for the vehicle, not the person, Churchwell said.

The city would potentially charge a small fee for the permit. Churchwell said other cities like Long Prairie charge between $10 and $20 for the permit.

Council Member Jim Molitor said he didn’t think an ordinance or permit process was necessary in Swanville. “I have seen very few incidents where there have been major problems,” Molitor said.

Swanville Mayor Sandy Peterson tabled a decision of the ordinance, stating the Council should be able to be revisit it if any major problems arise with alternative vehicles on the street.

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