Thursday night the Peachtree City Council will consider a proposal to ban the registration of gas-powered golf carts, although existing gas cart owners will have 10 years before facing the same consequence, thereby rendering their carts unusable on the city’s 80-plus mile cart path system.
The gas golf cart ban has been applauded by residents who contend they are too smelly and noisy. But opponents have contended that the carts are a better alternative to electric-powered models since they have more range per tank compared to the electric cart’s built-in battery power.
City officials have said that roughly 5 percent of the golf carts currently registered are gas-powered.
There are concerns from city staff that a state law which prohibits any inspection relating to cart registration would make it impossible for staff to verify whether a new cart being registered is gas or electric powered.
Another concern from staff is that the ordinance would not address the time of year when most citizen complaints are lodged about gas carts: the Fourth of July holiday, when the city loosens its registration requirements to allow cart dealers to rent a significant amount of carts.
In a letter that arrived too late for this edition’s Letters pages, former longtime City Clerk Frances Meaders criticized the ban. “I don’t see how the environment is going to be improved, if that is the intent, because everyone except the citizens are going to be allowed to continue with the gasoline carts — i.e., golf courses and golf cart businesses that rent the carts to visitors,” Meaders wrote.
“The minute this regulation goes into effect, the value of every gasoline golf cart in the city is zero,” Meaders said.
The latest version of the ordinance allows golf cart dealers who rent gas carts to obtain new decals over the next 10 years as they replace their rental fleet. It also:
• Exempts disabled drivers who have a valid disabled parking permit;
• Waives the registration requirement for certain Tourism events;
• Allows the transfer of gas powered carts that are already registered; and
• Exempts carts on local golf courses.
The last time the ban was discussed by council, there were three in favor, including Mayor Don Haddix and Councilmen Doug Sturbaum and Eric Imker. Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard have indicated they oppose the ban.