Hurricane City Council wrestles with citizens interested in advocating the use of golf carts – St. George’s News

Hurricane resident Steve Garcia in his golf cart, Hurricane, Utah, June 16, 2022 | Image courtesy of Steve Garcia, St. George’s News

tornado – Residents of Sky Mountain Golf Estates have announced their presence at Hurricane’s recent City Council. Taking every seat and standing at the back of the council rooms, residents prepared for the battle on the agenda: defending their ability to use recreational golf carts on public roads.

A Hurricane resident speaks in front of City Hall, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George’s News

Hurricane City Council proposed two options for regulating the use of a golf cart. Option A prohibits golf carts on city roads, except for large events such as the 4th of July. Golf carts will be allowed to drive to and from events. A driver’s license will be required to operate a golf cart, and night driving will not be permitted.

Option B will only allow the golf cart to be used on roads with speeds less than 35 mph. This option will not require golf cart drivers to have official driver’s licenses, but golf cart drivers must be 18 or older.

Option B passed unchanged, three council members and two against, allowing Hurricane residents over 18 to drive golf carts on public roads. However, two hours of controversy preceded the movement.

Beginning with a group of citizens voicing their opinions, the council room soon became an unfavorable debate, a room full, with members of the audience screaming impatient at the council members’ conversations. Mayor Nanette Billings began responding to members of the public who raised their hands.

Hurricane Council room fills with local citizens, St. George, Utah, June 18, 2022 | Photo by Truman Burgess, St. George’s News

Carolyn Mills, golf cart owner and Hurricane resident, voiced her opinions directly into the microphone.

She said, “We’re not just golf cart owners, we’re golf cart family!”

Mills didn’t like any of the options the board offered, especially how they had age restrictions.

“I’ve never seen a golf cart endanger anyone in our department,” she said. “ATVs? I was almost run over by them. But never a golf cart. We are a family, not a community. We’re a family, and that’s how we get together to take care of each other.”

Mills described how a 13-year-old boy in her neighborhood safely drove his grandfather to therapy across the street. With this law in place, Mills said, it would not be possible for this type of family behavior to occur.

Steve Garcia, a retired LAPD police officer, spoke from a law enforcement perspective, saying Option A would be unenforceable and would require citizens to report to each other. Option A, he said, would rely on an already weak police force and would be a “huge waste of police resources”.

Some citizens were less tactful in sharing their opinions.

“This is nonsense!” A woman shouted from the back of the room.

Another resident of the hurricane compared the members of the council who set rules for the use of golf carts to being like “the Jews who kept their people bound with more laws.”

Mayor Nanette Billings said using golf carts helps Hurricane residents survive high gas prices and that Hurricanes have parents smart enough not to let their kids drive golf carts haphazardly.

Council Member David Sanders supported Option A. He said how disaster struck Navi after they set out to drive golf carts for the youths, he didn’t want to see that in a hurricane.

Council member Joseph Peretti also supported Option A. He said he’s there to represent all of the city, not just golf cart owners. He said he’s open to expanding Option A to other communities and roads, but a driver’s license is a must.

He said, “If we were a resort community with 12 golf courses connected, that would be different, but I don’t think that’s what we are as a city.”

After the motion for option B was passed, Benny James Garcia, first speaker at the public hearing, spoke to St. George’s News about the meeting.

“I appreciate the council members who listened to their constituents,” she said. “We voted. We elected them to represent our best interests. There were a reasonable number of people here tonight expressing their opinions. And why two[Council members]felt that their opinions were more important than their constituents, I find offensive, but this has happened before and will happen again” .

James Garcia said she was grateful to Mayor Billings for hearing people from the hurricane.

“Thank God for the mayor of our country, who is in tune with her people. She has listened to her people. She has reached out to her residents in golf course communities, and the Board needs their voices.”

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