A new ordinance passed by the Grant County Commissioners allows county road access for ATVs and golf carts.
The ordinance, which went into effect on Jan. 22, models similar ordinances in surrounding counties.
Grant County Commissioner Ron Mowery said there has been a lot of interest over time for an ordinance such as this.
“We tried to take ordinances from Huntington, Wells and Madison counties … to model ours ... to be consistent with the other counties,” Mowery said. “So many people ride ATVs and golf carts and travel a considerable amount of distance (across counties).”
Mowery added that the commissioners have tried to model the ordinance in such a way that it does not conflict with Department of Natural Resources rules or other communities ordinances in the county.
Failure to abide by the conditions (see info box) carries a first violation fine of $25 and a second violation of $100 and 60-day suspension from using off-road vehicles and golf carts. Every following violation comes with a $250 fine and lifetime suspension.
According to Steve Mitchell, sales manager at Bowman’s Carts in Gas City, the ordinance was a welcomed change in county law.
“If we drew a circle in a 25-mile radius around Gas City, we'd probably encounter 1,500-1,800 golf carts,” Mitchell said.
In Gas City alone there are 500-600 registered golf carts, he added.
According to Mitchell, all state laws must be followed, but each community has the ability to pass its own ordinance and add on to what the state requires, such as Summitville which requires golf cart drivers to wear seatbelts, which isn’t a requirement in Gas City.
All cities in Grant County, except for Marion, allow ATVs and golf carts to drive on city streets, Mitchell said.
Gas City has had its golf cart ordinance since 2006.
Mitchell, who likes to drive to work on his golf cart when the weather is nice, said it’s a two mile drive on county roads before he reaches Gas City.
Mitchell said he hopes Marion passes a similar ordinance to allow golf carts on city streets.
“It would be a huge market for us,” he said. “We’re the only golf cart dealers in Grant County at this point.”
Mitchell said the ordinance will make life easier for ATV and golf cart owners to travel between towns and even into other counties.
“It’s a great thing and long overdue,” he said. “It’s certainly slowed life down in Gas City. I jump in my golf cart and get to anywhere I want to in Gas City … I applaud (the commissioners) for doing it.”