OVILLA – It was several months ago during an Ovilla City Council meeting that the idea of residents using golf carts within the city was first brought up and voted down.
Although the public works department uses golf carts to read meters, water plants in the parks, measure road projects and other miscellaneous items and the police department has one for parades and civic events, the council members weren’t able to get on board with the idea of residents on the streets in a vehicle mostly found on a golf course.
Council member James Wade presented a petition with 125 signatures at last week’s council meeting and says he’s not giving up on the request.
The petition reads, “We the people by petition do hereby request an ordinance, in accordance with state law, be passed in the city of Ovilla allowing for the use of battery-powered vehicles (golf carts and or utility carts) to be operated within the city limits.”
“The petition is still growing and ongoing,” Wade told the Daily Light. “The last petition to the city that I have seen was a petition to allow a resident to rebuild a wooden carport that fell victim to the snowstorm two years ago. That petition had perhaps 14 signatures comprised of the adjacent homeowners and was ultimately successful.”
Wade hopes for that same success but says he doubts the chances of Mayor Bill Vansyckle acting on any suggestion he brings to the council is unlikely.
“Logic would say that an unwillingness to bend to public demand only proves that this mayor and the axis of likeminded council members are self-serving at best,” he said. “I hope to be wrong on this account, but only time will tell.”
Vansyckle, however, told the Daily Light he’s placed the item on an upcoming agenda.
“Mr. Wade, on Monday night, presented me with a list of citizens who request that the city council consider an ordinance allowing the use of golf carts on public streets,” Vansykle said. “I am setting this to be on the agenda during the June 27 meeting. I am asking those who wish to address the council to please come to the meeting and present their opinions.”
There may still be some opposition.
As discussed at the meeting several months ago, Chief of Police Mike Moon said he was opposed to passing a golf cart ordinance in Ovilla for safety reasons.
Wade disagrees with that position, saying, “I made the comparison in the council meeting that it is safe to have a child on a bicycle riding in the street, but not an adult to ride a cart on four wheels in the street? Again the police response was expected and expressed a desire to not have bicycles on the street either.”
Wade notes that his mother and some of his customers already use golf carts to get around town anyway.
“My mother had been experiencing walking difficulty recently,” he said. “She lives in Ovilla Oaks and has a long uphill driveway. For her birthday, I purchased a golf cart to make it easier for her to fetch the mail and daily newspaper from the street. She had also expressed a desire to visit friends in the neighborhood and thought the cart would be much easier for her to do so since getting in and out of a car can be troublesome.”
After checking into the legality of using a cart on the street, Wade said he discovered that while it’s legal in some parts of the state, it’s not in the city of Ovilla except for city workers. He added that most residents are likely not aware it’s illegal to operate the carts in the city.
“Other communities allow golf carts and it is more economical for short trips around town,” said petition signer, 11-year resident Jane Crawford, of her support of the measure.