Golf carts to disappear from Carolina Beach streets by 2028

Golf carts to disappear from Carolina Beach streets by 2028
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Golf carts may soon be a thing of the past in Carolina Beach as council members passed an ordinance to help phase out the popular way to get around.

“These ones are really tough on council because you’re trying to be reasonable and take care of your residents’ concerns when you have a public safety issue and those are always difficult,” said Mayor Lynn Barbee.

Town Council voted 4-1 on the issue with only Councilman Joe Benson voting against the ordinance. The new rule puts an end to the town issuing permits for golf carts starting July 1. After that, golf cart owners who already have permits will be able to renew them until the end of 2027. Come 2028, golf carts will not be permitted on the roads in Carolina Beach.

That’s good news for Edward Alexander. He’s the sales manager at Icon, which sells and rents out low-speed vehicles (LSV), which will still be allowed under the new ordinance. Though they look similar to golf carts, there are key differences. LSVs are registered with the DMV and require annual inspections and insurance.

“These carts keep up with traffic,” Alexander said. “They accelerate and get up to 25 mph at the pace that an automobile does. As a matter of fact, a lot of times if you’re at a traffic light in one of these and hit the gas, you’ll take off from the car. A lot of times when you see traffic backed up with a slower cart, it’s a golf cart.”

Carolina Beach Police Chief Vic Ward said at Tuesday’s meeting that several safety concerns have been brought to his attention. His officers have encountered underaged unlicensed drivers, had difficulty identifying stolen vehicles and responded to accidents involving intoxicated drivers behind the wheel of a golf cart.

Despite the concern for public safety, slow-moving vehicles are a popular way to get around the island.

“Parking’s easier, less noise,” said Carolina Beach local Vinson Lutheran, who isn’t interested in buying an LSV. “I don’t think it’s necessary. The island’s seven miles long. I think a golf cart is more than adequate to get us around on the island.”

Lutheran has owned his 2003 golf cart since moving to Carolina Beach 20 years ago. As he puts it, it’s at the end of its life cycle and in need of repairs. At some point in the near future, he’ll have to replace it. Under the new ordinance, he’s running out of time to make that decision.

“To now all of a sudden be told ‘hey, you can’t get a new permit even though you’ve had one,’ -- I think it’d be far better to allow existing owners who have a history of registration to maybe consider that,” said Lutheran.