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Buchanan to provide golf cart ordinance update

December 26, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Dr. Phil Buchanan will present an update regarding the golf cart ordinance that was drafted earlier this year at the Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting next month.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m., at the Elks Lodge.

Buchanan said the Lee County Department of Transportation has completed its review of the drafted Pine Island golf cart ordinance, made some changes and forwarded it to the Lee County Attorney's Office for review. He said the attorney's office said it did not plan any additional substantive changes.

"The Lee Department of Transportation changes and their significance will be outlined at the 3 January meeting," Buchanan said.

The Lee County Commissioners will hold two public meetings after the holidays and a vote will be made on whether or not to adopt the ordinance.

Although golf carts have been widely used on the island for many years, a complaint that was made earlier this year to the law enforcement set an ordinance into motion.

"That complaint forced the Sheriff's Department to start issuing warning tickets to golf cart users," Buchanan said.

Individuals in the Alden Pines golf community use their golf carts for local transportation, as well as those in the Pineland community. Buchanan said individuals also use their golf carts to transport and deliver children to and from bus stops, as well as trash cans to their designated locations.

Residents also use their golf carts in St. James City and Bokeelia to get to and from local restaurants and stores and landscapers use the vehicle to transport their equipment.

Buchanan said disabled citizens sometimes rely exclusively on golf carts for local transportation.

The GPICA sponsored a series of town hall meetings to discuss the issue with residents, as well as personnel from the Sheriff's Department who offered valuable advice. Those discussions led Buchanan, a retired federal government attorney, to draft an ordinance about golf carts.

"Each provision was reviewed and approved by majority vote at the town hall meetings, which were very well attended," he said.

Ninety-seven residents attended the April 3 town hall meeting to vote on the ordinance. They all unanimously agreed to send the draft to Lee County for review.

"They asked that the county staff review the proposal over the summer and respond by October, so the issue could be resolved by the County Commis-sioners during the 2012/2013 tourist season," Buchanan said.

The Lee Department of Transportation responded Oct. 15 with the suggested changes.

"The changes were made and the package went to Lee County Attorney's Office for review," he said. "Lee County Attorney's Office will package the proposal for the two statutorily required public hearings before the commissioners can vote to adopt it as a county ordinance. Pine Islanders will get another chance to comment on the draft ordinance at the public hearings."



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