OKEECHOBEE – Some Lazy 7 residents will be disappointed to learn the golf cart issue won’t be on the agenda for an Okeechobee County Commission meeting in October.
At the Sept. 22 commission meeting, Commission Chair Terry Burroughs said he has received requests to put the issue of “golf cart communities” on the agenda next month.
“The sheriff put out a notice Aug. 1 about he was going to start cracking down on golf carts on county roads,” Burroughs explained. “He’s been doing some warnings for people in Lazy 7 that has caused a slight ruckus.”
He said state statutes allow counties to establish golf cart communities and allow the use of golf carts on county roads that have speed limits under 30 mph.
Burroughs asked the other commissioners if they wanted to place the matter on the Oct. 20 agenda for discussion.
Commissioner David Hazellief voiced opposition to the idea.
“We’ve already had requests from parks that would be a nightmare with them being on the streets,” said Hazelliefs. “Can you imagine if we allow this in other neighborhoods?”
Hazellief said residents can make additions to golf carts to make them street legal. They are then considered “low speed vehicles” (LSV) and can be driven on county roads that have speed limits less than 35 mph.
“You can make a golf cart legal and drive it on the street if it is street legal,” said Hazellief.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, LSVs must be equipped with a windshield, exterior mirrors on the driver and passenger sides, headlamps, parking brake, set belt for each designated seat, reflex reflectors, front and rear turn signals, tail lamps and stop lamps. LSVs must be registered and titled with a tax collector’s office before they are driven on a county road.
Hazellief said state law that allows counties to designate some roads as approved for golf cart use does not include side-by-sides.
County Administrator Deborah Manzo said the county could designate whatever roads the commissions deems safe with speed limits of less than 30 mph to be approved for golf carts.
County Attorney Wade Vose said the commission’s authority is limited to county roads. Golf carts may not ben driven on state roads.
“The Prairie are not county roads. It would make them a moot point,” said Commissioner Brad Goodbread.
Goodbread said he would not mind putting it on the agenda to discuss it.
“I don’t mind looking at it. If it’s residents who want something like that, if there’s enough of them, I don’t mind listening to them,” he said.
“My view of it is apparently it was enough of a safety issue that the sheriff felt he needed to take action and he’s the constitutional officer elected to make those decisions,” said Commissioner Kelly Owens. “I
“I’m open to listening to it,” said Burroughs.
He noted since the vote was 2-2, the motion failed. The fifth commission seat has been open since the resignation of Bryant Culpepper since April 1, 2021. Frank DeCarlo ran unopposed for that seat and will take office after the November election.
“The sheriff and I will go out and talk to them and we’ll see what comes out of that,” said Burroughs.