Nisswa will become a golf cart community, as one city council member phrased adoption of an ordinance to allow golf carts to motor throughout the city.
The ordinance will become effective Tuesday, June 1.
The council unanimously approved the ordinance, permit application and permit fee at its regular meeting Tuesday, April 20, after reviewing the proposed rules for the past several months.
Some council members still have concerns about operating golf carts on certain roads, such as County State Aid Highways 13 and 77, including the intersection of CSAH 77 with Nokomis Avenue (Grand View Lodge entrance) and Lower Roy Lake Road.
The Crow Wing County Board still must approve the ordinance to allow golf carts to operate on county roads within Nisswa (CSAHs 13, 18 and 77).
Golf cart owners will have to fill out an application and pay a permit fee of $30, which will cover three calendar years.
Also April 20, the council heard a golf cart ordinance presentation from Parks and Recreation Director Amber Moon Peterson, who outlined ways to educate the public and enforce the ordinance. She said this summer will mainly be about educating golf cart drivers about the rules and gathering feedback.
The plan is to launch the golf cart pilot project this summer to begin to understand the patterns and use of golf carts in the city limits. City staff will use information gathered in the summer to develop a final trail use policy, which the council will adopt before completion of the Gull Lake Trail anticipated in 2022.
There has been some public opposition to allowing golf carts to use the Gull Lake Trail because of safety concerns. Golf carts are allowed on city trails, but not on the state Paul Bunyan Trail.
The ordinance does not include permits for off-road vehicles because the state already requires these types of vehicles to be licensed.
No one voiced concerns or other feedback at a public hearing on the golf cart ordinance in March.
Among other provisions, the ordinance specifies that golf carts will be allowed on the right shoulder or extreme right hand side of city roads and county roads (subject to county board approval) from sunrise to sunset and must be equipped with original headlights, taillights and rear facing brake lights.
They cannot be operated on state highways, except to cross at designated intersections.
City Administrator Jenny Max shared in an email why the city decided to explore the idea of allowing golf carts on roads.
The city's 2030 comprehensive plan includes policies that guide the future growth and development of the city. Through this plan, the city hopes to preserve the small-town character of Nisswa while also enhancing the tourist appeal of the community.
"One way to accomplish this is by promoting alternative methods of transportation, such as golf carts, throughout our community and connecting our residential neighborhoods, commercial areas and recreational amenities. In connecting the community we also hope to encourage a healthy lifestyle, enjoyment of our natural resources and support of our local economy," she wrote.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.