The Canton City Council on Thursday approved a request to create a personal transportation vehicle district at River Green in Canton, which sets rules and regulations for the use of golf carts in the community.

Community Development Director Ken Patton said at the Feb. 4 meeting that the River Green Homeowners Association submitted a request to create a personal transportation vehicle district. A representative from River Green added at that meeting that the district and the city’s ordinance would help deal with issues in that community pertaining to traffic violations and underage driving of golf carts, ATVs, and similar vehicles.

Many residents of River Green voiced their concerns about underage drivers without a license, carts carrying more passengers than permitted, and overall reckless driving via email with city staff over the last few weeks. With this approval, the River Green HOA will adopt the city ordinance on personal transportation vehicles, which will put rules and regulations in place to help ease these concerns.

Rules in the city’s ordinance that pertain to concerns from residents include the enforcement that an operator must have a valid driver’s license or permit in Georgia, and the operation of the vehicle has to meet the requirements of that license or permit. Drivers with a permit must have a person 18 or older with a license in the vehicle with them.

The streets that are proposed to be included in the district would be River Green Avenue, River Bend Way, and connected streets, with certain streets excluded such as Pinnacle Place, Victoria Gardens, and Franklin Park, and connected streets.

Many residents who sent emails to city staff voiced either their support or opposition. Residents voicing support for the district proposal said they believed that the ordinance could help resolve many of the safety issues that come with golf carts. Overall, residents who are opposed to the district are concerned that the current issues the community has with such vehicles and carts will not get any better because the Canton Police Department would not be able to enforce the rules consistently.

Canton Police Chief Stephen Merrifield said at the Feb. 4 council meeting that the ordinance is clear to follow for the officers, and enforcement by Canton police wouldn’t be too big of an issue. However, he added that a car could not be in the neighborhood all the time. Merrifield stressed that it would be important for residents to call police with any issues, and officers will be enforcing this ordinance, regardless if the district is approved or not.

Councilman Nick Estes added at Thursday’s meeting that what this ordinance does is helps to address and ease citizens’ concerns, whether they are for or against this district.

“This will ultimately give a lot more clarity about what is allowed and isn’t allowed with homeowners in River Green,” he said.

City Manager Billy Peppers added that the decals for registering personal transportation vehicles have not been ordered yet, and will not be available for another couple of weeks. He said that as those decals are being ordered, signs will be installed throughout this district.

“We will let River Green know when all of the materials are in and we are ready to start selling decals,” Peppers said.

Both Peppers and councilwoman Brooke Schmidt stressed that until this process is fully completed and decals are available to register personal transportation vehicles, said vehicles are still considered illegal in the River Green community.

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