Jgetting around by golf cart is a way of life for many in the Linganore Lake community. Some New Market area residents are hoping to see another attempt to pass a bill to expand golf cart access to certain county roads.
On September 8, the New Market Town Council voted 3-0 to be included in potential state legislation allowing golf carts on county roads. Councilors Dennis Kimble and Shane Rossman were absent from the meeting.
During the last legislative session, Frederick County State Senators attempted to pass Senate Bill 703 to create an exception to motor vehicle registration requirements for power carts golf course on select county roads.
The bill passed the Maryland Senate 44-0, with three senators absent, according to Legislative Records Online. When the bill reached the House Environment and Transportation Committee, it received an unfavorable vote.
At Lake Linganore, golf carts are part of the community. The homeowners association allows them on parking lots owned by the Linganore Lake Association, on some designated trails and other common areas, according to Michelle Doster, the association’s chief executive.
State Senator Michael Hough, who sponsored the bill, said there were hundreds of golf carts in Lake Linganore. The bill would have helped local governments regulate rules of the road for golf carts, he said.
Hough, who is running for executive in Frederick County, was unsure whether future state senators would renew the push for golf carts, but said he would support the legislation, if elected. Senator Ron Young, who was also a sponsor, is also not seeking re-election to the Senate.
Kurt Rauschenberg, 40, and his family have lived at Lake Linganore for over two years. One of the reasons they left the Annapolis area was the amenities of Lake Linganore, he wrote in a letter to Hough supporting expanded golf cart access.
“It’s a lifestyle thing,” Rauschenberg told the News-Post.
He drives his golf cart up a steep neighborhood hill to pick up his mail. The family also uses a golf cart to take their children to Coldstream Beach, where vehicle parking can be difficult to find on a nice day, he said.
The car park right next to the beach has 10 spaces. There is a grassy overflow lot about a quarter mile up the road.
Golf carts are ideal when parking is scarce, Rauschenberg said. He’s seen golf carts lined up along the beach on a sunny day.
Golf carts are even used for local holiday parades, he said.
“Communities come together,” Rauschenberg said.
However, to reach the trails where golf carts are allowed, they often have to use county roads.
“Really, to get to the trails, you have to drive a bit on the roads,” Linganore Lake resident Ben Franich said in an interview.
Franich, 36, uses his golf cart to access trails to run and walk with his dog. He echoed Rauschenberg’s sentiments, agreeing that golf carts make it easier to get to amenities.
Franich said the pool and lake parking lot often fills up quickly with cars.
Last week, the New Market Town Council discussed the pros and cons of expanding golf cart access.
“I think it’s great,” Councilman Chris Weatherly said. “That would make us unique.”
He suggested golf carts would be better for navigating narrow roads.
A resident at the meeting said the golf carts could reduce traffic at school and would be easier for young children to get in and out of.
Golf carts could also help older residents, one man suggested. He said his mother would have trouble driving her truck, but she could take a golf cart to visit friends nearby.
Some residents at the meeting expressed concern about how golf carts would be checked for speeding and worried about how they would cross busy roads.
Councilman Matthew Chance said some neighborhoods are expected to lose school bus service, so golf carts could help those families.
He thinks golf carts could be “less intrusive” on congested roads and easier to park than standard vehicles. Chance said he was considering allowing golf carts in certain neighborhoods, such as Brinkley Manor and The Orchard.
Ultimately, the council decided it wanted the option of allowing golf carts on county roads and voted to include it in possible enabling legislation.
Mayor Winslow Burhans III said council’s vote was not a final decision for or against golf carts.
“It gives us the opportunity to have that option and to have further discussions,” Burhans said during the meeting.
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