It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… golf cart?
The Village of Valmeyer has passed an ordinance that will allow utility vehicles and golf carts on the streets within village limits.
Valmeyer Village President Howard Heavner said the issue was brought up several years ago, but the trustees split a vote to approve use of UTVs – a margin with which Heavner was not comfortable casting the tiebreaking vote on – so the issue was tabled.
“It’s really a state issue,” Heavner said, adding “the state says that villages need to have ordinances either allowing the use of these vehicles or not.”
When another group brought the issue before the board several months ago, village trustees voted to approve the ordinance.
Heavner said that once approved, the board looked into similar ordinances in Hecker, Prairie du Rocher, Freeburg and other localities that allow use of UTVs.
“The state provides minimum standards” for UTV use, Heavner clarified. “We just made some changes to those rules.”
One difference between the state standards and Valmeyer’s are that UTV or golf cart drivers in Valmeyer must be 21 years of age or older rather that the age limit of 16 prescribed by the state.
Also, such vehicles may not be operated between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Furthermore, Heavner says the ordinance was put in place with slower-moving UTVs in mind.
“(The trustees) were thinking about UTVs that have a limit on speed” of between 25 and 30 miles per hour, Heavner said.
He said that even if vehicles do not have speed governors, it is a moot point as the vehicles will only be allowed on village streets which have maximum speed limits of 35 miles per hour.
The vehicles currently may not be used on Bluff Road or any roadway under the jurisdiction of Monroe County or IDOT unless the use is only to cross.
Aaron Metzger, county engineer who oversees the Monroe County Highway Department, said at Monday morning’s Monroe County Board meeting that Valmeyer’s ordinance is worded to allow county road usage if approved by the county board at a future meeting.
There “seems to be interest” in the use of UTVs and golf carts, Heavner said, “but we can see how it goes after a year and remove (the ordinance) if there are problems or it becomes a nuisance.”
The ordinance will be reviewed every year per village bylaws.
Those with UTVs and golf carts must first register the vehicles at Valmeyer Village Hall before receiving permission to operate on streets. The one-time inspection fee is $25 and the yearly permit fee is $50 for residents and $75 for non-residents.
For more information, call 618-935-2131.