Glynn County officials are considering local regulations to outlaw golf carts on “major arteries” on St. Simons Island, Glynn County Commissioner Peter Murphy revealed at a quarterly town hall meeting Thursday.
He listed such roads as King Way, Frederica Road and Demere Road when referring to major arteries.
Island resident Daryl Rabert broached the subject during the question-and-answer portion of the town hall, saying golf carts are an obvious hazard on the road and asked if the county plans to do anything about them.
Rabert said he often sees kids driving golf carts around busy areas with nothing to protect them in the event they get into an accident.
Murphy said he and county police Chief John Powell have held discussions on the subject, and that they both think it’s a good idea.
Powell said he too gets “irritated” with golf carts on major roads, and that he’s talked with Murphy and County Attorney Aaron Mumford about banning them on arterial roads on St. Simons Island.
They had nothing tangible to present at the town hall meeting, however.
“We are working on it,” Powell said.
Prior to the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, Murphy gave updates on a number of things he talked about at the last town hall and gave the public information on new subjects.
He said the county’s proposed comprehensive plan was approved by the state on Thursday, and the county commission plans to adopt it soon. Once adopted, the county can hire a consultant to help it update the zoning ordinance.
Murphy reminded the public of three projects beginning soon, which will pose major inconveniences to drivers.
A major rework of stormwater drainage in the Pier Village and resurfacing of Demere and Frederica Roads will be seriously disruptive for island residents but are necessary, he said.
An ordinance to regulate short-term rentals and a major project to straighten Frederica Road as it runs past Christ Church Frederica are still in the works, he said.
During the question-and-answer session, Ernie Hammond, a St. Simons Island resident, congratulated the county on being awarded $2.5 million grant from the state Department of Community Affairs for beach restoration. He encouraged Murphy to use it to renourish the beach in areas where it’s grown thin.
Murphy said the county likely wouldn’t be using it for renourishment. The grant money has to be spent by April 2020, and he doubted the county would have enough time to get the necessary approvals and do the work. It will likely go towards shoring up rock revetments and restoring sand dunes, he said.
Island resident Jim Branca commended Murphy for his efforts to regulate short-term rentals. He owns property that he uses for short-term rentals, Branca said. He pays his taxes but others don’t, and it creates unfair competition. Murphy said that’s what its about, leveling the playing field.
State Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, asked if the county enjoyed the same sovereign immunity protections against litigation that the state of Georgia does.
Commission Chairman Bill Brunson said he couldn’t say and County Attorney Aaron Mumford wasn’t present, but that he thought county’s should. He also pointed out that Hogan had pushed for legislation to protect counties from class action lawsuits earlier this year. Hogan eventually dropped it but said he wasn’t ruling out pushing for it again in the future.
One Sea Palms resident asked if roads in the development will be resurfaced soon.
County Public Works Director Dave Austin said the county put up some money so the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission could completely repave a road it is working on.
Money isn’t a problem when it comes to road paving, Austin said. The issue in Sea Palms is aging pipes under the road. The JWSC needs to fix the pipes, so if the county repaves the roads now the utility will likely have to tear them up again in the near future, he said.