Gold cart PIXABAY

MOUNT VERNON — Council members gave the first reading on Monday to an ordinance allowing golf carts and under-speed vehicles (USVs) on city streets. The ordinance requires the vehicles to have specific safety features and undergo inspection by the police chief or his designee. Proof of liability insurance is also required.

The inspection fee has not yet been set. Law Director Rob Broeren said the police chief will set the fee after actually completing an inspection so that the fee will “accurately capture the cost of the inspection” and “reflect how much time is involved.” Council can amend the fee in the future.

Golf carts and USVs cannot operate on any road with a posted speed limit of greater than 35 mph. They also are not allowed on U.S. or state routes. The vehicles are allowed to cross U.S. and state routes.

Council President Bruce Hawkins said the city administration needs to create and make publicly available a map showing exactly where USVs are allowed.

USVs must be licensed, titled, and registered. Operators must be age 16 or over with a valid driver's license or permit.

Violations of the ordinance are a minor misdemeanor. Repeated violations can be fourth- or third-degree misdemeanors, depending on the number of repeat violations occurring.

Carrie Hyman head shot

Carrie Hyman, executive director of Main Street Mount Vernon

In other business, Carrie Hyman, executive director of Main Street Mount Vernon, presented an updated strategic economic development plan for the city's Central Business District. The plan notes area attractions and lists concerns and goals.

The plan is required as part of the city's maintaining its designation as an Ohio Main Street Community and National Main Street Community. Although formal support from council is not required, Hyman asked council to support the plan through a resolution.

Noting that the city has previously provided formal support, Mayor Richard Mavis said, “Whether they need it or not, I think it would be helpful. I think this is something council should recognize.”

Councilwoman Nancy Vail voiced concern that the plan's title was similar to the city's long-term downtown vision and that people might be confused between the two. Other council members noted the downtown vision involves topics such as aesthetics, wayfinding, and traffic patterns. Hyman's plan involves economic development.

Council members will review the plan and discuss it further at the next council meeting.

In other action, council:

  • Adopted the Mount Vernon Downtown Plan as a guide for future development
  • Authorized the purchase of the lot at 301 W. Vine St. as part of the Sandusky Street improvement project
  • Approved the reappointment of Dr. Emerson Laird and Lois Hanson to the Library Board of Trustees as well as the appointment of Christy Burson
  • Approved entering into a contract for resurfacing Ohio 3 from 100 N. Main St. north to the city limits. City Engineer Brian Ball estimates the city's share of the project will be $85,000. The project is slated for 2021-22.
  • Gave a first reading to an ordinance to address chronic nuisance activities
  • Gave a first reading to a resolution authorizing the sale of city property via the internet
  • Heard about plans to create an activity center on the grounds of a former car wash on South Gay Street
  • Heard about a request from Lori Amstutz of Williams Flower Shop for a liquor permit to sell bottled wine. Amstutz said the permit is needed so that wine can be included in flower arrangements and gourmet gift baskets.

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