HOWARD — The Howard Township trustees held a public hearing on Thursday to gather input on whether to allow golf carts on township roads.
Two Apple Valley residents attended the hearing. Both supported the idea.
Doug Anley said that he understands the safety concerns about having golf carts on the road, but also said that he believes that living is about calculated risks.
“It's no different than walking down Apple Valley Road. You have to use caution,” he told the trustees. “You also want to think about the marketability of Apple Valley Lake.”
Anley said that he was inspired to look into the use of golf carts after attending a Fourth of July event in Evansport.
“The community feel, it was a really enjoyable day. The golf carts seemed to be what brought that out,” he said.
Jon Gray said the important thing to emphasize is that properly-functioning, well-lighted golf carts driven by drivers who know what they are doing are safer than walking or cycling.
“It's a positive thing as long as it is done safely,” he said. “They need to be operated just like cars.”
Gray said that golf carts don't just make a community more marketable, but they also promote friendliness.
“Golf carts open up communities. It's easier to say hi to your neighbors,” he said, adding that he would love to hop into a golf cart and head to the beach rather than driving his car. “My carbon footprint is not as great, so it's also eco-friendly.”
As of now, using golf carts might be limited for some Apple Valley residents. Trustee Joe Toth said that according to the Ohio Revised Code, golf carts are not allowed on, or even to cross, a roadway with a speed limit greater than 35 mph. While some sections of Apple Valley Drive have a 35 mph speed limit, other parts have a 40 mph limit.
This obstacle might be eliminated depending on the results of an Apple Valley Drive speed study the county engineer's office is conducting. According to Toth, County Engineer Cameron Keaton indicated that if the speed limit is changed, it will probably be lowered, not increased.
The entrance to Apple Valley, Apple Valley Boulevard, is also 40 mph. Both Apple Valley Boulevard and Apple Valley Drive are county roads.
All township roads are 25 mph.
Toth said he has contacted the Knox County Sheriff's Office, county commissioners, and the East Knox Joint Fire District for their input.
“We also wanted to make sure we got input from surrounding community members, not just Apple Valley, because they are part of Howard Township, too,” he said.
Trustee Craig Gilmore said he has received some negative feedback on the idea. Comments mostly relate to speed, blind spots, and hills.
The trustees don't expect to make a decision before the end of the year.