August 22, 2018
Golf Carts Approved In Buxton Except on Highway 12
BY NEEL KELLER
THE OUTER SENTINEL
After a unanimous vote by the Dare Board of Commissioners at its Aug.
20 meeting, Buxton is joining other villages on Hatteras Island that
allow the use of golf carts on selected roads. The carts are already
allowed on specified streets in the villages of Avon, Waves and
Hatteras, the last being the only village where the carts are allowed
on N.C. 12.
The vote followed a public hearing on the proposal, during which two
Buxton residents spoke remotely from the Fessenden Center. Wanda
Magness said she was "all for the golf carts" and asked if they would
be permitted to "cross Highway Twelve."
Mike Finnegan said he was also "in favor" of allowing carts, noting
that it would bring additional revenue to Buxton, help the elderly and
perhaps "slow the traffic down some."
In her presentation, Dare County Planning Director Donna Creef
explained that the revision of the Dare County Code allowing carts in
Buxton does not allow them to drive on or cross N.C. 12. She suggested
adding language to make that clearer.
Dare Sheriff Doug Doughtie spoke briefly, explaining that he had
opposed allowing the vehicles on N.C. 12 due to its higher volume of
traffic and documented cases of motorists speeding on the road,
presenting a serious risk to passengers on the slow moving golf carts
that have no safety equipment such as seat belts.
Doughtie confirmed that his staff will be ready to enforce the
prohibition on driving on or crossing N.C. 12, stating that they would
ticket the offenders and "take the golf cart."
While the board discussed additional regulations — such as requiring
the registration of golf carts and adding seat belts — the
commissioners decided not to proceed with those rules after hearing
from Commissioner and Buxton resident Danny Couch.
Couch urged the board not to "overregulate" the issue, explaining:
"You're talking about a handful of smaller motels, and essentially the
rental cottages are on about a one-mile stretch down Old Lighthouse
Road." He added that Kill Devil Hills and Duck have "ten times the
volume of traffic that we have down there [in Buxton]."
Asked how many golf carts can be expected to hit the streets of Buxton, Creef said it will not be a small number.
"Golf carts are a big business," she said. She described recently
seeing vehicles driving to the Outer Banks from Virginia, noting that,
"They all had golf carts. So it's a very big deal."