PORTLAND — The Peaks Island Council hopes new regulations governing  golf cart use will be adopted by the City Council.

The Island Council has been working on the recommended regulations – intended to improve islanders’ quality of life by reducing noise and air pollution and restricting the number of carts on the island – since last year and is ready to bring that list to the city for action.

City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau said the recommendations are expected to go before the Sustainability and Transportation Committee Wednesday, June 19.

Island Council Chairman Randy Schaeffer said golf carts have been a popular way to get around since state law allowed them to be used in island communities to reduce automobile traffic.

But the noise and congestion associated with them, and the way they are operated, is getting to be too much for many island residents.

The Peaks Island Council started looking into the regulation of commercial golf cart operations last year.

“There is no control over the rental of carts, no limit to the companies who can rent there or a limit to the number of carts the companies can rent,” Schaeffer said.

He said the island council would like to see the city require a license before businesses can rent golf carts. The island council also wants to raise the minimum rental period for commercially owned golf carts to at least four hours, cap the number of commercial golf carts at 44 (the current level) and have 14 of those available only for weekly rental.

The Island Council would also like to require all commercial golf carts be powered by electricity by the end of 2020, require any newly registered commercial or private golf carts to be electric, and require renters of island properties to sign an agreement acknowledging safe golf cart operation.

Natasha Markov, owner of Peaks Island Golf Carts, said she understands the need for such ordinances and said her business, which she started in 2011 when she was 13, is “committed to capping our number of golf carts at its current 20 and buying only electric golf carts from now on.” Markov said she is also exploring putting solar panels on her electric carts.

She said she is grateful to the Island Council for its work and the dedication councilors have shown.

“I’m now 21 and the business has taken off,” she said, “but I am constantly reminded that what began as a tiny venture has grown into something capable of impacting quality of life on this island.”

Portland’s corporation counsel has drafted new ordinance language regulating the operation of commercial golf carts on the island. However, Schaeffer said the draft doesn’t address islanders’ desire to limit the number of carts, or require them to be electric by the end of next year.

The issue, he said, has been vetted on the island and most of the 600 respondents to a survey that went out to residents and renters last year indicated cart use should be regulated and limited. Additionally, three public forums and three meetings were held to gauge feedback.

“It was a very thorough process,” Schaeffer said. “We hope the City Council takes that into account with the measures coming before them, because the draft by the attorney was not adequate.”

This is the second time in the last few years golf cart regulations have been brought up.

In 2017, the City Council adopted regulations regarding how golf carts could be used on Peaks Island and other island communities. The regulations set a 20 mph speed limit, required headlights and reflective tape for night use, and required all passengers to use vehicle seats.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter:@mkelleynews

Golf carts are a popular way to get around Peaks Island. The City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee will take up recommendations from the Peaks Island Council for better management of golf carts on the island.

A group of visitors travel along Island Avenue in a commercial golf cart rented by Peaks Island Golf Carts, one of two businesses on the island that rent golf carts. The Peaks Island Council would like to see the number of golf carts capped at the current 44 and see all commercial golf carts and newly registered golf carts be electric-powered by the end of 2020.