Golf carts make their way along Island Avenue on Peaks Island in early June. File

PORTLAND — How golf carts will operate on Peaks Island will be a little bit different next summer.

The City Council on Monday passed a series of ordinance amendments that put added restrictions on how commercial golf cart businesses can operate on the island.

Visitors to Peaks Island drive around in a golf cart June 7. The council on Monday voted to require inspections and more visible signage, among other measures. File photo

At the Aug. 12 meeting councilors also approved the Bayside Transportation Master Plan and an agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation for paving and road improvements on India Street; three affordable housing units to be built in accessory dwelling units at 18, 22 and 26 Luther Street, and amendments to the City Code that require a State of the Waterfront report every three to five years and an annual Waterfront Development report.

The golf cart measures require commercial carts to be registered with and inspected by the city starting next May. They also require diesel-powered carts to be replaced by electric carts by May 2021.

Councilors also required the two businesses that rent golf carts on the island to have their names and phone numbers in lettering at least 2 inches tall on the carts.

The amendments were based on recommendations from the Peaks Island Council.

“This, in my mind, is a reasonable proposal,” Councilor Spencer Thibodeau said.

Councilor Jill Duson said the increased size of the lettering will help individuals identify golf carts that are operated improperly.

Mayor Ethan Strimling said although he would like to see electric golf carts mandated on all islands, “I think this is a very important step, mostly around the sustainability goals of reducing our carbon footprint.”

But not everyone was happy the item was before the council.

“It’s a ridiculous waste of time,” George Rheault of West Bayside said, adding complaints are nothing more than residents trying to keep visitors off the island. Rheault said residents say it is a safety issue, but there has been no safety data, accident reports or insurance claims related to commercial golf carts.

Island resident Ron Delucia said it is a safety issue because he has seen drivers not paying attention to the road and one that was holding his baby out the window to get a view of the ocean.

Anne Belden, a part-time Peaks Island resident, said regulating commercial golf carts is not about keeping people off the island.

“The golf cart has become an issue that is representative of so much more, which is how are we going to manage the incredible growth of tourism on the island,” she said.

Owners of the commercial golf cart rental businesses have been receptive to the new restrictions.

Natasha Markov, owner of Peaks Island Golf Carts, earlier this summer said she 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 the use of solar panels on her electric carts.

Mike Sylvester of Mike’s Carts told councilors that he saw the restrictions as fair and has over the years taken measures to ease the burden of the business by only renting carts from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., capping the number of carts, and requiring a two-hour minimum rental period.

Joanne MacIsaac, a 60-year resident of Peaks Island, said the proliferation of carts is “ruining the quality of life on the island.”

“We welcome day-trippers. We love to see them come,” MacIsaac said. “(But) they have always left a soft footprint and they aren’t doing that anymore. It is a real problem. This initiative is a Band-Aid, but we are happy to take that and move forward.”

Although she would like to see the restrictions go even further, Pleasant Avenue resident Timmi Sellers said the council action is “an important compromise.”

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