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Mixed response on golf carts at Conyers city council
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Conyers City Council heard mixed public response-and opposition from one of its own members-to its plan to allow golf carts on Olde Town streets at its May 21 meeting.

"Lots of people in the community have expressed interest [in legalizing golf carts]...and some people have reservations about it," said Councilman John Fountain, explaining that the council will hold off on voting until its next meeting due to public interest.

The proposed ordinance would allow low-speed, motorized carts (not including all-terrain vehicles) on certain public streets in the Olde Town area. They would not be allowed on sidewalks or other types of paths. Drivers would have to be 18 or older; hold a driver's license; and register the cart with the city. In addition, the cart would need proper braking and lighting gear.

One resident worried about the safety of golf carts among speeding cars; another resident supported the "nice ambience" of such low-speed Olde Town travel. An Olde Town business owner, Mary Blount of Escentually Yours, asked for more details on where and how golf carts would park.

Councilman Cleveland Stroud said he opposes the golf cart plan for safety reasons.

"The streets were made for horses and buggies. I don't think the streets are wide enough," he said. "I'd love to see it in one way, but the safety issue...could create a disaster."

But some other councilmen voice support. Vince Evans said golf carts seem safer than bicycles currently benefiting from recent bike lanes and sharrows. Chris Bowen emphasized it's a pilot program that likely would draw a small number of golf carts to start.

"It is a small area we're looking at. It's an opportunity to see where it goes," Bowen said.

Mayor Randy Mills has been a booster of the golf cart plan since it was hatched at the city's annual Winter Retreat in January. But he said that the concerns had some validity and that officials will take a closer look prior to the next council meeting, currently slated for June 4.

In other council business:

-The council approved a $1,143,853.55 contract with Gregory Bridge Co., Inc. to perform the upcoming widening of Railroad Street. That long-anticipated project likely will begin June 9, with construction lasting 10 months, Conyers Public Works Director Brad Sutton told the News.

-A contract to provide ongoing monitoring of possible pollution at the defunct landfill on Miller Bottom Road was approved. Built in the 1970s and closed in 1993, the landfill is now perpetually monitored for any groundwater contamination or leaking gases, Sutton told the News. The city oversees the monitoring on behalf of itself and Rockdale County. The new Fiscal Year 2014-15 contract with Bunnell-Lammons Engineering totals $25,000.

Sutton told the News that many local homes already have been placed on the public water system rather than wells as a precaution. The city is now considering doing the same for homes on Haynes Ridge Road, the last local road without public water. No contamination has been found there, but "we'd rather be proactive than reactive," Sutton said, adding that many local prefer public water to wells in these times of drought impacts.

-A beer and wine consumption on premise license was approved for the Urban Moo, 1040 Flat Shoals Road (applicant Edward Abbott).

-The council appointed Wilbur Yuan to the Conyers Housing Authority board, where he replaces David LaMalva. His term runs through September 2018.

-After the meeting, the council held an executive session to discuss litigation.