The Villages Voice - August 2010NOTE: Adobe PDF Reader is required in order to view the complete Village Voice. If you do not have Adobe PDF reader installed, please download it at www.adobe.com. This is a free download.
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Villages Fact Finder
Villages Fact Finder
The Villages Community Development Districts were developed as a mixed-use retirement community that were required to provide non-automotive, non-vehicular, multi-modal paths interconnecting the districts for bicycles, pedestrians, skaters and golf carts. These interconnecting multi-modal paths are intended as alternative transportation routes for pedestrians and golfers to access The Villages’ numerous golf courses and amenities, as well as, be used by cyclers, skaters, and golf carts.
Forms of Transportation Allowed on the Paths
The directives clearly provide for path use pedestrians, skaters, bicycles and golf carts. Other modes which are not explicitly addressed in the development orders (D.O.’s) of the Districts are subject to some interpretation.
Segways – not a vehicle (in the State of Florida for use on a highway) and are treated like bicycles – yes for use on path.
Mopeds and motorcycles – are vehicles (intended for use on highway) and do not meet D.O.’s intended use of paths. (Mopeds may use the paths when propelled solely by human power.)
Street legal golf carts and low speed vehicles are still either golf carts or intended for use also as golf carts, and therefore may be used on the paths.
Traffic Control Measures on the Paths
The Districts own and maintain the paths and therefore could adopt rules restricting certain types of transportation methods, however, these rules would have no real value since the Districts have now enforcement authority.
Similarly, the Districts could establish speed limits for safety purposes, but again have no enforcement authority.
The Districts has the authority to construct speed bumps for safety and to reduce damage to the paths caused by speed.
Enforcement of District Established Rules
The Community Development Districts do not possess any law enforcement powers. Also the county sheriff does not have jurisdiction to exercise its law enforcement power over the districts’ paths. A legislative change to Florida statues is a possible means to expand the traffic control and enforcement jurisdiction of local law enforcement agencies to extend to multi-modal path that are open to the public.
Golf Cart Registration
Without law enforcement powers, the Districts cannot mandate or enforce a registration process for golf carts. However, there is no apparent obstacle to the Districts offering a voluntary inspection and registration program as a service to those persons operating golf carts on the Districts’ paths.
A Legal Opinion
The Villages is among many developing “golf cart” communities pondering rules and their enforcement on multi-modal paths. The Fact Finder has summarized the findings of Districts’ attorney on multi-modal paths here and the attorney recommends that the Districts workshop these matters regarding speed bumps, legislative changes to expand the enforcement jurisdiction of local law enforcement agencies, speed limits and desired types of conveyances so there is continuity among the districts as required by the development orders.