Golf carts could become street legal within Duval County’s portion of Nocatee (The Florida Times-Union)

Golf carts could become street legal within Duval County’s portion of Nocatee (The Florida Times-Union)
By Amanda Williamson

Golf carts could become par for the course in the Duval County portion of the sprawling Nocatee development, a Ponte Vedra community billed as a lifestyle and not just a place to live.

Those who know the area may think golf carts already are a common sight around the less than 5,000 developed acres — and a call into the Welcome Center gives the impression Nocatee has long been a “golf cart community.”

For neighborhoods within Duval County, that isn’t yet the case.

Come Tuesday, however, the Jacksonville City Council will vote on a bill designating roadways within the development as appropriate for golf cart use.

“[Golf carts] are part of the Nocatee lifestyle,” said David Ray, community manager of the Nocatee Community Development District. “They provide residents in Nocatee an alternative mode of transportation to Nocatee’s shops and amenities that is efficient and eco-friendly.”

The bill, which restricts the age of the driver and the type of golf cart used, has been pending through committees for a while.

Councilman Danny Becton, who sponsored the bill, says he doesn’t exactly remember when it was originally filed — but is excited to bring it to a close. The bill must pass city council before Nocatee developer The Parc Group can construct the infrastructure needed to accommodate golf carts within the community.

Construction plans are already drawn up, and just require final approval.

Ray expects construction on necessary infrastructure to be completed by end of 2017, should the bill pass. Future pathways within Duval County will connect to existing structures in St. Johns County.

The St. Johns County portion of Nocatee legally is already a “golf cart community,” as designated by Florida statute. Approximately 85 percent of the Ponte Vedra development sits inside St. Johns County, but neighborhoods on the northwest side fall in Duval. This is approximately 15 percent of the overall development, Ray said.

“Both the Duval County and St. Johns County portions of Nocatee are part of the same community development district,” Becton said, “and they may see themselves as all one entity.”

As a result, Becton mainly sees the legislation as a “housekeeping” bill to ensure equitable access to golf carts across both counties.

The bill designates the appropriate age of the driver and requires golf carts be equipped with headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals to operate on the public right-of-way after dark. Golf carts without these must only be used between sunrise and sunset. On top of the cart requirements, the developer must post appropriate signage on streets named by the bill, which include King Palm Court, Wayfare Lane, Cypress Trails Drive, and Gray Wolf Trail, among others.

It’s a pretty simple, straightforward bill, Becton said. The bill will be on its third reading Tuesday during the Jacksonville City Council meeting, held at 5 p.m. at City Hall. It’s already been approved by the Neighborhoods and Community Investment, Public Health and Safety and Transportation, and the Energy and Utility committees.

Source: The Florida Times-Union