Island tackles dockless scooters, rental golf carts

Alana Hernandez/Valley Morning Star In a meeting this past week, South Padre Island City Council members addressed several golf cart issues and debated solutions.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — A few ordinances regarding vehicular modes of transportation were passed during a city council meeting held this past week.

City Council members unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting the rental and/or leasing of dockless motor assisted scooters on city property. As per the ordinance, dockless rental/leased scooters left abandoned in the city for seven days will be impounded. Owners of improperly parked impounded dockless scooters will then need to provide proof of ownership and pay a $100 administrative fee for the release of each dockless scooter.

The ordinance is meant to deter rental/ leasing companies from dropping off their scooters in the city.

“This is just to get ahead of the problems that the cities of Dallas, San Antonio and everybody have where they’re just leaving these things in people’s yards and whatever,” Mayor Patrick McNulty explained during the meeting.

Back in February, council members unanimously approved an ordinance that temporarily prohibited the rental and/or leasing of motor-assisted scooters on the Island for 180 days.

RENTAL/LEASED GOLF CARTS

The dockless scooter ordinance was met without opposition for approval.

However, this wasn’t the case with all ordinances on the agenda that meeting.

The council repealed a previous ordinance passed in March of this year that restricted all sound-emitting devices on commercial rental/ leased golf carts from exceeding 65 decibels at night and 68 during the day.

Furthermore, the council voted to replace the ordinance and determined any sound device, which emits noise and is currently installed in commercial rental/leased motorized golf carts is to be disconnected and/or removed.

Council members Alita Bagley and Eva Jean Dalton voted against approving the ordinance.

Throughout the meeting, a few council members and rental golf cart business owners requested the council to table the agenda item.

Will Greenwood, an owner of SPI Activities, LLC, voiced his opinions on the ordinance before the council took it to a vote.

“I, too, do not want overly loud music emitting from golf carts and causing disturbances in our neighborhoods,” he said.

As an owner of a vacation rental agency on South Padre, Greenwood said he understands the importance of keeping peace in neighborhoods and not having noise complaints.

“At the same time, I think we need to take the music into more consideration,” he added. “Our customers enjoy being able to listen to music at a reasonable level and cruise the Island in a golf cart.”

Greenwood said he believes the issue of music on commercial rental/leased golf carts needs more consideration before finalizing an ordinance.

“Voting to remove the speakers from the golf carts entirely will lower the income for our businesses,” Greenwood told the council. “We’re doing our best to work with the city and our community to address this issue as well as meet the needs of our customers in offering a fun activity for them to do while visiting South Padre Island.”

Throughout the meeting, council members Joe Ricco and Kerry Schwartz held a firm stance on banning sound-emitting devices from commercial rental/ leased golf carts.

“I don’t think people are going to come to the Island and look at a golf cart and say it doesn’t play music — I’m not renting it. This has been a nuisance to the residents,” Schwartz said during the meeting.

Schwartz continued the discussion by stating he is “pro-business.”

“I want everybody to make money, but when there is a segment in the business that becomes a nuisance to the residents and us having a quality of life … This ordinance was passed back in March to reduce the sound levels and nothing was done,” he said. “A meeting was held in May advising everybody council is not happy, the residents aren’t happy. Do something about it. Nothing happened.”

During the meeting, McNulty voiced his opinion of the golf cart issue.

“I want everybody to understand that if someone made the comment that we need to find a way to make everybody happy, well, I have never seen anybody make everybody happy,” he said during the discussion. “We’re tasked with having to deal with business situations, but we’re also tasked with dealing with residents and quality of life for people. We do have multiple aspects that go hand-in-hand with all these items.”

ahernandez@valleystar.com