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Amid regret, New Haven Council says no golf carts

– He simply wanted the elderly to be able to visit and congregate on their golf carts legally, but in the end, New Haven City Councilman Terry Werling joined the unanimous vote that killed the proposed golf cart law.

After several contentious meetings and several close votes regarding the issue, all council members voted no on the final reading Tuesday. Twice before, preliminary votes split the council 4-3 in favor of regulating golf carts.

Werling had discussed the golf cart proposal with many elderly residents who like to use the carts in their neighborhoods and to attend events, he said.

After the vote, Councilman Ron Steinman, R-at large, read a letter in support of Werling, saying the “golf cart fiasco caught me off guard.”

There will still be golf carts on the streets, he said, only now they will be unlicensed, with no age limits, and no lights or safety standards.

“That’s just sad,” he said.

Steinman also apologized to Werling on behalf of the public.

People had been hateful, verbally and through emails, he said.

“The personal attacks to you and your family and to council members were over the top,” Steinman said.

Several people in the audience also expressed concern that Werling had been the victim of unfair and harsh criticism after introducing the ordinance.

Werling, R-at large, looking weary, said he felt he had done his homework and made the proposed ordinance as safe as possible.

“I just wanted to legalize golf carts,” Werling said. “But we have to look at the pros and cons, and we had more people say they were against it than for it. The people who I know would have liked this ordinance never stepped forward.

“I honestly meant well, and I think we took it in the right direction,” he said. “And we have a lot of elderly in this community that would have appreciated it.”

vsade@jg.net

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