Carolina Beach Council Approves Pedal Pub Amendment

Carolina Beach Council Approves Pedal Pub Amendment

Carolina Beach Council Approves Pedal Pub Amendment Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:07

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council voted four to one during their March 13th, meeting to amend the code of ordinances to allow for trolley-style passenger vehicles that would offer tours in commercial and residential areas of town as well as permit their passengers to consume beer and wine during tours.

According to Town Senior Planner Jeremy Hardison, "The Applicant, Tina Bell, applied for a text amendment to allow for bicycle tours that would permit customers to consume beer and unfortified wine while on a trolley-style  vehicle that would tour along a specified route throughout town.  This type of vehicle currently operates in Wilmington, Raleigh and Charlotte. The Town’s current ordinance allows for the operation of taxi cabs, private bus services, rickshaws and pedicabs, but does not address a commercial vehicle that is propelled by multiple passengers not including the operator."

Hardison explained, "Staff has drafted an ordinance to address the allowance of a “Commercial Pedal Vehicle” that is a non-motorized device with four wheels steering for a forward seat driver, 8-16 passenger saddle seats, and pedals by which the device may be propelled upon a street at low speed.  Any proposed Commercial Pedal Vehicle would need to be approved by Town Council. The ordinance would address operating hours, route approval, addresses the consumption of alcohol, and safety concerns. The vehicle is constructed with a low running board, built in coolers, and a bar at which passenger sit and peddle, and are allowed to consume beer and wine, which they must provide themselves."

The Council first considered the requested amendment during their February 13th, meeting but took no action on the text amendment and asked that the item be brought back to them at their March 13th, meeting with language to address the issues discussed during the meeting.

Hardison explained to Council in a memo concerning the March 13th, meeting, "At the last scheduled meeting Town Council reviewed a text amendment application from Tina Bell on creating an allowance for a Commercial Pedal Vehicle that would allow for tours that would permit customers to consume beer and unfortified wine while on a trolley-style vehicle.  Staff heard the following concerns from Council in regards to the application. 1. Additional safety regulations - The ordinance was updated to address headlights, turn signals, tail lights, horns, breaks, and inspections of the vehicle. 2. Limit the number of permits that can be issued – The proposed ordinance allows two permits.  Each permit only allows one vehicle and the same applicant can’t have both permits.  3.     A permit issued by Town Council detailing the route – The initial permit will be issued by Town Council. An annual permit will be issued by staff thereafter. At the time a permit application is received the applicant will present the route to Town Council for approval. 4. Address what streets the vehicle is allowed on, how are the pick up and drop offs occurring, and how they collect their fares. – Staff recommends that the vehicle should not be on Lake Park Blvd and Dow Rd except to cross at a controlled intersection.  Also, not to operate in the R-2 and R-3 [residential] zoning areas.  Drop offs and pickups should occur on private property or with in a designated parking space. The business location where the initial meeting place for patrons should occur on private property, not in a public area. The applicant would like for there to be a stipulation that the above items could be waived by Town Council under the permit review."

The pedal cars would also be allowed on Cape Fear Blvd and Harper Avenue.

Hardison explained, "Staff recommends Ordinance 18-1076 and the budget ordinance to the rates and fees schedule for the amendment to allow for Pedal Vehicles, that vehicle should not be on Lake Park Blvd and Dow Rd except to cross at a controlled intersection.  Also, not to operate in the R-2 and R-3 zoning areas.
Drop offs and pickups should occur on private property or with in a designated parking space. The business location where the initial meeting place for patrons should occur on private property, not in a public area."

During the March 13th, meeting Councilman JoDan Garza questioned, "Why restrict it from Lake Park? If we are looking to be a bicycle friendly, golf cart friendly community and we are slowing our speeds down, it's hard seeing that the Town would be so restrictive on taking Lake Park out of the situation."

Hardison said, "Staff's concern is that is our thoroughfare through Town, whether you are leaving by boat or by bridge, that's the only way. For this type of operation on that street, considering that this is a 16 passenger slow moving open air vehicle with the consumption of alcohol, planning staff talked to public safety officials and that is our recommendation to stay off of Lake Park Blvd."

Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "I'd be willing to have  discussion for limited access to Lake Park in certain areas subject to a map, subject to a route. I'd be willing to look at a route specific in future license applications."

Councilman Tom Bridges explained, "It is our main artery. I would love to have this business be here but I do have some concerns with Lake Park. Where they are going to have to travel is where we have the lights downtown, four lanes. We had a road diet that shrank it to two lanes and suddenly it was a disaster. They are essentially going to take one lane out if they are there" operating at slow speed.

Garza explained, "A golf cart does the exact same thing. You have to go in the next lane to bypass a golf cart. The average golf cart goes 15 mph. That goes 10 mph."

Shuttleworth said, "There are certain short sections of Lake Park that I could envision being ok with. Personally, rather than cart blanche saying you can go from one end to the other."

Mayor Joe Benson said, "I don't like that omission of Lake Park personally. We are assuming the speed of the applicants trolley bike or pedal pub... is going to be something far less than a golf cart or low speed vehicle. We know what the speed of this one is, but we don't know what other applicants will bring to us."
Benson said the pedal cars can operate around 15mph with a motor-assist.

Council member Leann Pierce said, "I think we could make the restriction that if its on Lake Park it would  have to be under motor-assist."

Pierce asked if a future applicant for a permit wanted to change their route, would they have to return to Council for approval.

Town Attorney Noel Fox said, "Yes."

Bridges said, "To ignore staffs recommendation is something I wouldn't take lightly."

Garza said he felt there should be no restriction on operating on Lake Park Blvd and, "I understand that everyone feels they should have segments of North and South Lake Park, however, again, when you move here it's chill out, relax, take your time and speed always seems to be such an issue everywhere."
Shuttleworth said, "I appreciate people wanting people to slow down but the fact of the matter is, we do have speed limits, we do have traffic, we do have people that want to come and go. There is a balance there. I would have concern if we're dramatically impeding the traffic flow on Lake Park. I do not see where this would be a dramatic problem."

Following approval of the amendment on March 13th, the applicant, Tina Bell, will request Council approval of a permit at their April 10th meeting to operate a pedal trolley based on a set route. A previous route submitted to the Town showed operations along Lake Park Blvd as well as some residential streets and within the Carolina Beach State Park. In the State Park, tours would not permit alcohol.

The Council voted to adopt the amendment with Mayor Joe Benson and Council members Steve Shuttleworth, Leann Pierce and JoDan Garza voting yes. Councilman Tom Bridges voted "Nay."

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