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After much debate and a 2-3 vote, the Britt City Council decided not to allow 14-year-olds to drive golf carts in the city of Britt.

The decision was made during the July 2 council meeting.

The discussion first began when Britt resident Spencer Gear came to the council during the June 4 meeting to asking members to consider changing the golf cart ordinance to allow 14-year-olds to drive golf carts around the city. Specifically, he wanted his own daughter who is 14 to be able to drive them.

After conferring with the city attorney and Police Chief Mark Anderson, the council debated on changing the ordinance to allow 14-year-olds to drive a golf cart within the city limits, only with a licensed adult riding with them, a limit on the number of and age of passengers allowed, a curfew and a requirement of having taken drivers education classes.

Currently, a Britt ordinance says, “No person shall drive or otherwise operate any motorized cart or low speed vehicle unless that person shall have in his or her possession at all times a valid driver’s license."

While Mayor Ryan Arndorfer, Councilmember Curt Gast and Councilmember Stacy Swenson were open to changing the ordinance, Anderson and councilmembers Karrie Wallen, Paul Verbrugge and Chad Leucht were not.

Arndorfer and Gast argued it didn't make sense to allow them to drive on the highways at 60 mph with a permit or a school permit and drive a moped around town but not allow them to drive a golf cart going a maximum of 25 mph.

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“My 14-year-old niece can go drive on the interstate right now if an adult is with her,” Arndorfer said. “That’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than her driving a golf cart in this town.”

Anderson, however, said allowing 14-year-olds to drive golf carts alone was more dangerous than letting them drive mopeds because a moped is a two-wheeled object that requires the teenagers to “drive with a sense of responsibility” but a golf cart is a four-wheeled vehicle that can hold multiple passengers.

“I was 14 obviously at one time. I know what I did on golf carts and other objects that I was able to drive other than a car,” he said.

Anderson said there will be a handful of “bad apples” who will create the issue of young teenagers on golf carts driving recklessly and the City will have to respond by reverting the ordinance back to not allowing them to drive golf carts or placing more restrictions on the teenagers driving the golf carts, which would then make the law-abiding teenagers upset.

“To save face, I would say no,” he said.

Verbrugge agreed, saying changing the ordinance would be asking for a lot of trouble.

In the end, Gast made the motion to have Anderson write up what the changed ordinance would look like, but it was not passed.

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