A Hilton Head Plantation resident is asking the property owners’ association to allow golf carts in the plantation, which, if approved, would be the first time the vehicles are permitted in the 10,000-person community. He’s also running for the POA board of directors to help make it happen.
Lt. Col. Jeff Pelt, a marine fighter pilot, petitioned the board last month for the “smart incorporation” of modified golf carts. He says that incorporation would, among other things, protect property values, increase a sense of community, increase road safety and save the plantation money in the long run because there would be less damage to roadways.
Pelt said there are a few ways to advance his cause, one of which is a petition with signatures of residents supporting the idea, which could drive a special vote.
The other way, Pelt said, is to run for one of three open spots on the POA board of directors and promote the idea from within.
And that’s the route he’s taking.
“My willingness to run is bigger than golf carts — I don’t like that 40-page rulebook,” he said. “I think I have a pretty good base of people that would vote for me.”
Pelt said he moved to Hilton Head Plantation from San Diego in June. At the time, he didn’t think to ask if golf carts were permitted, but on the day he moved in, was told they were “absolutely” not allowed.
“Our roads were not developed for golf carts,” said general manager Peter Kristian on Monday. “It’s going to be frustrating for drivers. This is not a resort community. It’s a community of working people and retirees.”
The plantation does allow low speed vehicles, Kristian said, which are vehicles equipped to go about 25 miles per hour and have, among other things, seat belts, turn signals and brake lights.
Kristian said there have only been about three users of low speed vehicles in the history of the plantation. Five years ago, when the price of fuel was increasing, residents requested their incorporation into the community. Today, there aren’t any low speed vehicle users in the plantation.
“That concept seemed like something worth pursuing because of the cost of fuel,” Kristian said. “But the issue went away.”
Pelt said he pointed out a South Carolina law passed in 2015 permitting golf carts in gated communities to the board of directors, and asked them to permit “modified golf carts,” which would be similar to low speed vehicles because they would go about 20 to 25 mph, and have seat belts, turn signals and brake lights.
Kristian said that would involve individuals customizing golf carts, and the POA is “not in the business of saying what is safe for the roads.”
“We’re not taking on that responsibility,” Kristian said. “That is a state function.”
Pelt said the board of directors did not have much to say after his presentation requesting golf carts in the plantation last month.
Kristian said the board referred the request to the covenants committee and security committee, and they will bring a recommendation to the board after looking into the request. He said there is no time frame for when that recommendation might come.
Elections for the POA board of directors will happen in March, and those elected will serve three-year terms, according to the plantation’s most recent newsletter.