Tuesday, April 3, 2012
By Nick Williams
For months, Lakewood Ranch community development district supervisors have sought to implement a contract with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to pay off-duty deputies for additional traffic control in the gated Country Club and Edgewater villages.
But Manatee County officials told the districts the traffic signs in the communities had to be brought up to federal standards first.
The districts have spent $4,000 on new signs.
Fortunately, the long awaited approval for the new signs may be just days away.
The county inspector toured the communities on March 23 and seemed to be pleased with the upgrades.
"We have a good feeling about it," said Ryan Heise, Lakewood Ranch operations director.
The problem with previous signs stems from changes to the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. District 2, which consists of Country Club North and Edgewater, spent $3,000 and District 5 (Country Club South) spent $1,000.
Signs that don’t meet state standards could be a problem if drivers getting tickets contest them in court.
Heise said he has not been given a date when the results of the inspection will be released.
Board members are also hoping the off-duty officers will monitor golf cart drivers once they are permitted to patrol the area. Supervisors have expressed concerns of underage youths driving golf carts in the area. Florida law states a golf cart may not be operated on public roads or streets by any person under the age of 14, but supervisors have described witnessing drivers under 14 operating the carts.
The supervisors feel it is a safety issue and discussed possibly raising the age limit within the district.
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