Oakland considers expanding golf-cart street access

The Town Commission has passed the first step of a new ordinance that gives cart drivers more streets for traveling around town.

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Golf-cart owners are a step closer to being able to travel on more streets in the town of Oakland following the Town Commission’s approval of the first reading of such an ordinance. Town Manager Andy Stewart said at the commission’s Jan. 23 meeting this will allow for more fluency around town.

“As Oakland Park Phase 7 completes, it will allow a majority of Oakland to take your golf carts to downtown Winter Garden,” Stewart said.

Police Chief Darron Esan has been working on this ordinance for close to seven months. If the second reading is approved at the next commission meeting, more streets will be added to the town code and drivers can legally cross Oakland Avenue as well.

The ordinance establishes a golf cart safety zone within the town limits and establishes four-way stops on Oakland Avenue at Pollard Street and Winters Landing Drive, as well as an established cart crossing at Tubb Street.

“When this is official, the first, probably, 60 days are just education,” Esan said. “We want to make sure the community stays safe.”


Discussions continued on the Johns Lake Outfall Canal, which has caused aggravation for several residents living on Lake Apopka and discord among the commission.

Stewart said the town has retained engineering firm Kimley-Horn and consultants already had visited the project site on the south shore of the lake.

The town spent $120,000 in March 2023 to remove sediment. Days later, more sand had returned to the area. At the Nov. 14 Town Commission meeting, elected officials voted 3-2 to spend the same amount of money to redo the work.

Town attorneys had recommended the town get an engineer involved this time. The engineer also recommended fortification in a section of the canal that was causing the washout into the lake.

Stewart said work could continue as soon as February.

“We’re in the process of working with the town attorney to draft a contract for the project,” he said.

Mayor Kathy Stark read from a prepared statement after Stewart’s update.

“While I am happy about the update to this issue, I would like to see all of us move forward with respect for each other and our positions that we have shown as a group in the past,” she wrote. “I appreciate the engineering that has been done and acknowledge the vote that approves the work, however there are steps to come. The next step that comes is the contract for the work. Once approved by the commission, the work may begin.

“I am asking that everyone respect the process and each other in the future,” Stark wrote. “We have an opportunity to move forward with good will towards each other. There is no rush to make sure that this work is done properly and within the guidelines of the town. I also ask that this work is done with a public purpose for the town. Time for pushing our own agendas and needs should be over.”

Commissioner Sal Ramos agreed that all decisions should benefit the community and that the contract needs to be 100% in line with the town’s intentions.

“I am much happier with the engineering we couldn’t get the first time around, and I blame all five of us,” Commissioner Mike Satterfield said. “I think we were in a hurry to put it behind us.”

Stark made a final comment: “This is a subject that we had beaten to death, and it’s been very, very divisive, and I am leaving this commission in less than a month and a half and I don’t want to leave this way. It really, really hurts my heart. We should not have this type of divisiveness at this table. … We never have.”


Commissioners approved the consent agenda, which included the following items pertaining to the Oakland Police Department, employee longevity bonuses and Catherine Ross Road.

• The police department has three spare vehicles currently not in use, and Chief Darron Esan wants to reclassify the three Ford Explorers as surplus and sell them. The Eatonville Police Department is interested in buying all three for $24,000. Esan asked that money from the sale be placed in the town’s General Fund and used to purchase one new vehicle for patrol purposes.

• The town has proposed adding a longevity bonus policy to its benefits package for employees to encourage longtime employment, build morale and recognize those who have developed tenure. The one-time bonuses would be $150, $300, $750, $1,000 and $1,500 for employees who have been with the town for five, 10, 15, 20 and more than 25 years, respectively.

• The commission voted to allow the sale of wine at the Feb. 15 Harriett Tubman presentation at the Healthy West Orange Arts & Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland, as well as the ability to serve alcohol at Oakland Nature Preserve’s Pours at the Preserve.

• Commissioners approved the conversion of six parcels to rights-of-way for the construction of the Catherine Ross Road connector route between Oakland Avenue and West Colonial Drive.


• Town Manager Andy Stewart said he was working on a salary schedule and has issued a Request for Proposal to hire someone to help with establishing hiring ranges that are in line with other municipalities.

• Lynn Dattolo, community outreach manager, announced the winner of the third annual Trees of the Season decorating contest at the heritage center. Sixteen trees were on display, and after tallying 1,020 votes, Hot Dog Therapy was deemed the winner with 131 and received a plaque and gift basket.

• Mayor Kathy Stark read proclamations declaring Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21 through 27 School Choice Week, Jan. 22 through 26 Celebrate Literacy Week and February Black History Month in the town of Oakland.


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