HOLMES BEACH – If you’re seeing scoot coupes being driven along the road in Holmes Beach, you’re not imagining things and they’re not in violation of the city’s ordinance.
During a Jan. 28 meeting, City Attorney Patricia Petruff said that she received a letter from attorney Aaron Thomas representing Robinhood Rentals owner Mark Toomey. In the letter, Thomas called the micro-mobility ordinance passed by commissioners Jan. 14 after two votes and public hearings overbroad.
Petruff said that she agrees with the assertion and advised commissioners to revisit the ordinance, potentially lifting the ban on scoot coupes, the three-wheeled mini cars rented in Anna Maria, and reconsidering allowing the mini-cars on roads with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less.
Toomey attended the meeting where he spoke to commissioners, asking them to lift the ban since he had been unable to rent the mini-cars since receiving notice of the new ordinance and ban on the vehicles in Holmes Beach. Before receiving word of the ban, he said that he’d had no prior notice of the ban when commissioners were considering it.
Petruff said that if commissioners do not lift the ban on the mini cars, she feels it would result in litigation against the city. She recommended the prohibition on the mini-cars be lifted.
While commissioners reconsider the issue, Petruff asked Police Chief Bill Tokajer to have HBPD officers not issue tickets to the scoot coupe mini cars coming into the city and to notify any company renting the cars that commissioners are reconsidering the ban.
During previous discussions on the scoot coupes, both commissioners and Holmes Beach residents spoke out against allowing the mini-cars on city streets for safety reasons. Residents also expressed concerns about limiting the mini-cars to roads with a 25 mph speed limit because it would take them off the main roads and put them in residential neighborhoods.
At the Jan. 28 meeting, Toomey said that the mini-cars have a 49 cc engine and can travel up to 35 mph and are allowed on roads up to 45 mph, though he doesn’t recommend his renters drive them off Anna Maria Island. He said that the mini-cars have not been involved in an accident that he’s aware of in Holmes Beach in 20 months.
“I understand that not everybody likes the scoot coupes but they are a street-legal vehicle,” he said, adding that he would be willing to sit down with commissioners and reach a compromise on the vehicles’ operation in Holmes Beach.