PORTLAND (AP) – A two-year-old battle stemming from the proliferation of golf carts on Great Diamond Island has ended with City Council approval of a compromise that allows for limited use of the battery-operated vehicles.

The council voted 6-0 Monday night to let Diamond Cove condominium residents have golf carts as long as they don’t drive them into the village on the southern end of the 1 1/4-mile-long island, which is part of Portland.

Golf carts became a visible symbol of the Casco Bay island’s rapid change, spurring a backlash among residents who felt Great Diamond’s sleepy charm was being threatened by condominium development and its consequences.

Monday’s vote amended a 1985 zoning restriction put in place when the city approved the redevelopment of Fort McKinley on the island’s northern end. The Planning Board and three homeowners’ groups on the island endorsed the compromise.

“I think today is a day we thought we’d never see,” said Councilor William Gorham, who represents the city’s islands.

Conditional zoning prohibited residents of 82 Diamond Cove condos from having vehicles and required them to use a private shuttle bus to get to the public ferry landing in the village. Owners of 39 single-family homes that rim the condos were allowed to have one vehicle each, but they were prohibited from driving them to the southern end.


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