UTV/Golf Carts

The police department fields many questions about the operation and permitting of golf carts and off-road utility vehicles (UTVs). The information below is a general guide for these types of vehicles. To view the specific city ordinances in their entirety, check out cityofclearlake.com/ordinances.   

To operate a golf cart or UTV on city streets, alleys, and city-owned property, the vehicle must display a current and valid permit sticker. Permits are $40.00 for golf carts, free for UTVs, they are renewed annually, and the vehicle must pass an inspection by a police department member. The permit may be suspended or revoked if the owner/operator is found to be in violation of the ordinances. There is no refund of the permit fee and application for reinstatement is handled by the city council.

While driving on city streets, both types of vehicles must obey all traffic laws and operate in a safe manner from sunrise to sunset. However, UTVs equipped with headlights and taillights may operate after sundown;

  1. To perform snow removal activities.
  2. To travel the most direct route from place of residence to and from the lake to be operated in compliance with Iowa Department of Natural Resources rules.With approval from the Chief of Police.

Please remember for golf carts and UTVs:

  • The permit is issued for a specific vehicle, valid for one calendar year, and must be affixed to the left (driver’s) side.
  • Only a valid licensed driver, at least 18 years of age, may operate these vehicles on Clear Lake city streets and property.
  • Before a permit is issued, an inspection is conducted by a member of the police department.
  • These vehicles cannot be operated on US Highway 18 and Iowa Highway 122, but may cross these streets, (UTVs must cross at controlled intersections).
  • No overnight parking on city streets.
  • Cannot operate on recreational bike or walking trails, sidewalks, city parks and city owned property. UTVs may remove snow from sidewalks.
  • If your vehicle can be registered through the state and issued a license plate, you do not need a city permit.

    In addition;
    Additional Info

Permit Process

  1. Complete the UTV/Golf Cart application, which can be picked up at the Police Station or online by clicking here.
  2. Once the application is complete and the vehicle meets all of the requirements listed on the permit application, call the department at 641-357-2186 to schedule an inspection appointment. Inspections and the application process are generally handled Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 am to 2:30pm. Note: UTVs must be registered with the state prior to an inspection.
  3. A member of the police department will complete the inspection in person and will need your completed application at that time. If approved, the application will be collected and returned the police department for processing. Do not drive an unpermitted UTV or golf cart to the police department for the inspection. The application review process can take up to two business days for approval.
  4. Once the application has been approved, the applicant will be contacted to pick up the permit. The $40.00 fee for golf carts will be required at this time. While there is no fee for UTVs, a permit is still required for these vehicles. You can pay via cash, check or online payment. For online payment, please click here.  Do not drive your golf cart or UTV to pick up the permit. The vehicle is not valid to operate on city streets, alleys, or city-owned property until the permit is affixed to the vehicle.
  5. City of Ventura permitted golf carts and UTVs will need a Clear Lake Permit to operate in Clear Lake City Limits.

    Contact the police department at 641-357-2186, or by email [email protected], if you have questions.