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Over the summer, as fuel prices were peaking, some Hilton Head Island residents clamored to drive their fuel-efficient motorized scooters and motorcycles into plantations where they are banned.
Though gasoline prices have fallen since then, residents in one Hilton Head gated community are still trying to persuade their property owners association board to allow motorcycles and mo-peds through the front gates.
Palmetto Hall residents Louis Bell, Todd Rhine and Philip Capossela want the change so much that they're compiling research on their neighbors' opinions on the issue.
Beginning Aug. 18, the three, who had started their own committee, began mailing surveys to each Palmetto Hall property owner.
The Committee for Energy Efficient Vehicles in Palmetto Hall -- financed and run by the three men, independent of the property owners association -- has received about 200 positive and 60 negative responses since then, Bell said. He said about 535 surveys were mailed.
Among the negative responses were a couple of recurring complaints, Rhine said. "The two issues are: image and noise."
The men said they would work around that by proposing requirements that motorcycles have mufflers to quiet them and that they be inspected by the property owners association office before being allowed a gate pass.
Palmetto Hall's covenants may not need to be changed to lift the ban, the three residents said. They argue that the covenants do not explicitly ban motorcycles and mo-peds; the rules say those types of vehicles cannot be "maintained" on residents' properties.
The men plan to present their research to the seven-member property owners association board in the coming months. Bell said he will likely suggest a motorcycle trial period, when only a certain number of motorized two-wheeled vehicles would be allowed to be driven in the community. If that trial is successful, the ban could later be removed, he said.
Board President Arthur Loeben did not return a call seeking comment.