HISTORY OF MX TRACKS: PITTING NEIGHBORS AGAINST NEIGHBORS

Note: This post started as testimony used to help defeat an illegal MX “park” near Molalla, Oregon.  Updates of MX cases cited in the main text are posted as we learn of the results of the cases.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 1/2/2016 Granite Park MX DEFEATED! http://www.mtloopconservancy.org/  Great news for the committed people who fought for years to protect their lands from MX:

“We won! Our fight to stop a proposed motocross track is finally over. After seven years, many dollars (thank you donors!), and countless hours, a judge applied the law and found the original rezone to be invalid. After filing an appeal the developer reconsidered and withdrew it, ending this fiasco. More information to follow.”

IMPORTANT UPDATE 8/30/13: Cadillac Ranch MX, discussed below in this post, was DENIED a permit by Thurston County. See August 30, 2013 post “Cadillac Ranch MX: DENIED by Thurston County” on this blog for the entire findings.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Thomas conditional use proposal for Timber Ridge Motorcross “park” (see below), which triggered this research, got a final DENY from the Clackamas County, Oregon hearings officer in late January. See this blog’s “Rest in Peace: Idiot Ridge MX gets the Big Deny” posted on Jan. 28, 2011, to read the entire hearings officer’s decision. Good luck to all citizens who are fighting MX!  We hope our efforts in Molalla Oregon to protect our rural community inspire you to do the same!

All I can say is why would anyone in their right mind want to participate in something like MX that causes so many nasty legal tangles? Luckily, even a mountain high pile of “please, please, please” letters in favor of motocross won’t help win the case to permit the track/campground, due to Oregon’s land use rules – which strictly PROHIBIT INTENSIVE USE IN FOREST ZONES. Or, to state it bluntly: one neighbor’s impacted quality of life always wins against the NUISANCE THAT IS MOTOCROSS in proximity to residences.

File ZO348-10-C Thomas Conditional Use Permit

RE: Motocross/campground would violate ZDO 1023 (D)

HISTORY OF MX TRACKS: PITTING NEIGHBORS AGAINST NEIGHBORS

At the Oct 21 Conditional Use Hearing regarding the Thomas Conditional Use proposal for motocross/camping in rural Clackamas County, testimony was given in support of the proposal based on claims that motocross was “family friendly”. A man stated that Washougal MX had expensive homes in the vicinity of the MX tracks and that local residents and the commercial MX business had happy relationships.

Extensive research into the functioning and relationships multiple MX facilities, whether permitted or unpermitted, have with their neighbors and with their County planning departments proves conclusively that it is totally false to claim motocross events can happily co-exist with residential areas. Every case I researched, including Washougal MX, proved that  residents within earshot of MX tracks are miserable and that they consider motocross a serious nuisance which steals their quality of life and degrades and pollutes land. Counties have extra work loads to enforce  MX code infractions and have ongoing struggles related to traffic, crowd control, noise, and regulating environmental damage. Local police and emergency services are impacted as well. Those problems are compounded when the tracks are built and used in advance of permitting, as in the Thomas case.

MX struggles are ongoing all across America. This account will focus on Washougal MX, Eugene MX, Longview MX, Cadillac Ranch MX, Granite Falls MX, Mt. View MX, Badrock MX and Fisher MX because those tracks provide a mix of 3 types of MX facilities: (1) “vested rights” commercial tracks, (2) private tracks built and used without permits that become a commercial nuisance and (3) tracks not yet built, struggling to meet requirements for legal siting.

Again, in every case, the MX facilities have extremely unhappy relationships with local residents and ongoing legal problems with local planning/code enforcement/police departments.

CASE 1: WASHOUGAL MX

Washougal MX was established about 1974 on 220 acres of rural land in Clark County. Its graphic code and zoning problems started with zone changes that occurred in 1995 that caused the MX “park” to become a non-conforming use. The problems and conflicts also esculated when the current owners, the Huffmans, bought the property and proceeded to expand event uses in the late 1980’s. By then, the surrounding area had become more residential. In 1989, at a National MX race, drunken campers rioted. In ensuing years, several other nasty Sheriff encounters occurred with users of the MX track (all documented in the attached 5 articles from the Columbian newspaper).

Headlines include “Brawl at Motocross Race Draws Riot Police” (8-98) and “Unruly Motocross Fans Pelt Officers with Rocks (7-03).

Residents near the Washougal track questioned the perimeters of  Washougal’s non-conforming permit and at least 4 court cases were held in the 2000’s (list attached of planning and court actions) with the final case dated 2007. The focus of the court cases were noise, the size of the vested tracks, environmental impacts, nuisance aspects, and the County’s duty to protect the quality of life of residents. Some quotes from the “Hearing Remand” case, Nov. 4, 2003:

PROJECT NAME: Washougal Motocross

CASE NUMBERS: cup2002-00001

pg. 19, item 4.a. i.: “The County has an obligation to consider noise in the context of the CUP regulations and thereby to avoid authorizing a nuisance.”

pg. 23, item h, referring to noise study results from the firm Daly-Standlee: “The examiner finds that noise from some activities on the Motocross site is significantly detrimental to people who reside nearby.”

pg. 24 item h. iii: “Even when the noise does not drown out conversation or disturb people sleeping exceed 57 dbA, it increases the noise levels frequently enough and in amounts and for a duration that is enough to detract from teh character of the area as rural residential. The examiner finds that such an impact is significantly detrimental to people nearest the site.”

pg. 31, viii (A), referring to noise from the Grand Prix races (throughout the site) and to the races on the defined motocross track: “Both are significantly detrimental.”

pg. 33: “The examinder is persuaded that the impact of the sum of the adverse impacts of events at the motocross site is greater than their individual contributions.”

A recent  motocross blog noted that the problems at Washougal are FAR from over (quote):

“Posted By admin On Feb 09, 2009

Sound is off-roads’ biggest enemy. The proliferation of 4-strokes and their loud aftermarket exhaust is hurting ALL aspects of dirt biking activities. Just look at the battle Washougal MX is going through… Washougal’s days are numbered as well due to various growth issues…”(end quote).

What is most disturbing about these struggles at Washougal is that promoter Elaine Derrick, track builder Steve Corrie, and motocross bloggers John Ulver and Mike Jolma  are all listed among the names on the Washougal remand case. Derrick and Corrie  participated in promoting and building the Thomas track without permits. Derrick, Jolma and Corrie all stood up in support of the Thomas track at the Oct 21 hearing.

Corrie, as “trackmaster” on ThumperTalk blog, participated in the thread that said someone should burn my car. Derrick told me on the phone that the Thomas track was “pretty much in the middle of nowhere” and said that she was selling $30 tickets in May for “playdates” at the Thomas site. John Ulver recently sent me an email on 10-28-2010 suggesting “We should be able to buy a license to legally hunt people like Susan”.  Others are  well known for nasty posts calling local residents “hillbillies” and for their smirking disregard at a community meeting when anguished local residents spoke. None of these 4 people live in Oregon – but they are certainly eager to commercially exploit our farms and forests.

With their knowledge of the long and ugly history of Washougal MX,  it is an insult to our community  that Derrick and Corrie  worked to promote the Thomas  MX project before County approval. All were highly involved in and well aware of Washougal’s nasty history of conflicts between motocross and local residents.

Perhaps Corrie and Derrick missed this footnote from the “Final Order” Cup 2002-00001 and SEP 2002-0003, July 22, 2002, which says that:

“Many witnesses in support of the application testified to the alleged positive impacts of the use on the local economy, on certain charitable activities and on certain family values.  The examiner finds these allegedly positive impacts of the use are not relevant under SEPA or the County Code.”

I have talked at length Gene Greer, one of the appellants who challenged Washougal MX and Clark County planning in multiple court cases. Greer bought 15 acres next to the Washougal MX property about 10 years ago and watched the Huffmans expand events and the physical perimeters of the track until his quality of life, on what he hoped would be a retirement property, was put in jeopardy. To this day he has the right to sue Clark County over its failure to adequately protect residents from the nuisance and environmental impact threats that Washougal MX continues to represent. He lives in Beaverton because he still isn’t satisfied that Clark County has done enough to protect residential quality of life near Washougal MX. (newspaper clip quotes):

Gene Greer, lately of Beaverton, wants to return to the lush green hills north of Washougal.

But first he wants to see Clark County stand up for its own regulatory authority and increase the peace and quiet on that sloping forestland.

In 1994, Greer bought 7.5 acres near the Washougal Motocross Park at the end of Northeast Borin Road. Eventually he bought more property, doubling the size of his holding to 15 acres.

“We bought it assuming the noise would stay more or less the same,” he said. “It was a dumb assumption. We moved onto it for a couple of months and realized, we can’t live with this.”

He means the buzz and whine of motorcycles, … “OWNERS OF WASHOUGAL MOTOCROSS PARK GIVE UP BATTLE FOR NEW PERMIT

By Erin Middlewood

The owners of the Washougal Motocross Park will turn back a hard-won Clark County permit that would have imposed a raft of restrictions. They will instead operate the race track as they always have.

The move revs up a long-running dispute between neighbors and the 32-year-old motocross park, which draws an estimated 100,000 fans and racers each year. The season-culminating AMA National Championship Series Final in July draws as many as 25,000 fans to the park, on the Clark-Skamania line northeast of Washougal.

At the county’s suggestion, track owners Ralph and Carolyn Huffman of Roseburg, Ore., last year applied for the conditional-use permit that would give them some certainty they could continue to stage races on the 225-acre site.

“The Huffmans saw this permit as an opportunity to establish a clear and reasonable set of rules under which the facility could be governed,” said Trevor Hayward of Moss & Associates Inc., the Huffmans’ Vancouver land-use consultant, in a prepared statement on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the hearing examiner … imposed sound limitations that are so restrictive they effectively deny the permit application.”

Clark County commissioners last month upheld that ruling, and formalized that decision on Tuesday.

The Huffmans considered appealing their case to Superior Court, but decided it wasn’t worth the added expense, Hayward said. The motocross park owners already have spent more than $200,000 on the permit application. The owners will make some attempt to keep the noise down for example, improving the public-address system that has drawn complaints from neighbors but simply can’t comply with the strict rules outlined in the county permit, Hayward said.

The Huffmans and neighbors attempted mediation, which broke down last week. While the track owners say the county’s rules would drive them out of business, neighbors have argued the restrictions don’t go far enough to improve life near the motocross, which has been operating since before many residents moved to the area.

“It seems unfortunate that (the motocross owners) are going to take their bat and ball and try to go home,” said Bradley Andersen, attorney for one neighbor. “I see this creating more legal battles for them.”

Hayward maintains that the decision to withdraw the permit application will not have an effect on the upcoming racing season.

County officials aren’t sure what the Huffmans’ decision will mean.

“It’s going to make it messy, obviously,” said Rich Lowry, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor. He said there’s some question as to whether the motocross can continue as a grandfathered use of the property once the owners have applied for a permit.

One thing is clear, Commissioner Judie Stanton said: “Code enforcement will be very busy.” (end quote)

The Huffmans/ Washougal MX attempted to drop out of the court battles but a Superior Court refused to let them and Clark County ignore the remand case. (news quote):

“But the Appeals Court also said the Clark County court must now decide the extend of the motocross’ use in 1995, when the area was zoned for residential use. That 1995 use, presumably, would determine the level at which the motocross could operate today – the extent of its “nonconforming rights”. The legal issues are likely to center on whether the 1995 use involved generally the racing of motorcycles, without specifics, or whether the motocross should have to stick to the number of days of racing it had back then. Another question may involve the CUP’s finding that the motocross is “significantly detrimental” to people living nearby.”

The Superior Court said that the Huffmans and Clark County had to work together to define the perimeters of the early non-conforming use. Link to that court case:

http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/Briefs/A02/338238%20respondent.pdf

And so the strife between the track, Clark County and the residents continues, with bad feelings and huge expense for County enforcement  – as well as the tragic carnage that motocross represents:

Washington motocross rider killed in crash

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008, 2:19 PM

Ted Mitchner, The Oregonian

WASHOUGAL, Wash. — An 18-year-old from Orting, Wash., died in an accident during a practice run at Washougal Motocross Park this morning.

Rocky C. Gesner was wearing a helmet and other safety gear when he crashed his bike around 8:45 a.m., said Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Eastman.

Gesner was an intermediate-level rider, one level below the pros, Eastman said.

“He was experienced,” Eastman said. “It’s just a terrible accident.” (end quote)


Washougal is a prime example of the decades of problems that ensue when motocross is unleashed near any residential areas.

CASE 2: LONGVIEW MX

Longview MX, sited on a timber product waste dump, was located in a commercial zone, yet it had ongoing problems, as noted below by John Brinkley, Director, Community Development, City of Longview.   Longview MX motocross fans are vilifying a neighbor adjoining the site as the reason for the closure of this track. The Longview MX property was auctioned in late October 2010 due to bankruptcy and the Port of Longview, the new site owner, will not be operating a MX track.

John Brinkey, Director, Community Development, City of Longview (quote):

“The Longview MX track operated for 8-10 years.  It was located on industrially zoned property well away from the residential and commercial developed areas of our city.  At the time it started operating, we had few regulations to apply to the proposed use.  Yes, they did approach the City and ask before operating.  During the years of operation the city received various noise complaints, made emergency response calls related to injuries, required dust control due to complaints, required a wetlands delineation and boundary markings to protect critical areas adjacent to the activity, enacted special event legislation to regulate associated activities impacting city services, i.e. traffic, emergency response, sanitation, etc., and applied stormwater regulations to minimize stormwater impacts due to erosion.  However, the closure was not due to, or related to, land use violations.  The property owner lost the property where the MX track was located due to foreclosure.

None of the problems that Longview experienced related to the Longview MX track were insurmountable.  I believe this to be the case due to the location in an underdeveloped industrial zone that was distant from other potentially incompatible land uses.  In Longview’s case, I believe the economic benefits of bringing participants and spectators from outside our community to the events outweighed the impacts.  However, as our community further develops and expands into the area where the Longview MX track operated, incompatibility would have increased and most likely would have become a significant issue.” (end quote).

NW Outlaw MX blog has the following quotes vilifying the “neighbor” who complained about the track:

1. They should have moved the motocross track over to the open field side of the sand track. Plant a bunch of trees along the property line and have a no riding zone 200ft from the property line. Maybe that would have shut him up.

2.Sad. Another local track bites the dust. Seems like all it takes is one person to ruin the entire deal for everyone else. Where is the democracy in that? Same deal with Cadillac Ranch. The whole town of Rainer is behind it except one neighbor. Track brought in new money to local businesses during desperate times.

3.X2 but the dumb ass nieghbor is an ass. I think some poeple should go tip over all his preasious porta potys.
Here this guy is crying aboute noise and his hole 45 acres is covered in used shitters. what a jack ass. (end quotes)

CASE 3: CADILLAC RANCH

An unpermitted MX track was built recently in Thurston County, WA on a 400 acre dairy ranch. Because at least 13 complaints were filed by neighbors, the unpermitted track was shut down by County Planning this summer. Guy Jaques, Building Compliance for Thruston County, via the phone, indicated that Cadillac Ranch is in a productive agricultural/timber zone and that any conditional use permit would be impossible for the owners to obtain because the conditions would be severe. Cadillac Ranch is under an injunction and can’t hold events unless it can comply with County conditional use codes.

Before the County shut the track down, the track destroyed many acres of land in a manner similar to the Thomas site.

As with the Thomas track, the neighbors who oppose MX have been verbally attacted and threatened on public blogs, including a thread suggesting that someone should call and harass Rev. Richard Banach in the middle of the night. Rev. Banach is perceived as the spoiler by the users of the illegal track. This mirrors our experience in Molalla, where citizens who stand up to protect their quality of life after illegal motocross events have become entrenched are seen as the villains.

Here is are posts from the impacted landowner who has been threatened by MX fans and information about the legal tangles in this case from a local blog (quote):

Rainier Racing Track Threat

“If the Mahan family and their supporters have their way, their large dairy farm on 12307 Vail Cutoff Road SE Rainier will become the Cadillac Ranch Motor Sports Park. Their unpermitted, illegal track has already been built and began operations in May. See their website www.cadillacranchmotorsports.com.

They were issued a Stop Work Order in early June for unpermitted commercial motor sports and camping. However, they continued to operate until they were recently issued a Civil Infraction with a fine. They are now under a Temporary Restraining Order that originally expired June 30, 2010 but has been extended to August 20, 2010. They have a court date with Judge McPhee on August 20, 2010 at 9AM to “show cause.” The August 6th issue of Nisqually Valley News carries a front page story on them.

According to the NVN article, the Mahan’s plan to press forward to rally more support for their project.
It’s time to voice opposition to their ever obtaining a permit.

E-mail the following:
1. Jeremy Davis, permit@co.thurston.wa.gov
2. Guy Jaques, Compliance Unit Supervisor, jaquesg@co.thurston.wa.us
Guy will forward all the complaint emails to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Cushing in advance of the hearing. For further information call Guy at 754-3355 ext. 6875.

The deafening roar of racing motorcycles increases the stress of those living in the area to health threatening levels. It will also lower their property’s value. Along with e-mailing Thurston County with your objection, focus on this fertile farm not being compromised, but continuing to feed a hungry world.
No farms. No food!

By Richard Banach
Rainier
UPDATE: August 23, 2010
The attorney for the Cadillac Ranch, Jay Goldstein, has requested and received a 2 week continuance of the “show cause/preliminary injunction” hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow. The hearing is now tentatively scheduled to be held on September 3, 2010 at 9 am. Mr. Goldstein is apparently wanting to schedule a pre-submission conference with the County to explore potential permitting options – assuming there are any. In the event a pre-submission conference is scheduled, all applicable County agencies (Health, Planning, Development Review, etc.) will be represented along with any interested outside agencies. All pre-submission conferences are typically advertised one week in advance on our website under “Land Use Activities” (see below link to this website):
http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/Landuse_Activities/Presub_Conf.htm

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect regardless of any pre-submission conference or application submission. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Guy Q. Jaques,
Building/Compliance Unit Supervisor,
Thurston County Resource Stewardship
Development Services Unit, (360) 754-3355, ext. 6875
jaquesg@co.thurston.wa.us

September 17, 2010 11:34 AM

Steve Klein said:

Guy Q. Jaques, Building/Compliance Unit Supervisor for the Thurston County Resource Stewardship
reported this on Sept. 16:

The pre-submission conference was held today with Larry Mahan, Star Paddock, and their attorney Jay Goldstein. County staff in attendance were Mike Kain (Planning), Arthur Saint (Development Review), John Ward (Environmental Health), Scott Cushing (Deputy Prosecutor), and myself (Compliance). In the short term, the applicants wanted to explore a Special Use Permit application for a temporary use to enable them to hold up to a maximum of 4 events per year. Prior to any review and decision (approval or disapproval), the following items must be accomplished and accompany any Special Use Permit Application: 1) traffic and drainage study by an engineer, 2) noise study by someone qualified, 3) habitat management report (gopher and prarie (sic) soil study) by an approved state biologist, and 4) an environmental checklist (if 30 or more parking spaces). The fees associated wtih (sic) this type of temporary Special Use Application total over $6,000 and there is no guarantee of approval. If an application is submitted, there will be a notice mailed out to all property owners within 500 feet of their property line. This is provides an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed special use. If a Special Use Permit were to be approved, it would be subject to appeal by the County or complainants. We informed the applicatns (sic) that the primary issue expressed by all of the complainants was the noise associated with their ORV park. Additionally, the environmental determination made by Planning (prior to any approval or disapproval) is appealable (sic)by the applicants or complainants.

The “preliminary injunction/show cause” hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) has extended until October 1st. The Temporary Restraining Order will remain in effect until that date. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. (end quote).

Here are the ThumperTalk blog posts from motocross fans  – note that the Cadillac Ranch is considered by the posters as a vested track and that opponents are vilified (quote):

THUMPER TALK – SAVE CADILLAC RANCH

FinchFan394

07-27-2010, 07:59 PM

This is really bad news for anyone that likes to riding at CRMX or would like to ride at it. It is truely an amazing track IMO. I am going to do anything I can to help out.
Follow the link and read the letter on the home page it will explain everything.

http://www.cadillacranchmotorsports.com/index.html


Slackkinhard

07-28-2010, 06:08 AM

Someone needs to go investigate the ‘neighbor’ for ANY wrongdoings at all, and SUE HIM. Nobody is perfect. He’s doing something wrong…drag his butt into court and force him to deal with it. Turnabout is fairplay in my book. Ever wonder why the ski resorts never get sued? Cuz they sue back.


07-28-2010, 09:42 AM

any time a nieghbor files a complaint against a track, the nieghbor seems to have more rights than the track owners. i hope all that see this will write a letter, as the show of public support is very important here. people drive for many miles to ride at cadallac ranch and it is very good for there local economy so be sure to include that in the letter, very popular place!


Tracktor

07-28-2010, 10:17 AM

Herein lies the problem. MX tracks always try to play nice when dealing with theses things. IT DOESN”T WORK! I have a private track and great neighbors but should that change and someone new comes in and tries to shut it down I will make their life miserable. Stop acting like a victim and get pro-active. Hire a good attorney, don’t cave, and “help” the offending party see the error of their ways………………


:


fitness2go

07-28-2010, 10:39 AM

…how much would “said” lawyer cost to Private Joe Citizen protecting his private track and how does that pay him over and over again? I’m really just curious how much a good attorney would cost for an average run of the mill “protect my private track” litigation.


fitness2go

07-28-2010, 10:47 AM

So, when you say “don’t cave,” do you mean that you have deeper pockets to out battle your opponent?

Herein lies the problem. MX tracks always try to play nice when dealing with theses things. IT DOESN”T WORK! I have a private track and great neighbors but should that change and someone new comes in and tries to shut it down I will make their life miserable. Stop acting like a victim and get pro-active. Hire a good attorney, don’t cave, and “help” the offending party see the error of their ways………………


trackmaster

07-28-2010, 10:58 AM

it can really depend on the county you are dealing with. i know that clark county, and king couty are black and white, it would be shut down! but there are other countys such as cowlitz that would be more forgiving of a track. regardless, they need the show of public support.


BullTaco

07-28-2010, 04:14 PM

Hey,

Not real clear what the neighbor’s complaint was. Dust? Traffic? Probably noise…

Here in Snohomish County noise levels for motorized sports are measured at adjoining properties, but allowable decibels are also subject to noise producing property zoning and the noise receiving property zoning. I would assume Cadillac Ranch is Rural Sender to Rural Receiver which are the most restrictive decibel levels. (Daytime vs. nightime is also huge.)

Before the owners spend a bunch of dinero on lawyers, they need to buy a cheap decible meter and measure thier noise for a race/group/ at the nearest property boundary.

If the owners are way over allowable decibels, then some other mitigations might be needed.

BullTaco:

It sounds like the Ranch went from an informal, family play track to an advertised, commerical, admissioned venue. In many places, that sort of “upgrade” can be a zoning problem.

To answer an earlier post, land use lawyer’s fees seem to vary…$275 to $500
would probably put you in the ballpark. But remember, attorneys charge you for advice….including answering short e-mails and phone calls. BullTaco (end quote)

Next, from the Cadillac Ranch Motorsports Facebook page, are some of the nasty comments of the supporters of the illegal track. In spite of the fact that there were at least 13 residents filing complaints about this track to Thruston Co., the “fans” have chosen to blame Rev. Barach for all the track’s problems (quote):

Andy Gailey i guess we could get his fone # and all of us start calling at say oh 5am yell a$$hole and hangup…lol no really keep up the fight it will be worth it in the end…

Ryan Scott RELEASE THE NAME SO WE CAN FLOOD HIS HOME WITH, CALLS, AND LETTERS

Jo Saylors So would said neighbor rather you sell the ranch to a developer who will build a million houses? Traffic…higher property taxes et. al. that goes with developments? I can’t wait for the re-opening!

Tyler Rogers if he ever comes out to the track bitchin im gonna roost him(:……………………Maybe haha

Dave Kapla heres another article by this guy. Gives some good insight into how this guy thinks. Dude is off his rocker http://yelm.com/2007/10/guest-entry-rev-dr-banachs-fol.html

Michael Long The guy is a bible thumping nut job… Hypocrisy at its best. (end quote)

Thurston County Planning indicated on Nov. 1 that there was little to no chance the owners of Cadillac Ranch could qualify for a conditional use permit for the illegal track.

CASE 4: EUGENE MX

The “vested” Eugene MX has been outlined in an earlier submission. Its less than friendly messages on its business websites tell its story best ( business post, summer 2010, quote):

“Attention Disgruntled Neighbors: We Understand that there are some folks living near Eugene MX that don’t like Motorcycles, Racing, Kids or whatever else makes them complain about the Track.. Location, Location, Location, You choose to locate yourself near an existing Sports Park that serves Lane County & surrounding areas. It is situated where it is because that’s the best area for this type of recreation (in Lane County). The track has witnesses, in its lifetime, a total attendance rivaling the population of Springfield -coming to the events, either spectating or participating. So please, if you live near Eugene MX and are upset for any reason, contact us, we can help direct you to a person who can help you sell your home and find you a Location that better suits you. We know a whole lot of people that would pay a good price to live near an MX Track. Thank Eugene MX for helping to increase the value of your home. You should work with them and help to make it a better community for all us that Live here in the Beautiful Willamette Valley..”  (end quote)

The newest business post from Eugene Mx (quote):

About Our Business

Eugene Motocross was started by land owner Joe Mack in 1969.  He along with
friends and motorcycle enthusiasts carved out of his land a primarily flat track.
Later the track was organized into a club known as Territorial Racing Association.
After the passing of Joe Mack and the clubs disbandment a single member
continued running the business. In 1989 Mike & Marlis Moats purchased the
business.  They have ran the track as Eugene Motocross since that time,and
continue to lease the land from the widow of Joe Mack and Joe’s sister.
As many of you know there has been a neighbor that through continued complaints
got the county involved in a land use issue regarding the track. So in 2002 Mike
and Marlis paid the required fees and got the issue heard before the Land Use
Board. The decision made at that hearing changed the entire complexion of what
most people knew and enjoyed about the track……summertime racing. Sadly the
board ruled that the racing season each year would be from September thru May.

Now while many of you might say that simple isn’t okay….think about this……this
track is “grand fathered” in. Unless the written rules set by the board are violate
they won’t shut the track down……
that is the true victory.  So keeping that in
mind, Mike and Marlis are doing everything they can to keep the sport alive in this
area. Having the support of the motorcycle community is essential to the survival
of the track. Mike and Marlis want to thank all of those who have been there for
the past 22 years and want to assure you that they will continue to offer events
at the track, although they might not always be “motocross”. The events will fill
the need for riders in this area. Don’t believe any of the rumors…. the track is
here and is open for business ……..pass the word! (end quote)

I contacted Lane County Code Enforcement to see how that facility was getting along with the “neighbors” and received this email from Lane County Code Enforcement’s Jane Burgess (quote):

—–Original Message—–
From: jane.burgess@co.lane.or.us
Sent: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 10:57:11 -0700
Subject: Eugene Motocross – PA03-5676 TRS 16 05 21 TL 900

The verification of non-conforming use resulted in the following Hearing’s Official decision:

1) The racing season shall run on alternate Sundays from late September through May

2) The track can be prepared on Saturdays but no organized practices shall occur on that day

3) Practice racing shall not begin prior to 10 AM and racing shall not start prior to noon

4) The motocross facility includes the present track configuration and size, a tower and admissions both, a concession stand and a Radio Shack              PA system with three speakers on poles.  No lights are used.

5) Camping on Saturday night is limited to participants (and immediate family) in the races only.

Complaints from neighboring properties have included:

Trash cans not being emptied

Portable toilets not being pumped

Camping on non-race weekends

Loud stereos from campers

Racing on “non” race days

Loudspeaker noise

The file and HO record is available in our office for review.

Jane Burgess, Compliance Officer (end quote)

Eugene MX proves again that “grandfathered” tracks are ongoing nuisances.

CASE 5: GRANITE FALLS MX:

The current struggle to site a 75 acre motocross facility in near Granite Falls in Snohomish County WA. starts with the closure of a facility in Monroe (quote from a motocross blog site):

MXGP Shut Down

The County of Snohomish is determined to shut down one of the only legal outdoor motocross tracks in the state. Although MXGP has jumped through every hoop necessary to maintain the track, the county is citing various land use issues in their attempt to close the track.

Legal tracks are a rarity, and without them we will see more and more backyard tracks occur, which doesn’t do anyone a bit of good.

The following is lifted from an email that recently circulated:

In Monroe, WA – as you may have read about in the papers recently – a wonderful motocross facility resides. The facility, known as MXGP (formerly Sky River Motocross Park), has 3 different tracks (kids, intermediate, advanced), and is an incredibly nice riding venue for families and individuals all over WA state who have come to love MXGP over the last 3 years.

But now the county wants to close MXGP down over land use issues. In addition, the county is considering the same with the baseball and soccer fields alongside the track and on the same property – saying that they too break the rules on land use issues – which is stunning to think that they would do this. Despite the location of the facility (MX tracks, soccer and baseball fields together) in a non-residential area, next to the Monroe penitentiary, alongside a state approved gun firing range, less than 1/2 a mile South of a commercial gravel pit, and smack dab in the middle of a flood zone – the county wants to shut the track and fields down over commercial/agricultural zoning issues. Once again, offroad motorcyclists are watching ANOTHER great riding area get shut down by bureaucrats – and this time, it’s just a little too close to home….” (end quote)

After MXGP was closed and the County refused to allow siting in a nearby gravel pit, the professional investors focused on Granite Falls, WA to attempt to site a multi-track complex in the middle of a 400 acre commercial forest.

On May 30, 2008 the Seattle Times reported (quote):

MXGP’s proposed a motocross track near Granite Falls faces challenges

By Sara Jean Green

Seattle Times staff reporter

On wooded land six miles outside Granite Falls, where two old logging roads meet, Jeff Van Datta and Siobhan Sullivan tried to imagine what it would be like if the trees were replaced by race tracks and bleachers, the roar of motorcycles drowning out the bird song.

Van Datta gave a little shudder. He lives less than a mile from the eastern edge of this forest, where a for-profit company hopes to develop a motocross park that could draw thousands of riders to the area.

For a year now, Van Datta, Sullivan and many of their neighbors have been fighting the proposed park, worried that the constant noise will destroy the quiet they’ve come to cherish.

Then there are concerns about all the added traffic, not to mention drainage problems and the displacement of the wildlife that lives in and around this 467-acre tract off the Mountain Loop Highway.

“Trust me, we didn’t go into this blatantly opposed for no reason,” said Van Datta. “If you’ve got serious, quality-of-life issues that are going to be impacting you seven days a week, you’re so far removed from the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) type, that it doesn’t apply.”

But the plans of the company, MXGP of Kirkland, also have plenty of supporters in this community, where off-roading is a long tradition. They say it would bring tourist dollars to Granite Falls and give families a safe, much-needed place to ride in Western Washington, where an increasing shortage of off-road areas has often meant motorcyclists turn to illegal riding on private property or sensitive public land.

Supporters include the mayor and every member of the City Council of Granite Falls, even though they have no official power to endorse the project because it would be outside city limits. The Snohomish County Council has already passed an ordinance to allow motocross parks in forestry areas for the first time.

But the new track is still tied up in the county bureaucracy. So for now, the fight goes on.

“It’ll give the kids a place to go and ride because right now, there’s nothing,” said Cynthia Gramps, a clerk at Bob and Carol’s Deli in downtown Granite Falls. “There’s a skateboarding park and that’s it.”

Gateway to forest

As many as 1,500 trucks rumble through this city of 3,300 people every day, on their way to and from the sand pits and gravel mines in the Cascade foothills.

Just outside city limits, the Mountain Loop Highway, which stretches north, then east, boasts one of the state’s greatest concentrations of hiking trails, campgrounds and other attractions for outdoorsy types.

The highway, one of the county’s largest tourist attractions, is considered the gateway to Mount Pilchuck and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The heads of MXGP, Gary Strode and Paul Thomas, point out that the land where they would build their park is less than an hour’s drive from Seattle and is relatively isolated compared to other sites they’ve looked at.

And they’re no strangers to opposition for their enterprises.

For four years, Strode and Thomas operated three small motocross tracks behind the state prison in Monroe. But in 2005, Snohomish County officials shut them down, saying their tracks and some other neighboring sports fields should never been allowed on agricultural land.

The partners then tried to buy 50 acres near Maltby, with plans to develop 10 acres for motocross racing. Residents resisted, flooding the county’s planning department with a record number of complaints. The proposal died.

Then last June, Strode and Thomas submitted plans for the site outside of Granite Falls.

They want to develop 75 acres to include three tracks, including a beginner track for kids. The park would also have grandstands, concession stands, campsites and parking for at least 600 cars. Riders and spectators would pay around $20 admission.

A 25-foot berm would encircle the tracks, helping to keep the noise down, Strode said. And 1,000-foot buffers would protect the property’s remaining 392 acres.

In August, county planners required the company to submit a revised noise study, which they did in December, said Christopher Schwarzen, a Snohomish County spokesman.

After receiving hundreds of comments, the majority from people opposed to the project the county ordered a third-party analysis of the noise study in March.

That audit is meant to determine whether the company’s noise study accurately anticipates decibel levels and whether their berm would really muffle the sound of revving engines. The results are due next month.

Then the proposal would still have to go to a county hearing examiner. And on top of all that, the county would have to approve a zoning change and a conditional-use permit; the County Council would also need to approve the project, Schwarzen said.

Fire Chief Rick Hjelle of Snohomish County Fire District 17, which is based in Granite Falls, is noncommittal, neither supporting nor opposing the project, even though he “wouldn’t want to live next to it.”

Safety concerns

Hjelle mainly worries about safety at the track, because it could take his crews 15 minutes to get there. “The odds [for serious injury] are greater with that kind of activity, and we’re not in a great position to run there,” Hjelle said.

Strode counters that the company would hire a medic to be on hand to handle most injuries.

“We want to have a nice, safe, organized facility,” Strode said. “Nobody’s going to hear it, nobody’s going to know it’s there … [and] we’re going to bring millions of dollars into Granite Falls.

“I’m pretty confident that legally, we’ve met all the requirements of the county,” he said. “We’ve done everything they wanted us to do, it’s just frustrating it’s taking so long.”

But Van Datta and Sullivan say Strode should prepare for a long fight. They’ve hired an attorney, consulted a noise expert, a wildlife biologist and people versed in traffic and hydrology issues.

To aid their battle, their group, called the Mountain Loop Conservancy, has received a grant from the North Cascades Conservation Council, a Seattle nonprofit aimed at preserving the North Cascades’ wildlands. They’ve also collected more than 500 signatures from people opposed to the motocross park.

From Van Datta’s perspective, Strode is overestimating the park’s economic benefits. And very seriously downplaying the impacts.

“Everyone likes coming out here but that will change if we let this happen,” Van Datta said. “It’s not over till it’s over, and it could be a long time till it’s over, but we remain pretty certain we can pull this off..

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com (end quote)

To date, after years of permitting struggles, after special conditional use codes were created by Snohomish  County to address potential MX facilities, after lower noise codes to protect rural citizens were put in place (49 decibels max/day and 39/night), after multiple hearings, and after two professional noise studies this project is still in limbo, waiting for a neutral third party noise evaluation.

CASE 6: MT VIEW MX

Mt. View MX is an operating “grandfathered” track near Sandy Oregon. It violated its “grandfathered” status by attempting to enlarge its facility and the scope of its operations. Clackamas County planning had to intervene to define that this track could only operate on land it used before the land use laws went into effect in the late 1970’s and had to limit the scope of its events. I contacted Clackamas County Planning and got the below message and a file with several letters of admonishment to Mt. View about its operation (quote Clackamas County planning):

“I am the planner here who is probably most familiar with the Mt. View
Motocross facility having worked on the 1987 code enforcement case.    The track area itself is somewhat buffered in that it is located below the level of most nearby homes. Properties to the south are large commercial timberlands.The northerly part of the site contains the owners home, yard area and grass parking area/field.

This facility is classified as a legal nonconforming use and to my
knowledge, is the only legal operating motocross racing track in
Clackamas County....”

Customer Service
Planning Division (end quote)

In 1997, Clackamas County planning, because of a complaint about expanded uses and expanded boundaries, contacted Mt. View in a series of letters to demand that this MX facility ONLY operate within the boundaries of its Aug 13, 1979 non-conforming use perimeters (quote first page of a 1997 letter to Mt. View MX from Clackamas County planning demanding compliance and an earlier 1991 letter demanding the same).

Mt. View has obviously had a troubled past, given the quote in the 1991 letter that Clackamas County has a “considerable file on this property concerning alleged and actual violations of the County’s Zoning and Development Ordinance”. As will all “vested rights” non-conforming tracks I researched, Mt. View has tried to expand its operations beyond its original “vested” uses and has caused an extra work load for County Planning.

CASE 7: BADROCK MOTOCROSS, MONTANA

This track story is similar to the Thomas conditional use case because private citizens constructed and operated a nuisance track without permits. Neighbors complained, took the offenders to court and won. The Judge’s ruling stated that the track was a ‘public nuisance” and required the restoration of the land to its “original contours” (quote from NoiseOFF site):

Motocross Track Ruling

In 2003, a Montana family was dealing with a neighbor that installed a motocross track. The noise levels and dust from the motorcycles were so great that the family had to abandon their home during race meets. The neighbor chose to ignore complaints about the track.

The family of Leonard Moyers brought a civil action against the family of Lorraine Morin, in Flathead County, Montana which operated a motocross track on their property.

The attorney representing the Moyers family retained a consultant, Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., who created a report as evidence that included statements of individuals exposed to the track noise, photographs of the area, noise measurements, appropriate studies and references.

In district court, the judge found for the plaintiff. The conclusions of law were that the operation of the motocross track was determined to be a public nuisance. The defendant was prohibited from the operation of any type of motocross track in the vicinity and required to remove the track from the property. That included restoring the original contours of the property by removing the hills and jumps that were constructed as part of the track.


STEWART E. STADLER
District Court Judge, Department 3
Flathead County Justice Center
920 South Main
Kalispell, MT 59901
Telephone: (406) 758-5906

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF FLATHEAD


LEONARD MOYER, ET AL.,
Plaintiffs,
vs.
LORRAINE MORIN, ET AL.,
Defendants
Cause No. DV-02-091AFINDINGS OF FACT,
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,
AND ORDER

This matter came on for trial on Wednesday and Thursday, August 20, 2003. Plaintiffs were present and represented by their counsel, Lee C. Henning; the Defendant Lorraine Morin was present personally and on behalf of the Morin Family Trust; the remaining Defendants were not present. The Court, having considered the pleadings and exhibits, the testimony of the parties and their witnisses, and being fully advised, now makes the following:

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Morin Family Trust is the title holder to certain property located in Flathead County, State of Montana, upon which Defendants have operated and/or allowed to operate the Badrock Motocross Track. The remaining Defendants are the beneficiaries of the Trust and jointly control the real property in question.

2. Plaintiffs own real property near the Badrock Motocross Track.

3. Lorraine Morin occupies and controls the property on which the Badrock Motocross Track is located by the consent of and in conjunction with the other two beneficiaries of the Morin Family Trust, Cheryl Brunson and Janice Morin.

4. In or about the fall of 2001, the Defendants allowed the aforementioned motocross track to be built on their property.

5. Since that time the Defendants have operated and/or allowed to operate a motocross track on the property, at times by themselves, and at other times in conjunction with other persons.

6. During the spring, summer and fall months of 2002 the track has been operated as frequently as on a daily basis.

7. On a number of occasions during the summer of 2002, large race meets were held at the track.

8. The track produces a tremendous amount of noise and dust which unreasonably interferes with the Plaintiffs’ ability to use and enjoy their property.

9. The noise level of the motocross bikes is so great on some occasions that it interferes with the Plaintiffs’ ability to hold normal conversations on their property, to listen to television and radio, and to study.

10. The Plaintiffs, on a number of occasions, requested that Defendants stop or limit the use of the motocross track, which requests were ignored by Defendants.

11. The continued operation of the track would dramatically decrease the Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property and would negatively impact the value of the Plaintiffs’ properties.

12. Some of the Plaintiffs have chosen to abandon their homes during the days of heavy operation of the track due to the noise.

13. The Defendants continue to operate the track on a limited basis and even this limited operation interferes with Plaintiffs’ ability to use and enjoy their property.

14. In an attempt to reduce the impact to surrounding property owners by the operation of the track, Defendants continued to reduce and limit the operation of the track. The Court does not find that the Defendants acted with actual malice and an award of punitive damages would not be appropriate.

15. Defendants have shown an inability to regulate the use and operation of the track in a manner which does not obstruct Plaintiffs’ free and comfortable use and enjoyment of their adjoining properties. For that reason it is necessary for Defendants to be compelled to remove the track completely from the property.

Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Court hereby enters the following:

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. The operation of the Badrock Motocross Track is determined to be a public nuisance and Defendants are permanently enjoined from the continued operation of any type of motocross track in this vicinity.

2. Defendants are to abate this nuisance by removing the track from the property. This removal is by restoring the original contours of the property in question by removal of the hills and jumps which were constructed as part of the track.

3. Plaintiffs are not entitled to an award of punitive damages.

Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Court hereby enters the following:

ORDER

1. That Defendants permanently terminate the operation of the Badrock Motocross Track.

2. That Defendants, as weather and time allow, are to cause the removal of the track by removing hills and jumps that were constructed for its operation. This removal and restoration to original contours is to be accomplished as weather and time allow but no later than July 1, 2004.

Dated this 28th day of October, 2003.

SIGNATURE
Stewart E. Stadler
District Court Judge

CASE 7: FISHER MX, MICHIGAN

This is a story found on a motocross blog – posted by an obviously disgruntled user of Fisher MX, a “private” illegal track that was shut down because of neighbor’s complaints. Note the “quasi-business” aspects with “suggested” $20 “donation”. Also, note that there is no respect by the writer of the letter for the agony of the neighbors impacted by track noise and dust. (quote):

The Alternative, May 12 2009

This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard about.

Rest In Peace, Fisher MX.  Fisher MX Practice Facility is the latest victim of the motocross community and the general public’s bloody battle of noise violations.  The owner of the property, Robert Fisher Jr., approached David Tisch about building a motocross track, open to the public, on the infield of his horse field.  Tisch said he would do it, and Fisher MX was born.  However, the same local residents who pledged support turned on Tisch, saying the noise was a problem.  I have personally been there, and the noise doesn’t even carry to the road.  He has hills and trees built or planted specifically to help block noise, and the bikes NEVER run before noon or past dark.  Neighbors claim that Fisher’s twenty acres are zoned as agricultural and are being used as a business.  All they want is 20 dollars for track maintenence.  It is even optional.  You don’t have to pay to ride there, they just want a bit to keep the track in good shape.

In mid-Michigan, there aren’t a whole lot of places to ride.  Fisher MX was a laid back, fun, cheap, close alternative to driving an hour to Log Road MX or an hour and a half to Baja MX.  It was also a ride until you cannot hang on anymore track, with no set schedule.  It wanted a twenty dollar SUGGESTED donation.  No gate, no races, just a track.  How on earth is that a business?  Making the situation even more confusing is the fact that the current resident of Fisher’s guest house, one Kevin Cromely, may be prosecuted and even sent to jail if someone rides at Fisher.  What?  Arrest a guest (who doesn’t even use the track, or even have a bike for that matter) for something no one should be getting in trouble for anyway.

One Linda Dubois, a neighbor, states, “You can’t even sit down and have a barbecue without hearing it.” You know, now that you mention it, I couldn’t ride there without hearing your barbecue.

Several commentors on the news article on this situation, on MAlive.com, thought that since it was zoned as agricultural, maybe he could start a hog farm.  That way, the neighbors wouldn’t have to hear the bikes, and they could instead hear the giant walking slabs of smelly bacon banging on the feeder doors 24/7.  In addition, they could open their windows and get a whiff of that nice country air.  See what argument they have then. (end quote)

CASE 8: KW Morrison LLC MX Complex, King William County, Va.

In historic rural King William County, Va., a giant MX complex was proposed in August 2006. This resulted in a massive effort to prevent MX with a citizen group forming and posting a websites called “No Motocross in King William County, Va”. The excellent website has links to NO MX sites across the nation, including one to the opponents of Granite Falls. A professionally produced video outlines the deep history, the ecology, and the agricultural roots of the area that go back hundreds of years – and then projects the horrific effects of the raceway would impose on the quality of life on the current rural residents. From the website (quote):

Outlined below is a brief summary of the proposed raceway. This will be updated when/if revised plans are submitted.

  • The raceway will be comprised of 4-tracks, parking for over 550 vehicles, camping facilities for overnight visitors, concessions, and walking paths.
  • Proposed racing times are from 7 a.m. to sunset seven days a week. Other sources of sound (announcement system, etc.) will be allowed until 11 p.m.
  • Motocross vehicles up to 500 cc will be permitted.
  • Construction will occur in five phases. The complex would begin with Phase 1, with no set dates or time frame for the development of the remaining phases.
  • Proposed on-site emergency resources during racing events:
    • An ambulance with two EMT’s.
    • Two security guards.
  • Alcohol will not be sold in the raceway complex, but visitors may bring their own alcoholic beverages.
    • The on-site pavilion will have an alcohol use permit allowing those with a license to sell alcohol within the raceway.

(1/16/08)

CBS Channel 6 – WTVR

Too much traffic, too much noise and a negative impact on the environment. That’s exactly what neighbors in King William County say will happen if the county approves a new motocross sports complex. KW Morrison, LLC, applied for a special permit to build a five track motorcross raceway off Route 30 in Aylett. The company wants to develop a large, five track motocross raceway, including parking for more than 500 vehicles. The 300 plus acres are located off Route 30 about 4 miles north of Route 360. But neighbors say putting it in the middle of a residential area is just unacceptable. Hundreds of opponents signed a petition against the track. Now they want the county take their concerns to heart. Dr. Judith Gwathmey owns 200 acres right next to the proposed site. She says, “This motocross is not conducive with the county’s plan. A compromise is out of the question. No modifications to the plan will be acceptable to the citizens and yes, if necessary we will engage legal counsel to defend our rights.” Perrin Gower, a local geologist says he has huge concerns about the negative impact to the environment. “Possible soil and ground water contamination is a potential problem.   The water that runs through that acreage is pristine. The river association has tested the creeks for coloform and there is none. You can drink that water.” Neighbor, Jeanette Wagner says that’s why they formed a non-profit group called “Citizens for King William County.” She wants other concerned neighbors to join them for Thursday’s community meeting. Wagner says, “The meeting is good because we’ll see some people becoming more involved because they’re more aware.” But CBS 6 did talk to one person who hopes neighbors will give the project a chance. Larry Jenks, of Jinx ATV & Cycle says, “It’ll give the kids in the community something to do. Right now you have to drive two hours to get somewhere to ride. This will keep kids off the streets.”

The next community meeting will be held Thursday, January 17th, at the Upper King William Senior Center at 7 pm. In the next few months, the developer will meet with neighbors again to address their concerns.

Newspaper

A community’s fight to preserve its historical and rural culture in Virginia: Biotechnology CEO get involved (3/7/08)

BUSINESS WIRE

BOSTON – Judith K. Gwathmey VMD, Ph.D., FACC, FAHA has served as Chief Executive and Chief Scientific Officer of Gwathmey Inc. for twelve years. Gwathmey, Inc. is an internationally recognized leader in providing pre-clinical testing services for evaluation of lead compounds prior to their conversion into marketable products.

Dr. Gwathmey recently embarked on a campaign with other members of the quiet rural community in Aylett, Virginia to preserve the town’s rural character and natural resources (wetlands, wildlife, and water).

“KW Morrison LLC wants to place a motocross raceway in the middle of an agricultural and residential area. Many working folks and retired seniors who live in King William County are deeply disturbed about the environmental and community degradation the motorcycle raceway will cause. The relentless noise, the added air, water and soil pollution, and increased traffic of outsiders makes many residents very concerned about their community and their property values,” says Gwathmey.

Dr. Gwathmey is working with others to raise awareness about the adverse effects the motocross raceway will cause. Dr. Gwathmey, who is on faculty at Harvard University and Boston University Medical School, is a celebrated cardiac scientist. Along with her numerous publications, she received the 2001 Presidential Mentoring Award and was recognized recently as a Hero for 2008 in Boston for providing coats and uniforms to needy students in elementary schools.

Motocross developers may want to put plans into reverse (2/6/08)

By ROBIN LAWSON
TIDEWATER REVIEW EDITOR

Developers of a proposed motocross track in King William couldn’t have expected the magnitude of opposition their plans have met so far. We certainly didn’t. The proposal hasn’t even made its way to the Planning Commission and already staunch opponents have formed a group called the “Citizens for the Future of King William County,” along with banners, signs, and a website dedicated to bringing the project to a screeching halt.

KW Morrison LLC revealed its plans for Governor’s Run Sports Park, a motocross facility located on 327 acres off rural Route 30 last month. The property, which is located approximately four miles west of Central Garage, is zoned agricultural as required by the county’s zoning ordinance, which was amended in late 2006 to include a motocross facility as an allowable land use. The surrounding property is designated for medium to high residential development on the county’s Future Land Use Map. Residents, however, are voicing loud concerns over noise, environmental pollution, impacts on emergency services, and affects on the surrounding homeowners.

In response to the opposition, the developers have gone back to drawing board and deferred a Planning Commission public hearing. It’s a long way from ever reaching final approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Last month we suggested residents weigh both sides since there are potential economic benefits to the project as well. Since then, however, the opposition has only grown and will most likely continue to do so. In response, KW Morrison LLC would serve themselves better by halting plans in King William and moving forward in a more receptive area.

Even if the proposal meets all the planning department’s requirements, the Board of Supervisor’s can still deny the project based on quality of life issues that have repeatedly been raised by opponents.

The road ahead in King William isn’t looking very smooth for the motocross developers. They should just stop while they’re ahead.

Supes still treading through motocross concerns (1/30/08)

By FRANCES HUBBARD
TIDEWATER REVIEW STAFF WRITER

KING WILLIAM – It was standing room only Monday night as the Board of Supervisors faced a determined crowd who made it very clear they do not want a motocross facility in their county. Standing ovations, cheers, and waving signs from nearly 200 audience members who packed inside and outside the boardroom followed each speaker during the board’s regular public comment period. “The community overwhelmingly rejects this project,” said Terry Stone, an Aylett resident and member of the King William County School Board. “It’s not wanted.” Although the application submitted by KW Morrison LLC to construct a sports park in Aylett was not on the board’s agenda, members of the newly-formed non-profit group, the “Citizens of King William County,” told the board they would be holding their ground over the next few months as the application process continued. Several speakers said they were confident the project would not be approved. “Nothing good can come out of it,” said Shirley Jones, a new Aylett resident who said she was attracted to the area by its rural quality, one she hopes will be preserved. Earlier this month, developers revealed their plans for Governor’s Run Sports Park, a motocross facility located on 327 acres off Route 30 near Globe Road, to an onslaught of opposition. Following a January 2 community meeting, developers have gone back to the drawing boards, deferring the January 22 Planning Commission public hearing and revamping park plans to address concerns. While not all citizens are opposed to the track, those speaking out are voicing concerns over noise, environmental pollution, impact on emergency services, and effects on the surrounding real estate market. David Chenault, a farmer whose property is adjacent to the proposed park, told the board the facility would ruin the area. “The only way this should be approved is if you allow a brothel,” he said to a roar of laughter, asking that the brothel border his own land. Developers’ original plans include four competition motocross tracks, a pavilion, a snack bar, restrooms, and a camping area. The tracks, which will be located approximately four miles north of Central Garage, would be accessed off of Route 30. The developers, which include Bob Fauteaux, Arthur Mourino, and Marshall Campbell, initially proposed to host one weekend event per month. A typical motocross event draws between 300 and 400 spectators with riders generally ranging between the ages of eight and 16 years-old. No new public hearing date has been set for the Conditional Use Permit before the Planning Commission. Randy Cook, attorney for the developers, said they will revise the initial plans to address some of the concerns. There is still the possibility of another community meeting, but no plans have been made at this time.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting is February 25 at 7 p.m. in the boardroom of the Administration Building.

Residents decry motocross raceway in King William (1/29/08)

By LAWRENCE LATANE III
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

KING WILLIAM – Opponents of a motocross raceway under consideration in King William County packed a Board of Supervisors meeting last night. Almost 200 opponents applauded speaker after speaker who told the board that the track would be a bad idea. “I think the board understands the feeling of everybody out there that you do not want a motocross track,” said board Chairman C. Thomas Redd III. Speakers said a track would compromise the county’s rural quality of life and undermine the value of surrounding real estate. “This is a shame we have to deal with such a thing,” county resident Leon Brooks said. “How do we want future residents to view King William?” resident Bob Hubbard asked. Developers withdrew their original proposal to build up to four motocross tracks and a campground on 327 acres north of Central Garage. Bob Fauteux, one of the developers, cited opposition at an information meeting hosted this month by the developers.Fauteux said he and his partners are revising the proposal to make it more palatable to local residents. They have yet to resubmit a plan.

Mapping Out Concerns (1/23/08)

By FRANCES HUBBARD
TIDEWATER REVIEW STAFF WRITER

Close to 200 citizens turned out on a wet and slushy Thursday night for the first community meeting hosted by the newly formed Citizens of King William County. The meeting, held at the Upper King William Senior Center off Route 30, allowed residents the opportunity to pose questions to a panel, which included a geologist, about the recent proposal submitted to the county by KW Morrison LLC to construct a motocross facility on 327 acres four miles above Central Garage. Citizens reviewed maps that showed the property in proximity to the county’s subdivisions (pictured above) and voiced concerns over noise, pollution, and effects on the surrounding homes. A  A public hearing at the Planning Commission last night was deferred as the applicant revamps plans to address some of the concerns.

Foes of racetrack proposal to meet
Opposition to motocross park in King William ‘unifying’ some residents (1/16/08)

By LAWRENCE LATANE III
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Opponents of a proposed motorcycle racetrack in King William County plan to meet tomorrow night to organize their resistance to the idea. Developers broached plans for a motocross park at a public information meeting of their own last week that left many worried it would spoil their peace and quiet and conflict with county growth trends. “I don’t see this as a bonfire thing to help business in King William,” said George McFadden, who built a home 11 years ago on Enfield Road about a mile and a half from the proposed track. “I’d like to hear all sides to this,” he added, “but right now, I’m opposed to this.” McFadden said he plans to attend the meeting. It will be in the Upper King William Senior Center on 8306 King William Road at 7 p.m. The meeting is being organized by members of Aubrey El’s family who live, own land, or grew up near the proposed raceway site about 5 miles west of Central Garage off state Route 30. “It’s definitely become an issue that’s unifying this county. We thought it would be a good idea to get people together who stand in opposition to it,” El said. Bob Fauteux, who runs a logging business in the county, and two partners had planned to present their motocross track proposal to the county Planning Commission next week. They postponed the proposal after their information meeting last week made it clear their idea would face stout opposition. An unexpected crowd of about 100 people attended their meeting. Fauteux said he and his partners need time to revise their plan to address complaints raised at the meeting. Many of the speakers that night voiced concerns about noise, traffic safety, light pollution, alcohol use and environmental impacts.
Faustian said the proposed Governor’s Run Sports Park would bring jobs and money to the county by attracting 8 to 16-year-old motocross racers and their families to monthly American Motorcycle Association-sanctioned competitions at the park.

The plan originally called for the phased creation of up to four dirt racetracks on 327 acres and a campground. County planning director Scott Lunches said the developers have indicated the developers may drop one of the tracks to allow room for forest buffers wider than the 100 feet they originally proposed. Fauteax said yesterday he welcomes tomorrow night’s meeting. “We look forward to and encourage the continued interest in the project,” he said. “We think that’s a good thing.”

Motocross proposal fuels opposition Concerned citizens group forms, hires legal counsel (1/16/08)

By FRANCES HUBBARD
TIDEWATER REVIEW STAFF WRITER

KING WILLIAM – Over 200 residents are expected to attend a community meeting Thursday night to discuss impacts they believe a possible motocross track will have on their county. The meeting is expected to be the first informational session of a newly organized group called the Citizens for the Future of King William County. “It’s a meeting to get people involved,” Resident Jeanette Wagner said, extending an invitation to any citizen who has an interest in where the county is going. Earlier this month, KW Morrison LLC revealed its plans for Governor’s Run Sports Park, a motocross facility located on 327 acres off Route 30 near Globe Road, to an onslaught of opposition. Following the January 2 community meeting, developers have gone back to the drawing boards, deferring the January 22 Planning Commission public hearing and revamping park plans to address concerns. While not all citizens are opposed to the track, most residents speaking out are voicing concerns over noise, environmental pollution, impact on emergency services, and affects on the surrounding homeowners. Organizers of Thursday’s meeting plan to present experts who will discuss the impacts they believe the sports park could have on the community, while gathering an ongoing list of concerns and questions. “If we compile the list together it will ensure that we are complete,” said Terry Sims Stone, an Aylett resident who also serves on the King William County School Board. “It’s not just an entertainment event for us. We see it as a loss of our assets. I just don’t think it’s in the right location.” Several presentations are expected at this week’s meeting. Organizer Dr. Judith Gwathmey, who lives adjacent the proposed park, will present what she calls a community vision. “I will be asking what would we do with the property if we had it?,” she said. “If you don’t want a motocross track then find an alternative and suggest it,” Wagner added. Gwathmey said a geologist will speak on the environmental impacts, a transportation representative will speak on traffic impacts, fire and rescue personnel will discuss the impact on emergency services, and a representative from the fisheries and wildlife department will also speak. In addition to community impacts, Gwathmey has also invited an Emergency Room/Trauma physician to talk to the citizens about the health impacts and the injuries associated with motocross racing. “I’d rather these guys present the facts and then allow people to ask the questions,” Gwathmey said. This week, Gwathmey said the legal counsel of George W. Guy in Richmond, along with Kevin W. Mottley of Troutman and Sanders LLC, has been retained to represent the citizens group and plans are in the works to turn the Citizens for the Future of King William County into an official 501(c)3 corporation – a non-profit organization. Gwathmey explained that the organization will remain a permanent entity in the county to assist residents with future issues and provide financial support if ever needed. The community meeting is set for January 17 at 7 p.m. at the Upper King William Senior Center located on Route 30.

King William previews park Residents express skepticism about motorcycle racing (1/11/08)

By LAWRENCE LATANE III
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

CENTRAL GARAGE – Developers presented plans for a motorcycle racing park to a skeptical audience in King William County last night. A spokesman for the proposed Governor’s Run Sports Park said he wanted to give residents a preview of the plan before presenting it to the county planning commission Jan. 22. “We want to please as many people as we can,” said Randy Cook, a Mechanicsville lawyer who outlined the proposal last night at an informal meeting that drew about 100 people to a county senior center. Many in the audience, however, just wanted to know how much noise the sports park’s race track might generate. “I moved to this county for tranquility and quiet,” said one woman who did not identify herself. Many in the audience applauded. Bob Fauteaux, one of three partners who want to develop the 327-acre property, compared the noise of a motocross racing bike to a lawnmower. He said that at 25 feet, a motorcycle generates 90 to 100 decibels of sound, compared with a mower that produced 107 decibels from 3 feet away. Another speaker from the audience told Fauteaux that she wanted a more valid comparison. “What about 50 of these running around the track?” she asked. Fauteaux responded that he has been involved in motocross racing for 30 years, has never worn earplugs and still hears fine. The park would be built 5 miles west of Central Garage off state Route 30. The developers’ plans call for creating a racing park for off-road motorcycles powered with 50-to 500-cc engines. Cook said up to four tracks would be built if all five phases of the developers’ building plan are completed. But he said only one phase might be built, consisting of a beginner’s track and an advanced race course. Typically, motocross parks draw drivers who range in age from 8 to 16, Cook said. The other two developers are Arthur Mourino and Marshall Campbell. The proposal calls for holding one organized Friday-Sunday event each month. Cook estimated about 150 vehicles would enter the park for the monthly event, which would be sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association. The facility also would be opened daily for private instruction and public practice. Motorcycles would be allowed to use the track between 7 a.m. and sunset, and overnight camping would be allowed on the grounds. The developers called last night’s meeting to provide information to nearby residents. The county planning commission will hold a public hearing on the request Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. Commissioners then will make a recommendation to the county board of supervisors, which will conduct another public hearing on the proposal.

Motocross track revs up concerns (1/9/08)

By FRANCES HUBBARD
TIDEWATER REVIEW STAFF WRITER

KING WILLIAM – Dr. Judith Gwathmey does not want a motocross track in her backyard, and she’s not alone. “It’s like someone putting a major airport next to your house. Nobody would want to live there,” Gwathmey said. Gwathmey is just one in a group of King William residents banning together in opposition of the development of a motocross track on 327 acres located off Route 30 near Route 608, Globe Road. “If we want a community known for its good schools, good rural living, and family friendly atmosphere, we won’t want a motocross track in our backyard,” said Aylett resident Traci Wampler, who lives adjacent to the proposed Governor’s Run Sports Park. Last week, close to 150 citizens turned out for a community meeting hosted by developers KW Morrison LLC, who are seeking a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the motorcycle racing park. “Obviously we were expecting opposition. We were a little surprised at the extent of the opposition. It was a little more widespread than we thought,” said Randy Cook, an attorney for the applicant. Cook presented a proposal for the sports park, which is expected to initially include a competition track and a “kiddie” track with the possibility of future tracks to be phased into the facility. The proposed plans also included a pavilion, a snack bar, restrooms, and a camping area.

The track would be accessed off of Route 30. “The big issue here is about the community impact,” said Gwathmey. The access road would run through her property. Most residents have voiced concerns over noise and environmental pollution, but like Gwathmey many feel the proposal does not meet the long-term goals of the county. “I don’t believe that this development is consistent with the culture, vision and image of King William County,” said Terry Sims Stone, an Aylett resident who also serves on the King William School Board. “We have to consider where is the county going and is it going to be a place your children will want to live?” “Any family searching for a quiet place to raise their children or older couples looking for a retirement home will not find a motocross track a part of the equation,” said Wampler. Not everyone opposes the sports park, though. Roger Jenks, Jr, owner of Jinx ATV and Cycles located on Route 360 disagrees with those who oppose the development and spoke in favor of the sports park last week. “It’s a good family-oriented sport that provides positive childhood development,” he said. “I think the county needs more recreational activities for both children and adults.” Jenks said a track in the county would provide a place for local competitors, who often have to travel to the west side of the state, to ride and offer a positive influence over the sport with the possibility of instructional courses. The property, which is located approximately four miles west of Central Garage, is zoned agricultural as required by the county’s zoning ordinance, which was amended in late 2006 to include a motocross facility as an allowable land use. The surrounding property is designated for medium to high residential development on the county’s Future Land Use Map. Both Stone and Gwathmey believe the sports park could have a negative impact on the value of existing and future homes on the surrounding properties. The developers, which include Bob Fauteaux, Arthur Mourino, and Marshall Campbell, propose to host one weekend event per month. A typical motocross event draws between 300 and 400 spectators with riders generally ranging between the ages of eight and 16 years-old. “The track will result in a high volume of traffic on the weekends. I just don’t want to see anyone getting hurt going to or leaving [the park],” Gwathmey said. “The drain on our local fire and rescue squads will be enormous. We are volunteers here and I’d rather have them responding to calls than waiting for an accident at this thrill-seeker sport.” “A lot of these issues can be addressed with conditions and the others with revisions of the conceptual plan,” Cook said. The proposal includes a plan to open the sports park on a daily basis for private instruction and public practice during the hours of 7 a.m. to sunset.Cook said developers chose this particular property because it was located so far off the road and the surrounding property was relatively undeveloped. “There is no property in King William without residential development around it,” he said. The closest home is approximately 1,500 feet, according to Cook, and trees will remain around the tracks to act as a sound barrier to the bikes that run off of 50- to 500-cc engines. The motorcycles will be required to use mufflers at all time and deposit fuel at the facilities required collection stations. KW Morrison LLC hosted last week’s meeting in an effort to inform nearby residents and to gauge the citizen opinion of the facility. “Now we are going to see if we can revise the plans to address as many of the concerns as we can. I don’t think we will be able to please everyone,” Cook said. The Planning Commission had scheduled a public hearing for the CUP on January 22, but the hearing has currently been deferred. Developers plan to revamp their proposal before setting a new hearing date. Cook said there is still the possibility of another community meeting, but no plans have been made at this time.

“It’s insulting the way this thing was presented to us. It’s an environmental nightmare. I can’t think of anything it doesn’t impact,” said Gwathmey, who has a doctorate in several backgrounds and works for a biotechnology company in Boston but spends most of her time on the property that has been in her family for generations in King William. “This is about a community. It doesn’t send the right image for this county. My family has been here for over 100 years. I live on this road and I’m not going back to work until this is over.”

Motocross racetrack proposal delayed Developers working with King William residents to ease noise concerns (1/3/08)

By LAWRENCE LATANE III
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

Developers of a proposed motorcycle racetrack in King William County have deferred their application for a conditional-use permit while they re-examine the project in light of neighborhood resistance. “We’ve tabled it until we can address every one of their problems,” Bob Fauteux said of concerns raised last week at a
community meeting. Fauteux, a logging contractor who cuts timber in the county, and two partners revealed their plans for Governor’s Run Sports Park to a skeptical audience last week. About 100 people attended the meeting and made it clear they will guard their rural lifestyle. Speakers identified noise, traffic and light pollution among the many issues they said would be incompatible with the neighborhood of scattered homes and farms about 5 miles west of Central Garage off state Route 30. The raceway proposal was scheduled to be heard at a Jan. 22 public hearing before the county Planning Commission. Planning Director Scott Lucchesi said no new date to hear the request has been set. He has recommended the developers host another informational meeting with residents before bringing a retooled request to the planners. “It’s just better to get citizens involved,” he said. As presented at last week’s informal meeting, the sports-park plan included the phased creation of up to four motocross racetracks on 327 acres south of state Route 30. The venue would host monthly American Motorcycle Association-sanctioned races between motocross racers on winding dirt tracks. The proposal said mufflers would be required on all motorcycles, and tracks would be surrounded by forest buffers at least 100 feet wide. “I honestly do believe in this project,” said Fauteux, who declined to offer specifics on how he and his partners intend to modify their proposal. “When you see our next proposal, you’ll see that a lot of the [neighborhood’s] issues will be addressed. Lucchesi said the developers left the impression with him that they would rework their layout, possibly dropping one of the proposed tracks to increase the amount of forest space surrounding the park. “They’re planning a substantial overhaul from what I understand,” Lucchesi said.
Board Denies Motocross Appeal Nov. 12, 2008

By FRANCES HUBBARD

Staff Writer

KING WILLIAM – An emotional Dr. Judy Gwathmey thanked all of those who supported her following the Board of Zoning Appeals decision last week that ,says she has to sign off on the permit

, for the proposed motocross facility in Aylett. Developers, however, say the decision will not halt their

plans.

“This’ could have never happened without the support of the citizens of King William County and I’ll always be indebted to you,” Gwathmey said as the crowd exited the General District courtroom …

Motocross developers, KW Morrison, LLC, filed an appeal with the BZA in August of a zoning interpretation issued by Zoning Administrator Susan Blackburn and County Attorney L. McCauley Chenault that said Gwathmey had to be a party to the proposed CUP application

because she owns the access easement needed for the sports park.

Four members of the <BZA agreed, issuing a decision memo that stated “the plain language of the Ordinance resolves this question for us … the CUP application for access through the Gwathmey parcel must be initiated by Gwathmey or by Morrison with Gwathmey’s authorization.”

Morrison argued that neither the county nor the state code requires that the access easement to the property

obtain a CUp, stating their belief that the only requirement is that the property and the easement be zoned the same. In this case, both are zoned A-C (Agriculture Conservation District).

“We were obviously disappointed-by the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals. We remain convinced we had the correct legal position,” said Andrew M. Condlin, an attorney representing Morrison. “That being said, we are considering all of the potential options, which obviously include a potential appeal to the circuit court.”

Developers have been revamping their plans for the sports park since January after hearing multiple concerns from residents at a community meeting.

“There are various options available to us at this point and now that we have the final decision of the BZA we can consider those options, which necessarily include working with Dr. Gwathmey to address her concerns,” Condlin said. “We continue to believe our’ revised plan has responded to many of the issues raised in our past discussions with the various interested parties and we remain optimistic that once we can resolve the access issue we can begin a productive dialogue on our revised plan.”

In the meantime, opponents, who say they are in this for the long haul, wait to see the developer’s next move.

“They cannot proceed with their proposed plans with that decision,” said Don Wagner, an Aylett resident and member of the non-profit group the Citizens for King William County. “We are hopeful that they’ll see what the citizens of King William County want and look at other

options other than a motocross facility on that agricultural land’.

QUOTES FROM BLOGS ABOUT THE KING WILLIAM PROPOSAL (note harassment of citizens who oppose the MX facility):

1.Many of the MX riders have stated that they now ride illegally (i.e. tresspassing). Someone complained that people with signs against the MX park have had their mail and mailboxes tampered with recently.

2.Y’all are doing a good job representing yourselves.

3. This is interesting to me…because every motocross track I’ve ever seen is an eyesore. Mud, tearing up the land…etc. Ugghhh.

4.I have two young boys…and can totally respect the “family” aspect of this sport, and may find that motocross is in our future…but I will never, ever want it in my backyard. And I cannot respect the disrepectful tone of many motocross supporters on this site. Complaints about senior citizens, retired folks, old people…ignorant country folk…what a shame that you see the residents of King William in that light.
One day you will be an old, retired person. Today…you are an ignorant person!(Or at least your posts make you sound that way!).

5.There are many, many – young, educated people that oppose this project, in addition to the people that have retired near the motocross proposed track.

6.Instead of harrassing them…why don’t you try to see the situation from their eyes. Maybe true coming to terms will be the thing that gets this park approved. Acting like righteous know it alls will not and will only make bitter feelings prevail.

7.YES MOTOCROSS wrote:

NoXcross, Blaming the MX riders for tampering with mailboxes is ridiculous. The MX families have not done this. VDOT took your illegal signs down. And your mailboxes are probaley being tampered with by the same delinquents that spray paint churches in our county, as well as rob convienence stores, and sell drugs. Our MX kids are at the track with their parents RACING !

8.I thought they didn’t have any place to ride – that’s why they are “forced” to commit trespass. If they are at the track all the time with their parents, why is this new track even needed?

9.The “No Motocross” signs are not illegal, unless they’ve changed the First Amendment. Placing them too close to the highway was a mistake, but only a venial sin in the eyes of VDOT.

10. I never said that your MX kid tampered with anyone’s mailbox. My guess was some irate MX parent did. Why would a drug selling, church painting delinquent waste their time targeting mailboxes with a “No Motocross” sign in the yard, when their are all those convenience stores to rob?

11.Note that tampering with mailboxes (or the mail inside them) is a federal offense. I don’t know anyone this has happened to, but it was mentioned in one of the posts above

12.YES MOTOCROSS wrote:

bhappy, The vast majority of oppostion are seniors that commenting against this unjustly, speaking disciminatley about people and children involved in motocross and worried about a suspected noise nuisance.

13. I suspect that grass is green, and water is wet. But that’s just my opinion. If you think that MX tracks are only a “suspected noise nuisance,” then either senility or permanent hearing loss has been suffered. I’m glad the old folks haven’t resorted to speaking indiscriminately about this.

14.I am opposed to the track, but sadly, this issue has now been reduced to good and bad, right and wrong, pitting neighbor against neighbor. The concept seems so simple to me — if we have to get our neighbors’ approval before building a fence or constructing a shed in our yards to ensure it is not a nuisance, why would a project of this magnitude have any less restrictions? (end quote)

NO Motocross in King William County Va website:

http://www.nokwmotocross.org/additionaalinfo.cfm

SUMMARY:

I think the last sentence from the above King William County blog best sums up our local struggles to reject a conditional use permit for motocross/camping on S. Wilhoit Rd:

“…sadly, this issue has now been reduced to good and bad, right and wrong, pitting neighbor against neighbor. The concept seems so simple to me — if we have to get our neighbors’ approval before building a fence or constructing a shed in our yards to ensure it is not a nuisance, why would a project of this magnitude have any less restrictions?”

It should be very clear from the above motocross siting tour that communities everywhere stand up to fight tooth and nail to protect themselves from the nuisance that motocross represents to residents: noise, dust, traffic, prolonged legal battles, environmental damage, trespass and the threats and harassment of residents who oppose motocross are common themes in every struggle.

It is obvious from the very fact that a community member had to spend hours compiling these sad stories that the already illegally sited and used Thomas motocross event site south of Molalla has had grave impacts on our community’s ability to enjoy the quality of life we enjoyed before motocross invaded our peaceful hills.

One more quote from the struggle in Virginia fits our struggle in Molalla:

A compromise is out of the question. No modifications to the plan will be acceptable to the citizens and yes, if necessary, we will engage … to defend our rights.”

The motocross proponents we have met in Molalla have no compassion for our quality of life. All the above MX stories prove that problems are never ending when motocross is sited anywhere near residences –  and that MX has huge impacts on natural resources and on county planning departments. Please deny the Thomas conditional use permit and restore our lives so we can again enjoy our traditional farming and forestry pursuits.

 
RE:ZO348-10-C (Thomas conditional use) 
FIVE ARTICLES FROM THE COLUMBIAN ABOUT WASHOUGAL MX PROBLEMS:
 Riots, rowdy behavior,drinking, police and Clark County concerns about MX. These articles document ongoing problems that occur even at permitted MX “parks” – Washougal allows overnight camping.
 
ARTICLE 1:BRAWL AT MOTOCROSS RACE DRAWS RIOT POLICE Byline: DEAN BAKER,  Columbian staff writer 
Publication Date: 08/02/1998 12:00:00 AM
Publication: The Columbian
WASHOUGAL -- Motocross promoters were scrambling to save their reputation and their race
track Saturday after riot police flushed rowdy beer drinkers out of their weekend racing
event.
Late Friday and early Saturday morning, dozens of police officers, in riot gear and
equipped with tear gas and dogs, charged into noisy partyers who refused to give up their
beer. At least one man apparently prompted the tough response by throwing a rock or beer
can at officers.
   The police shut down the park for two hours between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. Saturday
to restore order.
   Early Saturday night, Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Cooke said 25 deputies were on
duty and a few isolated pockets of drinking and rowdiness were developing.
   About 10 p.m. Saturday, Sgt. Cooke said, "We've kicked out close to 30 people for
alcohol violations and being disruptive. We've also called in additional personnel. We
going to have close to 35 officers. At this point, we think we're in kind of a calm before
a storm."
   The owner said eight young men caused the major problem on Friday night. But the
publicist said 30 to 40 young men from a Seattle cycle center had illegally brought beer
into the grounds and caused trouble, just as the same group did last year. The Seattle
group was evicted Saturday.
   The occasion was the 18th annual Washougal National Motocross. It brings an estimated
50,000 spectators and riders from around the nation to the 180-acre Washougal Motocross
Park in the Bear Prairie woods eight miles north of here.
   The weekend slate of races continues today. The Washougal event is one of 12 outdoor
races run by the American Motorcyclist Association.
   A family racing spectacle by day, the event also draws a rough party crowd. They prowl
at night, drinking in the makeshift campsites sprawled along steep, rutted trails through
the woods.
   To take the boozy haze off the races this year, officials banned all private alcohol at
the event, restricting it to the roped-off beer garden. They searched all entering
vehicles for prohibited alcohol.
   "But they smuggle it in," said event publicist Brian Barnes. "I'm at a loss to know
what to do. Five percent of your people can spoil the event for the other 95 percent. I
just hope we can hang onto the event next year."
   The owner of the site was dismayed, too.
   "Alcohol is a problem in the National Football League and I guess it is for motocross,
too," said Ralph Huffman.
   Some 50 police cars from Clark and Cowlitz Counties and from the cities of Vancouver,
Longview, Kelso and Portland struck the park hard late Friday about 15 minutes after the
rock or can flew, Barnes said.
   "There were no sirens at all," said Barnes.
   "I just couldn't believe how quick they got there -- in about 10 minutes -- and they
told them to pour the beer out, and I saw police pour it out. But then about eight of them
just would not shut their mouth and would not stay in their tents -- this one just kept
going on and on," Huffman said.
   No one was injured and one man apparently was arrested, but his identity couldn't be
learned Saturday.
   "I think maybe this was a bit of overkill with that many officers," Barnes said. "But
obviously we're very disappointed. When you get 40 kids together who stuff alcohol, no
matter how hard we search, I'm kinda beyond words on what we can do to make it better."
   Sheriff's Sgt.Cooke said before it got under way that deputies were concerned about
working the event.
   In the past, Cooke said, some deputies had been so threatened by some fans that they
were forced to leave the site in disguise by taking off their uniforms.
   County officials had threatened before this event to deny a conditional-use permit
needed to allow the event with alcohol, camping and parking. But they allowed the permit,
noting alcohol could not be brought onto the grounds.
   "We expect there'll be more as the night goes on and the alcohol flows," Sgt. Cooke
said Saturday night.
   "We're totally ill equipped to deal with riots in this county," Cooke said. "We have no
riot equipment. We have no riot training. We don't even have helmets. We are in a no-win
situation with this motocross. It has too many people, and we don't have the people to
deal with it."
 
ARTICLE 2: COUNTY TO REVIEW WASHOUGAL RACES
Byline: BRUCE WESTFALL,  Columbian staff writer
Publication Date: 08/11/1998 12:00:00 AM
Publication Info: Page: a1; Section Front Page; Zone: ; Edition:
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Protected? Yes
Keywords: MOTOCROSS,, MOTORCYCLE,
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Story:
Though much of the event went smoothly, everybody agrees there were problems at this
year's Washougal National Motocross.
But was the Friday-night fracas the fault of campers on the  200-acre motocross property,
about six miles north of Washougal, or the cops?
   Clark County officials will meet  Wednesday to review the three-day motorcycle racing
event, which attracts up to 50,000 fans. Unpleasant spin-offs Friday night, July 31, and
early Saturday, Aug. 1,  included a confrontation between police in riot gear and a
handful of disorderly spectators.
   Those events eclipsed what was otherwise a reasonably quiet weekend at the 18th annual,
nationally sanctioned motocross. An estimated 17,300 fans attended the main race on Aug.
2.
   "We're sitting down to debrief the good, bad and the ugly," said Jeroen Kok, a county
planner assigned to the motocross who said local officials will meet Wednesday to talk
among themselves.
   And Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas will have something to say.
   Lucas believes the Friday-night squabble, which included a rock or beer can pitched at
officers, "is the kind of incident perpetuated year after year. (Park owner Ralph Huffman)
says we remember everything that happens there. He's right. We remember the
dynamite-throwing in the late '80s and things like the naked trampoline events last year.
   "It's probably safe to assume," Lucas said, "that the race consistently fails to meet
our expectations. Some serious dialogue has to take place over whether there's overnight
camping. That's been the bugaboo."
   But Huffman, a Roseburg, Ore.,  businessman, countered this week that the Friday-night
problems might not have occurred "if the police had handled it right."
   Following spectator complaints that police overreacted, Huffman said officers were too
"forceful," barging into tents and motor homes during a late-night sweep of the impromptu
campground for 3,000 to 4,000 participants and spectators.
   "I've had at least a dozen people who have called me to complain," Huffman said. "I
think the police are going to be sued."
   For the first time, this year organizers banned alcohol in the campground, but some was
still smuggled in.
   On Friday night, sheriff's deputies called in police from Longview, Kelso and Portland
to help clear the campground of boisterous, beer-drinking campers. Several dozen were
kicked off the property.
   When the dust cleared, officers had issued numerous citations, but there was only one
arrest.
   James Calvin Adkisson, 20, of Sisters, Ore., was jailed on suspicion of being a minor
in possession of alcohol, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
   Adkisson has since been released from jail and is awaiting trial on the misdemeanor
charges in Clark County District Court.
   A ban on camping at the site would probably cut attendance, said track owner Huffman,
but wouldn't kill the event. "It'd make it so I didn't have to pay so much for security,"
he added.
   Lucas acknowledged that shutting down the campground on motocross property would create
other problems by scattering campers up and down the Washougal River, "but it becomes
easier for us to deal with those piecemeal issues than 2,000 drunks in one place."
   Other county officials were less critical of the event, however. "After the mess on
Friday night, things went pretty smoothly," noted Clark County Fire Marshal David Lynam.
   Among other things, Huffman hired Starplex Corp., a security firm, to help patrol the
motocross. "In totality, the event went off much better (than past years)," added Terry
LaRocque, another county planner.
   County officials keep a leash on the event through a conditional- use permit good for
two more years, but the permit can be revoked if serious problems arise.
   Officials threatened to revoke the motocross permit this spring but allowed the event
to go on after reaching a compromise with Huffman that included private security and a
beer ban.
   "I'm going to throw my opinion in with the rest," Lucas said. "But I think we have to
seriously evaluate whether the overnight camping continues."

 
 
ARTICLE 3:COUNTY GEARS UP FOR MOTOCROSS
Byline: DANIEL YEE, Columbian staff writer
Publication Date: 07/29/1999 12:00:00 AM
Publication Info: Page: b1; Section Clark County/region; Zone: ; Edition:
Library Enhanced? Yes
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Protected? Yes
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Story:
WASHOUGAL --  A year after police in riot gear removed rowdy beer drinkers from the
Washougal National Motocross, organizers and police plan for a calmer return of Clark
County's premier sporting event.
The event is one of 12 outdoor races on the American Motorcyclist Association's racing
circuit. About 35,000 participants and spectators are expected to come Friday through
Sunday to this section of Bear Prairie woods, about 8 miles north of Washougal. Amateur
racing will be held from Thursday to Saturday.
   "It's known as one of the good tracks," said event organizer and Washougal Motocross
Park owner Ralph Huffman. "It's certainly known as one of the prettiest."
   Last year, however, the motocross took an ugly turn when Clark County Sheriff's
deputies removed 30 spectators for alcohol violations and disruptions in the park, 40205
N.E. Borin Road.
   During that incident, police dressed in riot gear and equipped themselves with tear gas
and dogs to disperse noisy spectators who refused to give up their beer.
   "There wasn't no riot," Huffman said of the deputies' action and later media reports.
"Eight people were the problem. People didn't want their alcohol taken, and police were
doing sweeps. Now I'm known clear to New York as having a riot."
   No alcohol is allowed in the 200-acre park, except for roped-off beer gardens near the
motocross track. The event is family-oriented, but police and event officials said
spectators often camp out and party at their campsites on the Friday and Saturday before
the event's professional motocross race, usually held on a Sunday.
   Event officials do check spectators' vehicles for alcohol, but Huffman said that has
never completely stopped the flow of liquor in the park. Last year, organizers gave 400
refunds to angered spectators who left after the police action.
   "The event is family-oriented. A lot of people, they like their beer and cigarettes,"
he added.
   This year, organizers are working closely with deputies to make sure the event runs
smoothly. Event organizers and a private security firm will handle the alcohol searches
and traffic control.
   Some eight to 20 deputies will support event security officials between Thursday and
Sunday, said  Lt. Chuck Atkins of the sheriff's office, who added that the law enforcement
presence will be higher on Friday and Saturday, when more drinking at the event
traditionally has taken place.
   "We'll try to keep people from drinking where they're not supposed to," Atkins said.
"Deputies will try to hold (participants) to zero tolerance, but they will try to have
common sense."
   As a result, an adult caught drinking outside of the beer gardens will receive a
warning from deputies. Participants found with alcohol a second time may be removed from
the event, Atkins said.
   Minors found with alcohol will be cited for alcohol possession , he said.
   "In the past, there has never been much more than the alcohol problem" as a security
concern, Atkins said. "We have the proper equipment on site to handle anything that might
happen."
   Huffman said he's expecting this year's attendance to be down after the word spread
last year about the police crackdown.
   Over the years, however, the event's attendance and popularity has soared. About 20,000
people attended the event in 1997, and five years ago, the Washougal Motocross was ranked
the best event in the country among 30 national motocross riders.

 
ARTICLE 4: Unruly motocross fans pelt officers with rocks
Byline: KELLY ADAMS, Columbian staff writer
Publication Date: 07/27/2003 12:00:00 AM
A parking area near the Washougal River Bridge will be closed today after a crowd of
rowdy motocross fans caused trouble at the spot Saturday, smashing the window of a patrol
car.
   Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox said about 200 people who had been attending the
Washougal MX National motocross event descended on Washougal River Road around 4 p.m. They
were jumping off the bridge and blocking traffic.
   "One lane was completely blocked," Cox said.
   When officers arrived, motocross fans, identified by their wristbands giving them entry
into the event, refused to leave.
   Some threw rocks from the banks of the river, Cox said. A window in a patrol car was
broken, and flying rocks barely missed hitting at least two officers.
   Backup officers, 20 total, arrived from surrounding agencies. Motocross organizers
asked officers to start clipping the wristbands. The combination of losing admission to
the event and the presence of so many officers finally made the crowd disperse.
   Today vehicles parked in the area will be immediately towed.
   Cox said he wants people to enjoy themselves at the motocross, but fun shouldn't come
at the expense of everyone else. Drinking is restricted to the beer garden of the
motocross park, which prompts some to leave the site so they can drink.
   "We're taking the brunt of the overflow," Cox said. "We're not going to tolerate it,
some moron out there drinking beer."

ARTICLE 5 (a clip from a crime list) POLICE REPORT: MAN ARRESTED AFTER POSING AS POLICE, ROUGHING UP TEEN DRIVER
Byline: JOHN BRANTON, Columbian staff writer
Publication Date: 07/31/2002 12:00:00 AM

Too much mischief: Sheriff's deputies say a teen-age boy drove his pickup recklessly in
a crowded campground on the Washougal Motocross grounds early Monday, crashing into
garbage cans and a portable toilet and stealing beer kegs and a golf cart.
   The boy was taken to the Clark County Juvenile Center on suspicion of theft, malicious
mischief, assault and reckless endangerment. An alleged accomplice, 20-year-old Brent M.
Casteel of Poulsbo, was arrested for theft and malicious mischief.
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3 Responses to HISTORY OF MX TRACKS: PITTING NEIGHBORS AGAINST NEIGHBORS

  1. We live in Canada and own a campground. Our neighbors built a raceway with no permits or consulting area residents. Our municpality does nothing while our business goes down the drain. If there are any other cases anyone knows or in Canada, please lets us know. We are desperate for help, our legal bills are mounting trying to put a stop to this raceway.

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