Good noise

Mo­tocross en­thu­si­asts tout ben­e­fits of lo­cal track

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­

EAS­TON — At least half of the two dozen peo­ple who at­tended the Tal­bot County Noise Or­di­nance Task Force meet­ing on Thurs­day, April 26, were mo­tocross en­thu­si­asts from Mary­land and Delaware who de­liv­ered their pleas to let an Eas­ton mo­tocross track stay alive.

The Land­ing Mo­tocross Park has been a source of con­tention as the county ham­mers out a noise or­di­nance that sat­is­fies the res­i­dents who live near the track, riders who visit it and its owner.

In the end, the task force agreed to a pro­vi­sion that would not im­pact the op­er­a­tion of the track.

The 15-mem­ber task force has al­lowed public com­ment be­fore or af­ter each meet­ing. Eight sup­port­ers of the track shared com­ments at the start of the meet­ing and were greeted by ap­plause by many who at­tended it. The meet­ing was held in the Wye Oak Room at the Tal­bot County Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

The Land­ing Mo­tocross Park at 7140 Bark­ers Land­ing Road is a mile away from

“What you’re hear­ing is noise. What we’re hear­ing is dreams. What we’re hear­ing is fam­ily, we’re hear­ing friends.” Dan Truitt Sudlersville

Ch­e­sa­peake by Del Webb, the near­est sub­di­vi­sion. Seth Demon­stra­tion State For­est is between the sub­di­vi­sion and the track.

Shane Foxwell of Cam­bridge said he’s been rid­ing at the the Land­ing since the 1990s. “It’s a very im­por­tant thing to me,” Foxwell said. “My best friends, my best times have all been be­cause of the mo­tocross track ... It’s a very fam­ily-based and friend­ship-based thing.”

Foxwell said he closed his busi­ness early to speak at the meet­ing and ex­plain how pas­sion­ate mo­tocross afi­ciona­dos feel about their sport.

The track used to be open four days a week, Foxwell said. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sun­days dur­ing the sea­son that started two weeks ago.

“It’s not that much noise. It’s one day a week,” Foxwell said. It also brings 50 to 100 peo­ple from out­side the area who spend money at restau­rants in Eas­ton, he said.

“Don’t choke it out,” Foxwell said. “There has to be an ex­cep­tion or con­di­tions ... There has to be a happy medium.”

Cole John­son, a ju­nior at St. Michaels Mid­dle High School, stood and read from his lap­top.

John­son said he started rid­ing the Land­ing track last sum­mer and has made new friends since it opened for the sea­son. “The track gives me con­fi­dence both men­tally and phys­i­cally ... I feel like more than just a scrawny kid who goes to school,” he said.

The com­mit­tee con­sid­ered some pro­vi­sions of a “pro­hib­ited acts draft” dur­ing the meet­ing. One of them dealt with off-road ve­hi­cles.

The pro­vi­sion, which con­tains the same word­ing as state law, states that in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine recre­ational ve­hi­cles such as dirt bikes or all ter­rain ve­hi­cles on pri­vate prop­erty could be no closer than “300 feet to a neigh­bor­ing res­i­dence or the as­so­ci­ated cur­tilage (yard), with­out the writ­ten per­mis­sion of the af­fected res­i­dent, un­less it can be demon­strated to an en­force­ment of­fi­cer that the ve­hi­cle can be op­er­ated within the noise lim­its spec­i­fied in (the state’s) Ta­ble 1,” which lim­its en­vi­ron­men­tal noise in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

The pro­vi­sion would not re­strict the use of agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles.

County Plan­ner Mar y Kay Verdery later said the clos­est res­i­dence to the mo­tocross park is a farm­house about 1,700 feet away.

Other riders from out­side the area shared com­ments about the value of the sport and the Eas­ton track. They said it keeps kids busy and out of trou­ble.

Fear­ing the track may close, Sudlersville res­i­dent Dan Truitt and his 11-yearold daugh­ter, a cham­pion quad rider, grew emo­tional as he made a plea to keep the track open.

“I want you guys to un­der­stand what your re­stric­tion will do, what you will take away,” Truitt said. “What you’re hear­ing is noise. What we’re hear­ing is dreams. What we’re hear­ing is fam­ily, we’re hear­ing friends.”

Truitt said he lives 45 min­utes from the Land­ing and the num­ber of mo­tocross tracks in the re­gion has dwin­dled. A res­i­dent who has com­plained about the track at other meet­ings whis­pered, “I won­der why that is.”

When Truitt fin­ished speak­ing, the same res­i­dent said from her seat, “I just would like to ask if any of the peo­ple who have spo­ken in fa­vor of the mo­tocross — if they live within a half-mile of it?” One per­son an­swered that she did.

Ren­nie Gay of Eas­ton Point is on the board of the Bryan Foun­da­tion. He asked rhetor­i­cally, “If peo­ple are go­ing to com­plain about it, why did they buy next to track?”

One Eas­ton res­i­dent said op­po­nents were “not try­ing to put the track out of busi­ness; we only want to mit­i­gate noise so that the track and peo­ple who live around the track can live peace­fully.”

The noise lev­els from the the Land­ing are “ex­cru­ci­at­ingly hor­ri­ble,” one woman said at a Nex­tStep190 public dis­cus­sion on June 28, 2017. She said dirt “comes over the trees,” and the prox­im­ity of the track af­fects prop­erty val­ues.

“With all the farm­land we have in this area, I don’t know why it can’t be sit­ting in the mid­dle of a field,” she said at the dis­cus­sion.

Verdery said she would rather see the “off-road ve­hi­cle” word­ing in the pro­hib­ited act draft changed from “com­bus­tion en­gine-pow­ered recre­ational ve­hi­cle” to a “com­bus­tion en­gine-pow­ered ve­hi­cle used for recre­ational pur­poses.”

Task force mem­ber Allen Bryan, who owns the Land­ing, re­quested clarification and con­sis­tency in ap­ply­ing noise stan­dards. While the state’s day­time and night­time en­vi­ron­men­tal noise lim­its in res­i­den­tial ar­eas is 55 deci­bels, the al­low­able re­ceiv­ing noise level is 55 deci­bels at night and 65 deci­bels dur­ing the day. The com­mit­tee’s work­ing draft lim­its day­time res­i­den­tial noise lev­els to 60 deci­bels.

Be­cause the mo­tocross track is well out­side the 300foot threshold for off-road ve­hi­cles, the pro­hib­ited act pro­vi­sion would not ap­ply.

The task force voted unan­i­mously to rec­om­mend the pro­vi­sion with Verdery’s amend­ment for the draft that will be pre­sented to the Tal­bot County Coun­cil.

Three more Noise Or­di­nance Com­mit­tee meet­ings are sched­uled. Each will be held at 2 p.m. on Thurs­day, May 3; Thurs­day, May 10; and Thurs­day, May 17, in the Wye Oak Room, Tal­bot County Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, 10228 Ocean Gate­way (U.S. Route 50), Eas­ton.


Shane Foxwell of Cam­bridge shares his sup­port for the Land­ing Mo­tocross Track near Eas­ton dur­ing the Tal­bot County noise or­di­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing on Thurs­day, April 26.

St. Michaels Mid­dle High School ju­nior Cole John­son reads from pre­pared notes dur­ing the Noise Or­di­nance Com­mit­tee meet­ing on April 26. John­son ex­plained how dirt biking has built his self­con­fi­dence and friend­ships.

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