Motocross enthusiasts tout benefits of local track
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.