East Side motocross track on the line
May 31, 2016
The temporary silence that fell on Hoytsville Road during the last two months was broken over the weekend when the familiar hum of motocross bikes returned.
For several weeks, property owner Steve Luczak said the motocross track that sits on his property was not used "out of kindness" while an appeal he had filed based on zoning rules was processed. However, he admitted riders used it over the weekend.
"We rode all day Saturday and Monday," Luczak said.
The track, located near 1800 S. Hoytsville Road, has been a point of contention with neighboring property owners who claim the motocross activity is not permitted. A formal appeal was filed with Summit County on March 16, which prompted Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt to issue a cease-and-desist order prohibiting riding.
Luczak filed an appeal with the Summit County Building Department to refute Putt’s claim that he cannot operate the track on his property because it violates the approved uses for the Sunrise Ridge subdivision. Putt has said the use is problematic because of zoning restrictions at the site. Luczak has claimed a grading permit issued on Nov. 18, 2014 allowed the motocross track to be built for private use.
The issue is scheduled for a 90-minute presentation at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, at the Sheldon Richins Building before Summit County Council members. The item is listed for discussion and possible action.
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Luczak has adamantly stated that he is operating the track within the county’s guidelines and plans to challenge any negative decision in court.
"I’m confident we did everything the right way and we did it the way we were told to do it," Luczak said. "They have nothing showing us that we have done anything wrong."
According to a Planning Department report, the allowed uses for the subdivision are restricted to agriculture and low-impact activities, which the report indicates would not include a motocross track.
The staff report further claims the property is being used for commercial events and included several screenshots of advertisements that can be found on the internet. It also included a petition asking for a public hearing about a "commercial motorcycle track" that neighbors circulated. It contains more than 80 signatures.
Terry Fritz, who lives in Hoytsville and owns property that borders Luczak’s, said having a large, commercial track next to his property is diminishing his homes’ value.
"Is my investment now at risk?" Fritz asked. "The government has to set guidelines based on the best interest of those in the community and we in the community want this restored back to agriculture use. He knew what was allowed there before he purchased that property. In my opinion, he is a privileged man who is asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission."
However, Luczak said the claims of commercial operations at the site are "bogus" and unfounded. He said the track has not been used for any events and no money has been exchanged for use of the property.
"We have had people taking video when they are riding, but we have not exchanged any funds for anything," Luczak said. "What has happened up there is no different than when people go to the McPolin Barn in Park City and take pictures.
"No one wants to get any money," he said. "When someone has contacted us to do an event up there we have told them they have to go through the county. It’s beyond our control. Right now it is 100 percent private and will continue to be that way unless the county allows an event to come in. All we are fighting for is our rights to be able to enjoy our own private property."
Nearly 50 people from the motocross community attended a recent County Council meeting to support operations. At the time, County Council members refrained from commenting on the issue because of the likelihood of an appeal.
County Councilor Roger Armstrong said members have "gone out of our way" to disengage themselves from the conversation because of the appeal process.
Armstrong said he anticipates sifting through a significant amount of information and commentary during the discussion, adding that a decision could be delayed.
"It sounds like we will receive a lot of material and I don’t know if, at this point, it is straightforward or if we need to see more evidence," Armstrong said. "Not knowing what will be presented by both sides, it wouldn’t be right for me to even try and guess what will happen. I have no idea what way I am leaning because I’m not leaning any way until we hear from everyone."
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