Motocross community shows up in support of property owner
Around six months ago, Park City strength and conditioning coach Deacon Andrews started taking some of his clients out to a private motocross track in Wanship.
Andrews, who mostly works with adaptive motocross athletes who have been seriously injured while riding, said the private track provides a more controlled environment than others that are open to the public.
"We have been going up there with a bunch of guys that are in wheelchairs and we even have a female with one leg," Andrews recently testified before the Summit County Council. "All of them were injured riding motocross and it’s nice to have a safe spot to be able to train them.
"It’s so much more than what people see it as," he later said referring to the property. "I mean it would be one thing if it is was causing damage to the community or bringing a negative connotation. Family is my number one thing and I want my family around positive stuff and if it wasn’t positive, we wouldn’t be involved with it. It would be a shame to see something so amazing go."
Wednesday, Andrews, his wife and 17-month old daughter, joined about 50 others from the motocross community to attend the public input portion of the County Council meeting to support Steve Luczak, the owner of the track.
Over the last several weeks, residents along Hoytsville Road have lodged complaints about the track with the Summit County Planning Department. Diane and Lowell Johnson, of Wanship, started a petition asking the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission to reconsider the allowed uses for the property and say they have collected more than 80 signatures. The track, located near 1800 S. Hoytsville Road, sits on the hill above the Weber River and is part of the Sunrise Ridge subdivision, which occupies nearly 150 acres. It has been there since 2014.
Luczak said he attended the meeting to clarify some statements that had recently been made by the Johnsons and others, adding that he also wanted to "show the council how much support is out there."
"We probably had to tell at least a couple hundred people not to come. We have not had any issues with this until the last few weeks," Luczak said. "Since we have started cleaning up the river we have we lifted the bank, started cleaning up trees and we have put a pedestrian bridge in for the fisherman. I have been told the fishing is better now than it has ever been. On our part, I feel like we have tried to enhance our property and not degrade our neighbors’."
The Summit County Engineering Department issued a grading permit to Luczak on Nov. 18, 2014. It expired on May 17, 2015. However, grading work has continued around the property prompting Pat Putt, Summit County Community Development Director, to issue a cease-and-desist order on March 23.
Putt previously told The Park Record that the track is problematic because the subdivision was created through a process that has restricted agriculture-related land uses associated with it.
However, Luczak argues that the track was permitted. He said it has been surveyed and was "fully proposed and labeled as a track when we got the permit." Luczak said he applied for a rural-business license last week and a license to provide training services for mountain biking, fly-fishing, equestrian and motocross, but "was quickly turned down."
"I’m a little upset and a little angry about all of this," Luczak said. "We have spent so much money to get his done and then to have them pull the permit. All they have done is delayed my renewal of the permit that was renewed without a problem from 2009 to 2015."
Luczak said it appears the county is "trying to work with us, but they just don’t understand what is going on over there."
"They are just getting negative emails and negative comments, but they should come see who has been riding and what we are doing to the landscape," Luczak said. "Instead, they haven’t reissued the permit and so we have talked to the state. We are also going to refile for a license and conditional use permit and just keep pushing forward until they do something.
"If I don’t get any response we will keep going to the meetings until we get some action," Luczak said. "They can’t stop me from riding because there is no ordinance that says I can’t so we’ll just have to see what we can get worked out."
Liz McCaffrey, of Park City, said her children, Shayla, 11, and Cruz, 7, have been riding with her husband, Craig, at the track for several years.
"They love going there and it’s a family activity that they do with their dad," McCaffrey said. "Being able to experience the track and all the stuff he (Luczak) includes out there, it’s like a professional track. He puts a lot of work into it and I think it’s a benefit to a lot of kids and families."
Roger Armstrong, Summit County Council chair, said the council is attempting to distance itself from the process because of the potential to become the appellate body if the issue is not settled at a staff level.
"We just don’t know much about it in terms of the legalities involving the planning and zoning issues. We are not aware of much right now," Armstrong.
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