Motocross track owner files appeal with county
For the last several weeks, Wanship residents haven’t likely heard the howl of motocross bikes reverberating from a nearby track.
Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt issued a cease-and-desist order on March 23 prohibiting riding and since then the property owner, Steve Luczak, has refrained from using his track, which is located near 1800 S. Hoytsville Road. It is part of the Sunrise Ridge subdivision, which occupies nearly 150 acres, and has been there since 2014.
Luczak recently filed an appeal with the Summit County Building Department to refute the Putt’s claim that he cannot operate the track on his property because it violates the approved uses for that subdivision. The appeal is scheduled to go before the Summit County Council on June 1.
"We’re just not using the track right now out of kindness," Luczak said. "But if the hearing doesn’t go well, we will start riding right away."
Several weeks ago, the county began receiving complaints from neighboring property owners about the motocross activity. That, coupled with the expiration of Luczak’s grading permit, led to the cease-and-desist order.
Luczak has claimed the grading permit issued on Nov. 18, 2014 allowed a motocross track to be built for private use. It expired on May 17, 2015.
"They don’t have the authority," Luczak said. "There is nothing in their ordinance that says we have done anything wrong. We went through all the correct procedures that they made us run through in the permitting process and they fully knew that it was a track that we got a permit for.
"If they indeed make us shut it down, it goes against the Fifth Amendment," he added.
The grading permit issued for Luczak’s property was continuously renewed over the last several years, with the assistance of staff in the engineering department, he said.
"They have no right to do that. They are saying you are not supposed to be able to file for an extension and I said that is BS because we have filed since 2009 all the way through 2015 on the lower track."
Luczak said a former employee with the engineering department developed the habit of reaching out to him whenever the permit was set to expire.
"Every city I have worked with will call and say ‘you need to renew or finish up’ because they only give you 180 days and you can’t do this project in 180 days," he said.
Last month, nearly 50 people from the motocross community attended a County Council meeting to support the motocross operations. At the time, council members refrained from commenting on the issue because of the likelihood of an appeal.
Luczak said he likely won’t be able to provide input during the appeal hearing, adding that "there isn’t a whole lot that I can do to prepare." He said he adamantly believes he is operating within the county’s guidelines. If the decision is not reversed, Luczak plans to appeal the decision to take the matter to court.
While most activity on the property has been suspended, Luczak said he is still working on an equestrian and mountain bike area. He is also planning to start seeding the larger pasture areas next week.
"If they shut me down from riding my motorcycles on there that means every farmer and rancher will be illegally riding their motorcycles and four-wheelers on their property," Luczak said.
Since he filed the appeal, Luczak said he has been inundated with calls from ranchers and farmers who are concerned about how a decision on the motocross track will impact their operations.
"They are just as upset about the county’s action as we are," Luczak said. "The thing is most of the County Council is from Park City. It’s two different worlds, Park City and the East Side. On the East Side they recreate all over their properties, but they get these people that move in that try to change the rural way of life and that is basically being able to do whatever you want to do on your property.
"This is about property rights. We’ll take it all the way to the state level if we have to," he said. "The track is not going away so I will fight it as high up as I have to."
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Some parts of the project might be pushed until next spring, like paving the trails.