Neighbors complain about motocross track in Wanship
Diane Johnson and her husband, Lowell, moved to Wanship in 2002 to build a home overlooking the Weber River where they could eventually retire. However, the Johnsons said they are now reconsidering their retirement plans because of the noise from a nearby motocross track.
"There is no way we are going to retire here with that motorcycle track still operating," Diane Johnson said. "We contacted a realtor and they said we’ve lost 30 percent of the value on our home because of it. This is beginning to affect us financially and with our retirement. It’s our future."
Johnson and her husband recently went door-to-door in Wanship with a petition asking for a hearing before the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission to reconsider the allowed uses for the property. Johnson said they have collected 82 signatures so far and it "continues to grow."
"It was really kind of amazing because people were really excited to sign it and everyone had a story to tell about how it was impacting them," Johnson said. "It’s a big range of people and it’s not just me as a neighbor."
The motocross track, located near 1800 S. Hoytsville Road, sits on the hill above the Weber River and can be seen from Interstate 80. The property is owned by Steve Luczak, owner of Kodiak America Homes based in Salt Lake City, and is part of the Sunrise Ridge subdivision, which occupies nearly 150 acres.
Pat Putt, Summit County Community Development Director, said the county has received several complaints from neighboring property owners about the motocross activity. Putt said the use is "problematic" because the subdivision was created through a cluster bonus/agricultural process.
He added that the cluster bonus has restricted uses associated with it and the "agriculture parcel was subdivided and developed in exchange for the preservation of the active and productive lands showed on the plat."
"The idea behind that was you get additional lots and additional density by clustering and making the site design more compact for those lots, creating more agricultural space," Putt said. "So the preserved area shall continue to be used solely for agricultural and open space purposes.
"The county is taking the position that a motocross track, private or commercial, is inconsistent with that use restriction," Putt said. "It is not permitted and he (Luczak) has been ordered to cease that.
"We have directed them to cease and desist any further use and operation of that motocross track and to restore and revegetate all of those associated areas," Putt said.
Putt issued a cease-and-desist order on March 23.
In an interview with The Park Record, Luczak said he is preparing to appeal the order. Luczak claims the grading permit he was issued in 2014 allowed for the motocross track to be built for private use. The Summit County Engineering Department issued a grading permit to Luczak on Nov. 18, 2014. It expired on May 17, 2015.
According to Luczak’s description of the project in the permit application, the grading work was to be for "bike trails, new pasture space, landscaping and new utilities to be excavated through the property."
"It’s not a full-out motocross track," Luczak said. "It’s just for our personal riding just like anyone else has up here. We have only had one neighbor who just doesn’t like it. There are no noise issues with it, we try not to do anything before 10 in the morning and we maybe ride once a week. We don’t ride that often over there."
Luczak admitted he has been approached about hosting events there and opening the track up to the public, but has not despite his impression that "a lot of neighbors and people in Coalville would love to see something like this up there."
"I’ve told them that right now it’s just going to be for private riding," Luczak said. "But for a neighbor to tell the other neighbor what they can and can’t do on their property is privacy invasion. We have invested so much into this and we’ve tried to enhance the whole area over there and landscape. We’ve brought in more than 1,000 trees. We are appealing it."
Shannon Marchbanks, a Coalville resident, said he and his 11-and 14-year-old sons use the track about 20 times a year. Marchbanks said he has a small motocross track on his property, but frequently uses Luczak’s track.
"It’s a great place to ride and I’d really hate to see that go away," Marchbanks said. "I think there is a stigma that comes with racing and riding. I mean a chainsaw puts out more decibels than dirt bikes and my tractor kicks up more dust."
Putt said county staff will reach out to Luczak to arrange a meeting and "develop a strategy on how to deal with what’s there."
But Johnson says she just wants the "whole operation to go away."
"People moved here for a specific lifestyle and they moved here for the agriculture," Johnson said. "We have residents that were born and raised here making a living being farmers and ranchers. This is disturbing them. We are here for a lifestyle and this gentleman is not living here. He is here, if you will, for this entertainment."
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