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Morganton, NC - A crowd of about 200 people packed the Burke County Board of Commissioners' meeting room Tuesday for a long debate about the use of all-terrain vehicles and motocross bikes in the county.
The debate centered on a proposed zoning ordinance to define and regulate private tracks for ATV and motocross use. Nothing was resolved and the commissioners referred the ordinance back to the Planning Board. However, some people's passionate statements made it clear that the issue won't go away quietly.
"If you pass this ordinance," Dr. Mark McManus of 2577 Conley Road told the commissioners, "and Sheriff McDevitt comes out here, he'd better bring his ticket book. I'm not stopping."
According to Susan Berley, the county's planning director, the Code Enforcement Division in the past several months has dealt with a number of cases involving motocross tracks ("motocross" is motorcycle or ATV racing on off-road, closed-circuit tracks).
One complaint involves a track Jody Coffey built on his property at 5716 Mortimer Road in the Jonas Ridge area. Another involves Chris Miles' property at 4900 Mineral Springs Mountain Ave. near Valdese.
Coffey said he built his track for recreational use by his friends and family, including two young children. It's on two acres of his 10-acre property. He doesn't charge any money for its use, there's no formal competition and it's not used for training.
"It's pure, clean fun and excitement," he said.
However, he continued, if he has to have the property rezoned to comply with the proposed ordinance, his costs will begin with a $500 permit.
"I work for the county," said Coffey, a school resource officer employed by the Burke County Sheriff's Office. "I can't afford that."
Coffey said his track is approximately 300 yards from his neighbors, Susan and Norman Woodie of 3660 Jonas Ridge Road.
That's not far enough, said the Woodies, because the riders produce dust, fumes and, especially, noise that engulfs their property.
"How far away do you have to go for peace of mind?" Susan Woodie asked. She said, contrary to Coffey's description, the track attracts riders from a wide area and they race at all times of the day.
"It's not just a few kids," she said. "Ninety percent of the time it's adults."
Norman Woodie said he, personally, has no difficulty with kids riding a few motocross bikes for personal recreation.
"This is a track," he insisted.
And, he said, it's ruining property values. Norman estimates his property someday, when real-estate prices improve, could be worth a million dollars.
"With a racetrack beside it," he declared, "it's worth nothing — maybe $50,000."
And that sums up the essence of Tuesday's debate.
As Berley explained, the Planning Board is trying to find a definition of a private off-road track that falls somewhere along a continuum between a private land owner's recreational use of a few ATVs or motocross bikes and a commercial track such as Steel Creek's GNCC course.
Many of Tuesday's speakers felt the proposed ordinance cut too close to their own situations.
For example, the proposed ordinance limits the number of riders to no more than five at one time. Several people said they have more than that in their families, let alone their friends who also ride.
The ordinance also says a track must be on a property of no less than 10 acres. Several said they own smaller properties and have never had complaints from their neighbors.
Many insisted their sport is just a recreational hobby and shouldn't be regulated at all.
"This is about private property," said Miles. He said he moved to Burke County specifically because he wanted land on which he could build a track where his daughters, who are competitive racers, could practice.
Talking about the bikes' noise, Miles said, "Chain saws are louder. Are we going to regulate them as well. I don't think we need any more restrictions" on what people do on their private property.
Many agreed, applauding Miles and other speakers who pleaded for fewer government regulations.
But other property owners insisted they have rights, too.
Mike Puett of 9696 Highway 181 said he lives in the Jonas Ridge area because "you all know that's God's country." The noise and dust from race tracks will destroy the area's appeal and property values, he warned.
Fay McFetridge of 1184 Belvidere Lane, who lives about 1,100 feet from a track north of Morganton, said the dust and noise has diminished the value of life in their neighborhood.
"Why should anybody have to put up with it?" she asked. "Why give them legal permit to disturb the peace?"
The answer, according to several speakers, is that motocross rising is a recreational sport that a whole family, kids as well as adults, can enjoy. Several, including some professional riders based in Burke County, said they grew up racing and, as a result, never got into drugs or bad behavior. Others talked about the pleasure they get from being outdoors together.
One person who didn't sign up to speak, but who joined the discussion at the invitation of the commissioners' attorney, Redmond Dill, was Willie Bradshaw, owner of Fun Cycles in Valdese.
Bradshaw said he believes it's possible to reach compromises that respect both sides.
"For example, the noise can be controlled. In fact, it could be regulated under existing laws the state of North Carolina currently does not enforce.
Berley suggested, and the commissioners agreed, that the ordinance needs more work. After board secretary Doris Smith types up all of the comments and circulates copies to the Planning Board and the commissioners, the two groups will have a joint session at 8 a.m. Dec. 8 in the commissioners' meeting room where they will discuss how to proceed.
 

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That sounds more like a county issue with some state guidelines added in. oh well I'm still riding...lol
 

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It would take more than that to get me to stop.
 

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They can kiss it. I'm riding.
 

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I am riding too. Oh well i guess i just have to make more trails i can hide in and supe up my ride so it goes faster in order for me to out run the po po.
 

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Morganton, NC - A crowd of about 200 people packed the Burke County Board of Commissioners' meeting room Tuesday for a long debate about the use of all-terrain vehicles and motocross bikes in the county.
The debate centered on a proposed zoning ordinance to define and regulate private tracks for ATV and motocross use. Nothing was resolved and the commissioners referred the ordinance back to the Planning Board. However, some people's passionate statements made it clear that the issue won't go away quietly.
"If you pass this ordinance," Dr. Mark McManus of 2577 Conley Road told the commissioners, "and Sheriff McDevitt comes out here, he'd better bring his ticket book. I'm not stopping."
According to Susan Berley, the county's planning director, the Code Enforcement Division in the past several months has dealt with a number of cases involving motocross tracks ("motocross" is motorcycle or ATV racing on off-road, closed-circuit tracks).
One complaint involves a track Jody Coffey built on his property at 5716 Mortimer Road in the Jonas Ridge area. Another involves Chris Miles' property at 4900 Mineral Springs Mountain Ave. near Valdese.
Coffey said he built his track for recreational use by his friends and family, including two young children. It's on two acres of his 10-acre property. He doesn't charge any money for its use, there's no formal competition and it's not used for training.
"It's pure, clean fun and excitement," he said.
However, he continued, if he has to have the property rezoned to comply with the proposed ordinance, his costs will begin with a $500 permit.
"I work for the county," said Coffey, a school resource officer employed by the Burke County Sheriff's Office. "I can't afford that."
Coffey said his track is approximately 300 yards from his neighbors, Susan and Norman Woodie of 3660 Jonas Ridge Road.
That's not far enough, said the Woodies, because the riders produce dust, fumes and, especially, noise that engulfs their property.
"How far away do you have to go for peace of mind?" Susan Woodie asked. She said, contrary to Coffey's description, the track attracts riders from a wide area and they race at all times of the day.
"It's not just a few kids," she said. "Ninety percent of the time it's adults."
Norman Woodie said he, personally, has no difficulty with kids riding a few motocross bikes for personal recreation.
"This is a track," he insisted.
And, he said, it's ruining property values. Norman estimates his property someday, when real-estate prices improve, could be worth a million dollars.
"With a racetrack beside it," he declared, "it's worth nothing — maybe $50,000."
And that sums up the essence of Tuesday's debate.
As Berley explained, the Planning Board is trying to find a definition of a private off-road track that falls somewhere along a continuum between a private land owner's recreational use of a few ATVs or motocross bikes and a commercial track such as Steel Creek's GNCC course.
Many of Tuesday's speakers felt the proposed ordinance cut too close to their own situations.
For example, the proposed ordinance limits the number of riders to no more than five at one time. Several people said they have more than that in their families, let alone their friends who also ride.
The ordinance also says a track must be on a property of no less than 10 acres. Several said they own smaller properties and have never had complaints from their neighbors.
Many insisted their sport is just a recreational hobby and shouldn't be regulated at all.
"This is about private property," said Miles. He said he moved to Burke County specifically because he wanted land on which he could build a track where his daughters, who are competitive racers, could practice.
Talking about the bikes' noise, Miles said, "Chain saws are louder. Are we going to regulate them as well. I don't think we need any more restrictions" on what people do on their private property.
Many agreed, applauding Miles and other speakers who pleaded for fewer government regulations.
But other property owners insisted they have rights, too.
Mike Puett of 9696 Highway 181 said he lives in the Jonas Ridge area because "you all know that's God's country." The noise and dust from race tracks will destroy the area's appeal and property values, he warned.
Fay McFetridge of 1184 Belvidere Lane, who lives about 1,100 feet from a track north of Morganton, said the dust and noise has diminished the value of life in their neighborhood.
"Why should anybody have to put up with it?" she asked. "Why give them legal permit to disturb the peace?"
The answer, according to several speakers, is that motocross rising is a recreational sport that a whole family, kids as well as adults, can enjoy. Several, including some professional riders based in Burke County, said they grew up racing and, as a result, never got into drugs or bad behavior. Others talked about the pleasure they get from being outdoors together.
One person who didn't sign up to speak, but who joined the discussion at the invitation of the commissioners' attorney, Redmond Dill, was Willie Bradshaw, owner of Fun Cycles in Valdese.
Bradshaw said he believes it's possible to reach compromises that respect both sides.
"For example, the noise can be controlled. In fact, it could be regulated under existing laws the state of North Carolina currently does not enforce.
Berley suggested, and the commissioners agreed, that the ordinance needs more work. After board secretary Doris Smith types up all of the comments and circulates copies to the Planning Board and the commissioners, the two groups will have a joint session at 8 a.m. Dec. 8 in the commissioners' meeting room where they will discuss how to proceed.
that is stupid. i deal with those same issues where i live and im getting sick of people saying that what i do on my property brings the value of their property down. well, like i told my county board as well as my neighbors, until they cut down on the number of drunk drivers and drug dealers in the area, they can kiss my exhaust pipe!!! im riding till i cant ride any more!!!:r_c:
 

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I hate to say this in this crowd, but I tend to side with the ones complaining. The argument that chainsaws are louder is weak. People don't bring 20 chainsaws and run them all day long, every day.

Now, assuming that it's more than just a few riders and there are people coming and going all the time, then I think they have a legitimate beef, and this is exactly why homeowners associations or zoning regulations were created.

The owner of the property said it himself....he doesn't charge for people to use it....which suggests right there that it's being used for more than his own families use.

If I bought a piece of land that had no regulations on what I could ride, and I bought it with the intention to set up a track, then I'd gauge the neighborhood, set up my track and then either try to be considerate of those around me, or, I'd tell them ones who were being jagoffs to go pack sand. However, the second someone other than my family starts using it on a regular basis, that goes beyond what I personally would be willing to allow, and when it starts causing problem in the neighborhood then I am at fault.
 

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i have to dissagree that is stupid i get the cops call for rideing in my yard by or neighbors who care i will ride it i cant ride ant more
 

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There is likely much information here not being seen. But, I'll say it again. If it's just you and your family, and it's not against regulations, then tough, sux for those who don't like it.

If it's not just you and your family and you are allowing it to disturb the neighborhood, then you [the person allowing it] are being a wanker. :)

10 acres? In other words, a subdivision. This isn't a farm or a large tract seperating you and your neighbors. It's a subdivision.

ADDED: I will also suggest that the reason we have all so many regulations, zonings, homeowners associations currently is because people didn't use common sense, and likely, common courtesy and did things that caused problems for everyone around them to the point that there had to be something done to try to prevent jagoffs from being jagoffs. ;)
 

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heck with the town do it any way the cop get called us for rideing in or yard by or neighbors and he just waves and goes on by
 

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Same here but I rarely see the 5-0 around much a deputy lives across the street and we ride right by his house nothing is ever said. I guess we are fortunate.
 

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I don't mind people riding at all.As long as they stay off the roads.We have about 5-3 mile ways to get to my house.And Right beside us is an old sand quarry.Well people have been riding here for years but now that a couple people live here it has to change.They ride up and down the roads,burn donuts(drawing there I-Q),drag race,and other things.But the township is trying to keep the roads nice and all of this just tears the gravel back off and throws it in the ditch.I like to ride but even I have had to chase people off or have a talk with them using a few choice words.Sometimes we've even caught people driving out of our fields.It's when people like this ride that atv's and dirtbikes get a bad name.
 

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Glad someone else does.
 

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Its not so bad if someone rides on the shoulder of the road to get to a place to ride. I am guilty of going up the main road to get to a place to ride but I don't act the fool and run all over the road. And when it comes a snow witch doesn't happen but once or twice a year I will ride up the road to my neighbors house.
 

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Well people think that just because there is that much dirt road up here they have free range of the place.I've seen and heard of people around here riding for 20 miles on main roads.Thats just stupid to do.
 

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Yeah it's just dumb.If you wrecked on a paved road goin that fast just imagine the damage to your quad and to you that would cause.
 
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