The quote below is from the introduction to a review of the relationships between motocross tracks and their neighbours and local government agencies. The quote below is from the introduction to reviews of the histories of eight existing or proposed motocross tracks in America.
At the Oct 21 Conditional Use Hearing regarding the Thomas Conditional Use proposal for motocross/camping in rural Clackamas County, testimony was given in support of the proposal based on claims that motocross was “family friendly”. A man stated that Washougal MX had expensive homes in the vicinity of the MX tracks and that local residents and the commercial MX business had happy relationships.
Extensive research into the functioning and relationships multiple MX facilities, whether permitted or unpermitted, have with their neighbors and with their County planning departments proves conclusively that it is totally false to claim motocross events can happily co-exist with residential areas.
Every case I researched, including Washougal MX, proved that residents within earshot of MX tracks are miserable and that they consider motocross a serious nuisance which steals their quality of life and degrades and pollutes land. Counties have extra work loads to enforce MX code infractions and have ongoing struggles related to traffic, crowd control, noise, and regulating environmental damage. Local police and emergency services are impacted as well.
Any claims that the proposed Adare motocross track will be family oriented don’t take into account the impacts on families among the 900+ people living in the vicinity of the track.
It’s worth noting the mention of impacts on police and emergency services as well. That has also been the experience with the Black Duck Valley and the Wyaralong tracks in Southeast Queensland.
Noise as an Amenity Impact
There’s a nice quote from a county examiner (sort of like our LVRC Assessment Manager) in relation to noise [LVRC please note]:
pg. 24 item h. iii: “Even when the noise does not drown out conversation or disturb people sleeping or exceed 57 dbA, it increases the noise levels frequently enough and in amounts and for a duration that is enough to detract from the character of the area as rural residential. The examiner finds that such an impact is significantly detrimental to people nearest the site.”
Noise issues are NOT just about loudness as measured in decibels! They are about loss of rural/natural amenity, and about stress and anxiety caused by ongoing, long-term exposure to noise which is not part of the local environment.
Loudness Requirements Can Stop Motocross
But, in terms of loudness of MX noise, the article quotes a complaint that: … imposed sound limitations that are so restrictive they effectively deny the permit application.”
As if the fact that MX operations can’t comply with mandated noise limits is somehow the fault of the legislators, or is a direct attack on MX as a business, instead of being a standard of what is reasonable noise in a particular environment.
Emu Creek track in the Tenterfield Council area is one example. After a lot of time, court cases and expense the Tenterfield Council imposed noise and operating time limits on the motocross activities at Emu Creek, which they claim they could not meet from a business point of view. They are still in business and seem to have moved to mountain bike and Bicycle MX activities to replace the motocross element of their custom.
It’s also worth noting that in the case of the Emu Creek motocross, Tenterfield Council monitored maximum noise levels [L(A)max], rather than averaged noise levels over a (usually long) period [L(A)eq], because they said it was more objective when long-term, long period noise was considered. The Adare proponent’s Noise Study uses averaged noise levels, which always appear more favourable to the proponent’s case.
Costs to Council for Ongoing Compliance Action
The case studies refer to costs to all parties for the application (including appeals) procedures and for ongoing compliance. In our own area, the Emu Creek case mentioned above is said to have cost the Tenterfield Council in excess of $66,000 for compliance monitoring and court costs before it stopped the noise nuisance.