March 19, 2013
Taylor track to open in summer
TAYLOR — A motocross track on Potter Hill Road is nearing completion, said owner Bryce Wehner, who has been working over the past few years to make it a reality.
Wehner’s proposed motocross course, Foggy Bottom Raceway, faced much public opposition two years ago when he first announced his plans.
But Wehner is intent on abiding by all the state Department of Environmental Conservation laws and regulations regarding water runoff, and wants to work to lower noise levels if the neighbors are disturbed by the events.
Wehner said Monday his track is close to completion, making the announcement in light of recent news about a motocross track proposed for Truxton by Labrador Mountain owner Eric Wilson.
Wehner says he welcomes the idea.
“There are tracks all around,” Wehner said. “People will go to the one they are comfortable with.”
He mentioned tracks in Moravia, Mexico, Tioga and Lisle that motocross riders frequent.
Wehner hopes to hold a few private practice runs on his track in late May or early June to determine the noise levels. Ultimately he wants the track to host competitive events five to six times a year. In the winter he wants to host vintage snowmobile events.
He would charge admission and says the event would be a boost to the local economy and a good source of wholesome family fun.
“It’s a good, family thing. Moms, dads and kids come,” Wehner said. “It’s a good weekend thing.”
The track needs a final walk-through in the spring by DEC officials to ensure it adheres to rules regarding stormwater runoff, said Wehner.
The approximately 28 acres of property off Potter Hill Road is nestled in the woods and includes about a quarter-mile motocross raceway. Since Taylor has no zoning, Wehner needs only to get the required approvals from the DEC.
Wehner said that has been a lengthy and expensive process, requiring him to hire an environmental engineer to draft a stormwater runoff plan and get DEC approval to move dirt around on the property.
DEC stormwater specialist Ellen Hahn did not return phone calls for comment by press time.
State Health Department approval was also needed for water lines to be run to the area since the track will have to be hosed off between events for dust suppression.
Taylor Supervisor Steven Breneman said Wehner announced his plans to the board about two years ago. Without zoning laws, Wehner did not need to request any approvals from any town board but told the board of his plans anyway.
“We took the stance that it’s pretty much his ground and as long as he stays within the guidelines of the DEC, there’s at this point in time nothing Taylor can do,” Breneman said.
He said it is clear Wehner is going through the proper channels to abide by DEC laws and to try to be a good neighbor.
“I’m a firm believer if you’re paying the taxes and owning the ground you should be able to do what you want, within reason, as long as it’s legal,” Breneman said.
But Breneman acknowledged most of Wehner’s neighbors would not agree with that philosophy.
County Legislator Dave Fuller (R-Cincinnatus, Freetown, Taylor and Willet), who lives on Taylor Valley Road, in the vicinity of the proposed track, said he worries about noise.
Fuller said that on a Saturday night in the nice weather, if he sits on his property he can hear the sound of the racetrack in Blodgett Mills.
“And that’s in Blodgett Mills. I’ll certainly be able to hear the motocross,” said Fuller. He added another concern he has is the heavy traffic the events would draw on back roads.
But Wehner said he has a decibel meter and will monitor the noise levels from various locations once he has his test runs. He said he could put in noise buffering accommodations such as walls or blankets.
“There are multiple things that can reduce sound,” Wehner said.
He said he wants to do all he can to make the project agreeable to neighbors.
“I want to succeed complying with everybody’s concerns,” he said. “I am trying to go over and above, I know there are two sides to this.”
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