Tuesday, April 1, 2008 • Motocross park may close or noise monitoring may end

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, April 1, 2008, edition of the Lassen County Times.

A judge may order closure of the Honey Lake Motocross Park, an end to noise monitoring or some compromise.

A neighbor’s 2003 lawsuit over noise from weekend motocross races resulted in visiting Superior Court Judge Guy Martin Young requiring noise monitoring at every motocross race at the park.

Motocross Park owners Larry and Lise Wosick brought the issue back to court earlier this month with a motion to terminate noise monitoring, according to Lassen County Counsel R. Craig Settlemire.

At the same time, the Wosick’s neighbors, Richard and Mary Morgan, who formed Citizens for a Healthy Rural Environment, filed a motion asking the court to shut down the motocross park.

The Morgan’s motion pointed out four years of noise monitoring did pick up some instances of sound exceeding the limits in the county noise element, the county counsel said at the Board of Supervisors March 18 meeting.

At a three-hour hearing on Friday, March 14 in Lassen County Superior Court, visiting Judge John Darlington, of Nevada County, promised to rule on the motions by the middle of April, sooner if he can, Settlemire said.

In the meantime, the Wosicks agreed to pay for noise monitoring by Wilson, Ihrig and Associates at the motocross races Saturday and Sunday, March 29 and 30.

The county’s contract with Wilson Ihrig sets the cost of monitoring at $4,600 for one person to monitor a two-day race, $6,800 for a two-person team to monitor a two-day event and $8,200 for a two-person team to monitor a three-day event.

The Wosicks paid $4,600 in advance for the races last weekend, Settlemire said. He added the monitoring in late March cost $100 more than previous events, according to the event-by-event contract, which the county may cancel by giving 10-days notice.

If Darlington’s ruling allows noise monitoring to end, Settlemire said the county may cancel the noise-monitoring contract before the next race set for Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

The Wosicks disputed the amount the county paid for past noise monitoring, but signed a settlement agreement with Lassen County Monday, Oct. 15, 2007, agreeing to pay $105,500 of the costs from the previous four years. Settlemire said the couple has paid the balance.

Treasurer Richard Egan said the county paid more than $175,000 for four years of monitoring.

The court ordered the noise monitoring instead of requiring the environmental impact report the Morgans requested.

The court issued the order after experts for the Morgans claimed motocross races consistently exceed the noise limits allowed in the county general plan. Experts for the Wosicks claimed traffic on Highway 395 and a barking dog made more noise than the motocross races.

To make sure the motocross park operates without constituting a nuisance, Young ordered the Wosicks to monitor decibel levels and stay within the sound guidelines in the general plan.