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Motocross on hold


GHENT–Earlier this month the town Zoning Board of Appeals dismissed an application for a permit to hold a motocross event at the 155-acre property that includes the Meadowgreens Golf Course on Route 9H. The ZBA made its decision because the proposed date for the event had already passed.

Although the ZBA didn’t settle the motocross issue, the Town Board is scheduled to consider legislation this week that would clarify town law regarding motorized racing events. If adopted, motorized racing events, including motorcycle racing events with spectators, may become a thing of the past in Ghent.

Members of the ZBA had initially approved the motocross permit despite advice to the contrary from both the town attorney and zoning enforcement officer, granting permission for Ghent resident Michael Autrey to hold a weekend-long motocross event at the site. But the ZBA did not have a quorum at its first meeting.

Mr. Autrey had hoped to attract up to 700 competitors, and up to 300 spectators to the event.

Attorney Jason Shaw said in a brief he prepared for GANN (Ghent Citizens Against Noise Nuisance) that the 55 acre parcel of property is zoned RA-1 or residential agricultural, a zoning use that prohibits motorcycle racing.

Carmen Nero, owner of the golf course and the rest of the property since 2006, said in an interview that he can’t make a profit on golf alone and that the reason he bought the property was to stage events like those the previous owners had run on the property since the 1970s, which included rodeos, winter festivals, concerts, and snowmobile racing.

“If it was noisy, why didn’t they complain in 2003?” he asked. “Mention motocross, and now they want to stop everything.”

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