The Mat-Su Borough Assembly has pushed back discussing racetrack regulations until April.
Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014 5:00 pm
Borough assembly postpones racetrack regulation changes
PALMER — After the mayor resurrected changes to the Mat-Su Borough’s racetrack regulations, assembly members decided they need more time before deciding whether to pass them.
The changes died at the assembly’s Feb. 4 meeting when the group decided to table the regulations indefinitely. Saying he didn’t think the changes received a proper hearing, Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss issued a veto overturning that decision.
With that revival of the ordinance came a lot more testimony from area racers.
“If you are practicing for an event more than seven days a year, your property is considered a racetrack,” Andy Anderson testified.
However, that’s not what the borough planning department reads the ordinance as saying.
“As long as races are not being held on that private property, then you can practice all day long if you wanted to,” planner Alex Strawn said.
But, pointed out assemblyman Darcie Salmon, who’s to say what a race is?
“If Andy has five or six friends that have a habit of coming out every weekend and running their dirt bikes, then it would be facetious to say that they’re not racing,” Salmon said.
The assembly wants to see a fix for this included among the raft of changes to the ordinance when they are brought back to the assembly at its April 1 meeting.
On the other side, a resident within earshot of a Butte racetrack said he was opposed to any changes in the decibel levels a racetrack is obliged to stay under during races. The ordinance changes include adjustments to those decibel levels that would let tracks make more noise.
Earl Lackey, owner of that Butte track, said that the ordinance currently in place was passed without enough thought for what it would do.
“That was put together in haste to control the noise of a racetrack in the core area of the borough,” he said. “Let’s put our heads together and address all sports in the borough, not the just the few that make noise at your meeting.”
Assemblyman Steve Colligan argued for making the code clearer, so people are sure their backyard tracks or ice races on Big Lake are OK under borough rules.
“I ran for this assembly because of this stupid thing having to do with noise ordinances having to do with model rockets, model airplanes,” said Colligan, himself a model plane enthusiast.
He said the borough should communicate with user groups rather than eating up valuable staff time crafting legislation as an avenue to deal with complaints.
Assemblyman Ron Arvin, who eventually made the unanimously passed motion to postpone the regulation changes until April, told Strawn and the rest of the borough’s planners that they did a good job.
“The public reached out to you,” Arvin said. “You gave a pretty hearty attempt at trying to add some clarity. I think it just needs a little bit more work to bring it back to primetime.”
Contact Andrew Wellner at 352-2270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 21, 2014 5:00 pm.