Residents debate noise from ATVs

by Bob Gaetjens | editor Published:

About 40 residents on both sides of a debate regarding the future of all-terrain vehicles shared their thoughts with the Planning and Zoning Commission April 8.

Resident Steve Kachenko was the first of several residents who objected to a set of regulations restricting use of "motorized vehicles" in rural residential areas.

"The way it's [proposed] now, I can't mow my grass unless I get permission," he said, explaining his mower creates about 90 decibels of noise, while the limit according to the proposed zoning change would be 65 decibels.

The Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the proposed zoning change for further discussion.

Among other things, the proposed changes would set a 30-acre minimum property size for recreational motorized vehicle use, prohibit operation of motorized recreational vehicles outside the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and prohibit dust from affecting neighboring properties.

Planning Director John Cieszkowski Jr. said he drafted the regulations trying to find a middle ground between those who don't want regulations over when and where they can ride recreational motorized vehicles and residents who are bothered by the noise and dust from them.

The regulations were proposed after complaints from some neighbors about Deizic's property.

Ferguson Road resident George Greenlee said noise from motorized vehicles at his neighbor John Deizic's property is excessive.

"I've got to crank my TV all the up to be heard," he said. "That four-banger he uses can be heard from 1,000 feet away."

Deizic said he's not the only property where ATV riders make noise, adding that he's taken steps to control the noise from his property.

"With my sound device, we've never gone above 70 [decibels]," he said. "It's only me and my son; we don't let anyone else ride there."

Deizic also said he doesn't ride when he thinks it would create a lot of dust.

Ferguson Road resident George Lear said complained multiple times about the noise.

"This track was put in two or three years ago 60 feet off my property line and within 15 to 20 feet of wetlands," he said. "There needs to be consideration of the environmental impact of this track."

City Council member Jeff Allen said he believes Deizic should be required to obtain a grade and fill permit for the track to keep the track.

Hale Drive resident Kevin Miller said "to try to ban everyone's activity that they do for leisure or fun, I think is outrageous."

Commission member Chuck Kocisko said he would prefer not to add more regulations on citizens' use of their properties.

"Like Mr. Allen has said repeatedly, maybe we ought to look at what's been done, whether its illegal," he said. "I would rather us look in that direction before we start implementing new rules and regulations."

Deizic said he would work with the city administration to try to find a solution to satisfy his neighbors.

"My kids don't do drugs; they just want to ride and play," he said. "Everybody else in the city shouldn't be punished because of me."

Cieszkowski said the proposed change wouldn't affect Deizic because his use would be grandfathered in under existing rules governing motorized vehicle use.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Tom Horsfall said the proposed zoning code change merits further consideration.

"I think it's admirable on the part of Mr. Deizic that he's willing to work with the neighborhood and the city," said Horsfall. "It sounds like we have not pinpointed the source of the noise."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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