Stonelick residents upset about planned race track

Stonelick Township residents living near the Jackson Township border and patrons of the Cedar Trace Golf Course are fuming over what could be a speedy proposition for those who like to go fast.

The Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati, which is being constructed just inside the Jackson Township line on state Route 50, will feature a .64 mile state-of-the-art track for racing karts, a high-octane version of the go karts that are commonly found in backyards around the county.

However, neighbors of the new complex are less than thrilled at the prospect of what they see as a pollutant to their neighborhood.

“The thing about the track is it’s located just over the Jackson Township line,” said nearby resident Mary Lucas. “We live in Stonelick Township just by the line. We live beside Cedar Trace Golf Course, and they are very upset about it. They want a nice, quiet, pleasant golf course, and now they will have a race track beside it, it’s adjoining. It will only be a third of a mile from us.”

Lucas said that a petition was circulated by her and representatives of the golf course to put a stop to the construction of the private club, which they said would cause noise pollution. Lucas said they obtained a couple dozen signatures on the petition.

“Mainly, we’re concerned about possible devaluation of property because of the noise,” said Lucas. “There will be pollution, and we don’t like the idea of it. This petition says we feel it’s not appropriate or desirable. There would be excess noise from the engines, every day, all day until dark – we were told it would be until 9 p.m. It would disturb the peaceful atmosphere, which is part of the reason we live here. It’s disturbing the wildlife we enjoy. It will disturb people playing golf and pollute the air from the exhaust.”

However, as construction speeds along on the new facility, the outlook for opponents is falling farther and farther behind. Paul Werring, a Jackson Township Trustee, said that there is little argument to be made against the facility, as it is a permitted use according to their zoning resolution.

“Certainly, people have a right to contest anything in court, and that would be about the only process I know of,” said Werring. “We’ve only had one complaint. There is a golf course nearby and I know they had concerns, but that’s the only one I’ve heard of. This is recreational, it’s a permitted use. They have to get a zoning permit, but they don’t have to go through the hearing process.”

Bruce Privett, Zoning Administrator for Jackson Township, said that the project began in the spring after it was determined that the usage was allowed by the township.

“This is a private club, and in agricultural districts, private clubs are permitted,” said Privett. “Once they found out the zoning was there for them, they moved forward with their plans. As long as it’s private, our zoning resolution says it’s permitted and doesn’t favor one over another. We certainly can’t tell them how to use their land. It fits within the parameters of what the resolution reads.”

Privett said that is within the rights of the golf course ownership or any private resident to contest the motorsports club, but said that he was confident in the interpretation of the zoning code to allow the use. The board of zoning appeals would hear the issue, he said, should anyone contest it. If that fails to satisfy the contestants, he added, then the next step would be legal action in the court of common pleas.

“As far as the township is concerned, it’s a permitted use, but it’s within everybody’s right to contest that,” said Privett.

Privett added that the developers of the property have expressed a degree of concern over being “good neighbors” by agreeing to keep noise and other side effects of the club to a minimum. Nobody from the club could be reached for comment.

“There will be no lights, they only plan to operate in daylight hours,” said Privett. “They seem concerned about how people around them are going to act. This is what they tell me. They say that they aren’t going to permit people to run without a muffler. It’s small go karts. I just know what they tell me.”