News came from the Clark County Board of County Commissioners today that I was among the group appointed to the Sandy Valley Citizens Advisory Council at their meeting on Monday.
The opportunity to take my turn serving the community and giving something back is welcomed. Next week at our first meeting one of the issues that will be raised is the upcoming hearing (PDF) where the Sandy Valley Motor Cross track in San Bernardino County California, will be applying for changes to their use permit in order to change the number of spectators allowed, permit the use of lights and change the permitted operating hours. The hearing has been continued for a date on February 10.
This would likely not be a big issue at all. However, there is of course history. When the permits were granted they limited several factors related to the track. By the summer of 2004 the proprietor of the track had laid aside many of the provisions and operated outside the permitted hours, ran lights late into the night and ran afoul of the local community. Of course they did not run afoul of all of the community, but to some who took offense at the light pollution created by the track and raised other issues. By the end of the summer the lights were off, days were limited to the permitted days and the war of words was begun. The Sagebrush (now renamed the Sandy Valley News) had a series of letters to the editor. Pro and con the various sides weighed in.
Today's arrival of this month's newspaper brings the latest salvo in the war of words.
Letter to the Editor,
Hello Sandy Valley. My name is Kit Stokes. My business partner & colleague Clark and I are the Owners & Operators [sic] of Sandy Valley Motocross. We would like to make a public apology to those who were offended for running our temporary lighting past acceptable hours. Like many other members of the Sandy Valley Community[sic], we have moved here to be away from the hustle, bustle and high land prices of the Las Vegas Valley. The desolate surrounding of this Valley make it ideal for 2 private airports [whom we have no problems with] along with the farming community, and the newest addition, Our Motocross track. ALL SANDY VALLEY RESIDENTS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON, WE MOVED TO SANDY VALLEY TO DO WHAT WE WANT WITHOUT OUR NEIGHBORS PEEKING OVER OUR WALLS! Sandy Valley Motocross (which could have been named something else, yet, we decided to include the community in our business name) is about keeping deserts clean and providing onsite medical help to riders in need. For the record, SVMX has one of the lowest injury rates among Southwestern US tracks.
The complaints lodged against us will be answered below.
1st - The lighting
The lighting was provided to our riders for a more customer friendly atmosphere to get our riders out of the unbearable summer heat (any business owner would have done the same thing if they were in our financial situation). The lighting was temporary (hand cranking, generator powered jobsite lights) and was not approved by San Bernardino county in our use permit, which is why the night lights were shut off. We left the lights on late so that we could groom the track in good weather with moist dirt. Any dirt worker knows how impossible it is to to work in this Valley when it is 115 degrees! HAND ANY OF THE COMPLAINTS BEEN EXPRESSED TO US, THE SITUATION WOULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED! But nobody had come up to our gates (or emailed me) and told us that the light bothered them. Our close by neighbors (all over a mile away, had no complaints). One complaining citizen afterwards actually had the audacity to ask us to clean off their runways with our water truck! After turn us in to the county when they could have just told us that he lights were bothering them. We were even accused of chasing the Coyotes[sic] and rabbits out (an airplane field wouldn't do that though, rabbits and coyotes just love a huge strip of asphalt with airplanes running through their native habitat). You can imagine what i thought of that. We went through several expensive months working with a California State Biologist who deemed our site was as an environmentally friendly area to build a motocross Facility.[sic] We also had no idea we were not allowed to turn on lights on our own property without pulling permits. I am sure that everyone in Sandy Valley has pulled all of their proper permits. Maybe, the 2 county building inspectors might need to verify this... Apparently our lights were too bright, but I can see a set of car headlights coming down Table Mountain clear as day when it is pitch black outside.
2nd - Noise
Like fore mentioned, we are over a mile from anyone, yes noise does carry, but all bikes run at SVMX with silencers and the noise is very minimal, especially at great distances. I am sure everyone can hear the Dogs over at Noah's Ark animal sanctuary, the generators humming all night that run the sod farm pumps, and the airports to the north and south of our track. Who cares? We don't, for all we care, the airplanes can do loop the loops over our property. I would think it was entertaining. The sod farms... they need to keep their crops alive, which means running pumps constantly. Noah's Ark... Here is a woman trying to keep animals alive by providing an area where they can be taken care of and hopefully adopted. We are all Sandy Valley businesses, all unique to this Valley and we must work together to help build a better community, a community that needs income.
3rd - Dust
Dust is a factor everywhere in Sandy Valley (hence the name). We lige in teh desert, not a green, lush atmosphere. SVMX tries its best to keep dust conditions down to a minimal amount while still providing a non-muddy, safer surface for our customers to ride on. SVMX takes care of a one miile long, San Bernardino county road ON OUR OWN INITATIVE (County road #20917, Lee Lane to be exact). Think of the amount of riders that come to ride motocross in a confined facility, it keeps dust down to one area and keeps the deserts looking native. We are supportive of dust control. A sanctioned facility to ride dirt bikes should be welcomed by all communities. Another factor of dust to think about is the fact that we are a rural community, many roads remain unpaved. Unpaved roads are the real dust problem in Sandy Valley. Paved roads cost money (abundant amounts of money) and with no reason/businesses to support the need and funding for improved roads we are all out of luck. Sandy Valley Motocross is another reason/business that our Tax dollars should be contributed to the community that we live in, more business = the need for better roads.
4th - Washout onto Kingston Rd.
The washout during recent rains in SV has caused an overflow onto Kingston Rd. We have nothing to do with this washout. The was has been flowing for long before we bought our property. Now that our road runs along side the wash, we are all of a sudden the ones to blame, just because it comes from our direction. That road is a nuisance to us and if we could talk the county into improving our road maybe it would help. With our experience in Grading and Construction and Surveying[sic], We don't think that anything less than a small detention basin would solve the problem. Until then, when we have equipment available we will do our best to try to keep Kingston Rd. looking good.
5th - Roads and some unthankful citizens
We understand that some motocrossers are lead footed, but like Surely noted in her recent letter to the editor, motocrossers aren't the only unsafe drivers on Sandy Valley Road. Many are SV residents themselves. The motocross riders are singled out just because they have bikes in their trucks. We advise our customers to drive safely, we are not the police and we cannot enforce it, all we can do is ask them to drive safely & courteous.
To the unthankful citizens: (this actually hurt my feelings) One night in July there was a fire at about 2am in the Skyranch Harbor Airport, since we were awake working at the track (with our lights so rudely on) we noticed the fire at the airport. I quickly stopped what I was doing and filled our water truck and headed down to the Airport to help put the fire out. We arrived and within 15 minutes the fire was under control. We received no thanks from anyone (except the Fire Chief Chris several days later) if we would have known that we were helping a community of ungrateful people, I would have brought some marshmallows on a stick instead. Also, to the few vandals out there, thanks for smashing our signs and how patriotic of you to STEAL our American Flags.
6th - The expansion of Sandy Valley
We are a Sandy Valley Business adn we ARE NOT going anywhere. Even if we do lose our permits, many people have asked ot purchase the track from us and I guarantee taht Sandy will be dealing with a lot more problems if we are not the owners. Why??? Because Clark and I care about the future of Motocross and the future of Sandy Valley and we are trying our best to provide a happy medium for everyone from riders to residents, (which is very difficult when you come from a blue collar family). If anyone else owned this track their expectations/standards would not be as high as ours.
Business Expansion: The several Sod Farms, Alfalfa Farms, The Dust Devil, Ernie D's Bar, KMI Zeolite, Rough Diamond Salon, Country Video, Our sponsors The Trails End General Store and Us, Sandy Valley Motocross (the newest members) are all Sandy Valley Businesses. We ar all here to stay and whether or not people like it; this community is going to grow. Look at the nwe Sandy Valley Center that opens in 5/05; hear the rumors of the Cargo Airport? (Yet that airport is more supported than our track is, why is that?) Things are changing and we need to support them. If we work together maybe we cam rally up and get Sandy Valley Road improved (I know via years in the asphalt business that it has been under development in the public works offices). Either way, SVMX is a part of your community We have donated to the Sandy Valley School an the Fire Department (we would even donate more if our business income didn't come to a screeching halt due to some complaints). We also keep three good teenagers out of trouble by giving them work several days a week. Special thanks to the "J Team", Jessica, Jake & Joey.
In Conclusion, Sandy Valley Motocross is only open give hours at a time (race days might see eight hours). Is this really a problem? We have provided a landscaped facility (one of the few in Sandy Valley) and we are open to the public for minimal costs (all of which goes directly back into the facility). Motocross is a family sport (and yes sometimes there is carnage like broken bones etc. but so is a 70 mph blowout on I-15) and many families (including moms and sisters & grandmas) support our track frequently. The sport of motocross was introduced to me by my Dad and to him by his Dad, three generations, it is in my blood, along with millions of others who participate in the sport of motocross. This being said, we would like to thank those who have written to support us, Carol & Robbie Stodghill, Kelly Bolan & Family. These are people who understand the family based, healthy, drug free sport of motocross. Instead, let's concentrate on teh non-talked about, "hush-hush" problems in Sandy Valley (I am sure that the Sheriff can express a few problems in this community) because we are not one of them. If ny community members have questions, comments, hate mail, threats etc. about this article and or the track, please feel free to email me at KIT@SVMX.com. In the meantime, LETS STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE! The lighting issue died back in July.
--Thank you - Kit & Clark
Sandy Valley Motocross