Controversy over motocross track

By Erika Mahoney

March 6, 2013 Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 1:53 AM EDT

Town of Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A debate over a motocross track draws a full crowd to the Owego Town Board meeting.

For nearly two hours Tuesday, residents headed to the microphone during the public comment period over whether trustees will issue the track a special permit.

The owner of Jackson's Pumpkin Farm in Campville, Jim Jackson, is applying for a permit to run a motocross track as a business, meaning he could charge people for riding.

Motocross has long been a sport at the farm, but it has only been open as a business for one of those years, and Jackson wants to expand on that.

People in support of him say the track has been a positive asset to the community, bringing people together and providing a safe place for at-risk youth.

Zac Zopp has been riding there since he was a teenager, and says Jackson has been an important mentor in his life.

"I was raised by two alcoholics and this was an outlet for me to go ride, go enjoy time," Zopp said. "You know I wasn't a basketball player, I wasn't a soccer player. I raced motorcycles. More and more of these places are getting closed and we have to fight to keep them open."

But others say the noise and dust is simply unbearable, and that something needs to change.

Chris Reiber says such a business violates town codes.

"We can't sit outside," Reiber said. "We have to keep our windows closed all through the summer months when he's riding because otherwise the sound is in the house. You can't hear your television over the sound of the track. You can't invite people over and visit because there's motocross noise."

The board did not make a decision Tuesday.

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