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Fauquier puts brakes on PW motorcycle-track plan

A Nokesville group's plan to build an off-road motorcycle track in Fauquier hit a significant roadblock recently.

Fauquier supervisors voted 3-2 on Oct. 9 to deny a zoning change that would have paved the way for constructing such facilities.

At issue was an amendment to the locality's zoning ordinance about outdoor sports and activities. It was written to apply to lots of pursuits, including swimming, tennis, golf, skateboarding and paintball.

But discussion about the change has centered on the creation of a motocross track.

And that seemed to be the burr in the saddle for a majority of the Board of Supervisors.

After turning back Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn's motion to approve the change with the motorcycle language, the same three board members voted to OK the amendment for every activity except motocross and the riding of all-terrain vehicles.

Those were vice chairman Holder Trumbo and Supervisors Peter Schwartz and Chris Granger. Board Chairman Chester Stribling voted with Sherbeyn.

The votes effectively end the efforts of Mike Bridges and his group Family Off-Road Riders of Prince William County.

That organization has a track on the Prince William side of Nokesville, but it can't hold competitions there. So Bridges sought to build a facility in the county where he lives.

His group needed approval of the zoning amendment before it could even consider a specific site, however.

In defending his motion, Sherbeyn admitted that it would be hard to find a place in Fauquier where neighbors would support a potentially noisy enterprise.

But, he said, it's good government to approve the zoning change, which would only give permission for those interested to come back to the supervisors and seek an additional OK for a desired location.

"That's all this text amendment does," he said.

But Schwartz and Trumbo, particularly, didn't agree.

Schwartz indicated that approving a zoning change that would allow off-road racing could create "undue expectation" that further OKs would be forthcoming.

And, as he mentioned at a supervisors meeting in August, he said that even starting to go down the road of approving a motorcycle track would generate unnecessary controversy among county residents who seek peace and quiet.

Trumbo said that the amendment as written with motorcycle racing included was "far too broad."

"I don't see it the same way that Supervisor Sherbeyn sees it," he said.

Granger said that he had heard lots of comments, positive and negative, about the motocross issue, even though there's not enough open land in his Center District for a track to be built there.

Reached last week, Bridges said that his group was "highly disappointed with the way the vote went" but even more upset that the supervisors would eliminate motocross and ATV events from the zoning amendment and approve other activities.

He said Family Off-Road Riders of Prince William County hasn't decided what it will do in light of the Fauquier vote.

"We're evaluating our options," Bridges said.

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