By MARY PAT ANGELINI
Over the past few weeks the issue of whether to allow a motocross facility in Tinton Falls has sparked contentious debate between motocross enthusiasts and residents who live near the proposed site who have serious concerns about the impact of such a facility on their quality of life.
On one side of the issue sit motocross riders who are in search of a legal place in the area to enjoy their sport. They are strongly and vocally supportive of a proposal to develop a 21 acre facility on Shafto Road for dirt bike racing. The plans for Jersey Shore Motocross call for the construction of three tracks, including one with lighting for night racing, as well as a parking lot for nearly 400 vehicles.
On the other side of the issue are those who are understandably concerned about the impact of this type of facility on their quality of life and their home values. Among their various concerns are the noise, traffic and pollution generated by this facility which would be located on property which, in some instances, sits less than 1,000 feet from residences, including a nursing home.
In response to the widespread concern expressed by our constituents in Tinton Falls and surrounding communities, my colleagues, Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, are sponsoring legislation that would prevent motocross facilities from being located near people’s homes.
The legislation requires anyone seeking to operate a motocross facility to obtain a license from the state Department of Law and Public Safety and prohibits such a license from being granted for any proposal to be located within five miles of a residentially zoned area.
It is important to note that this measure would not have any impact on the Jersey Shore Motocross application which is currently pending before the Tinton Falls Zoning Board of Adjustment. Rather, this measure aims to prevent future projects like this one from being forced on towns whose land use regulations may not specifically ban this type of facility. It also seeks to prevent towns from approving a facility that could negatively impact a neighboring town or an entire region.
While I support the creation of legal, safe places for motocross enthusiasts to enjoy this activity, it is important that these facilities are sited only in appropriate locations where they do not negatively impact a community’s quality of life.
- Mary Pat Angelini is an Assemblywoman in the 11th district.