Property rights issues are always the most intense and contentious issues, and Paul Crossman of the Chatham Courier tells one story:
Overnight RV parking and the construction of a new go-cart track at Lebanon Valley Speedway have been issues of contention in New Lebanon for quite some time now. But while one issue has been resolved — the go-cart track — the other has not. And racing season is fast approaching. At their regular meeting Tuesday night, April 6, the Zoning Board of Appeals, with the exception of board President John Dax, who recused himself due to a conflict of interest, voted unanimously to allow a special site use permit for the go-cart track, with certain conditions and restrictions. “It’s been a very long, tedious process,” said Lebanon Valley Speedway owner Howard Commander. “The board, in the end, acted fairly, but nothing changed [regarding the track] from day one.” Commander added that nearly all the conditions the board stipulated had already been met in his original plan for the track. Stipulations the ZBA instituted for the track and its use include taking steps to minimize sound and light pollution, including a landscaped buffer area at least 50-feet wide, 10 feet of which must be coniferous trees; no structures located within 100 feet of adjoining property lines; adequate off-street parking for up to 200 additional cars; and limiting track use to Wednesday and Sunday from May 1 to Oct. 31, when other races are already occurring to minimize sound discomfort to neighbors. The go carts would also have to meet standards for the quietest exhaust systems available. The ZBA also considered the fact that the closest neighbors live more than a mile from the track and reports indicate that the sound level at that distance would be around 48 decibels — less than the volume of a normal conversation.
UPDATE: Crossman apparently missed the news that track owner Howard Commander plans to hold a multi-day music festival there this summer, and there is now a kerfuffle between the town and Commander over the definitions of camping and “overnight parking,” according to Gail Heinsohn’s story in The Columbia Paper.
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