Commissioners went into one last executive session Tuesday morning to discuss the legal parameters of a $2,000 “special use permit” before giving Chattanooga Motorcross owner Darrel Lynn the go-ahead to open Battle Creek Motorcross in Catoosa.
There are stipulations: every six months, commissioners will be able to re-evaluate their decision, based on the business’s progress and influence on the community.
For six months now, Lynn and his business partners Trip and Britt Brown have been in the process of planning and building a second track on their Scruggs Road property in Ringgold.
They assumed since the track was less than 500 feet from their existing track and on the same road, the new one would be “grandfathered” in under the same conditions.
Chattanooga Motorcross, a dirt circuit motorcycle track with both “pee wee” and advanced tracks, has been in business for 10 years with no problems, Lynn said.
Lynn insisted there had been only one minor complaint over the years, and in fact, the track has been a very positive thing for the community.
“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” said Lynn. “We have the anti-glare lighting and we are well below the noise level. It’s a great place for the family to just come and have a good time.”
James Davis, Catoosa zoning administrator, confirmed the three owners had followed all requests, including updating their site plans, and the area was zoned properly and approved. All they needed was approval of the special use permit since the existing permits did not cover the new track.
Chattanooga Times Free Press challenged the board’s move to go into executive session Tuesday to discuss the matter, stating the decision-making process should have been made public.
Twenty-plus citizens, including employees and riders, were at the meeting in support of Lynn and the track. After returning with the decision regarding the permit, county attorney Skip Patty said commission chairman Keith Greene had “misspoken” when he called the executive session to “discuss the motor-cross track with the other commissioners.” However, the executive meeting was covered by “client-attorney privilege” due to the fact they were discussing the legal aspects (duration and application) of the permit and not any other issues related to the approval of the track, Patty said.
Commissioner chairman Greene also made clear his opinion on the matter of the track in general in relation to the goals of the board for the community as a whole, and reiterated that the issue was the permit and not the track itself.
“We have just gone through the process of looking at a comprehensive plan and understanding the land use for throughout the county, and how are going to plan for the future,” said Greene. “That’s one of the things I’m looking for, and that’s what the planning and zoning should be looking for; understanding land use of this county.”
Greene and commissioner Jim Cutler, who also had shown some opposition in prior meetings, both agreed the six-month window helped to make the decision easier, by leaving room for change down the road should need arise.
Lynn seemed confident the track would have no problems staying within the limits of the boundaries set by the commissioners after receiving approval of the permit, and looks forward to holding the first race Aug. 14. For more information on the tracks, go to ride-cmx.com or call (423) 821-MOTO.