Motocross idea east of Hollister irks neighbors

A rider pulls off a trick while riding the motocross track at Hollister Hills last March.

Talk of a motocross facility near Santa Ana Valley and John Smith roads has sparked opposition before reaching the county planning department.
Residents neighboring the area in the hills east of Hollister are up in arms over a developer’s interest in building a motocross facility on about 100 acres, confirmed Ray Pierce, a county planning commissioner.
Such a facility in an area zoned as agricultural rangeland would coincide with the county’s already existing, popular Hollister Hills Vehicular Recreation Area, which is southwest of the city and draws upward of 100,000 vehicles annually, according to a study done on 2012-13 attendance at state off-road areas.
Pierce explained his understanding of the project’s prospects and noted how he spoke with the interested developer who is out of the Santa Cruz area.
Pierce said he had not made up his mind on early prospects for a motocross facility at the site. But he added that based on factors such as a bevvy of negative neighbor feedback, “It’s not looking good.” He also mentioned how it would be difficult to regulate the number of bikes there if a facility opened.
“As a planning commissioner, I’m concerned about the availability of water for a full hookup R.V. setup out there,” Pierce said. “Noise is always an issue when you’re dealing with bikes, and that’s a quiet, little pristine valley.”
Pierce didn’t believe the proposal had reached the planning department yet. Officials in the department, closed Fridays, could not be reached immediately.
Pierce and county supervisors such as Margie Barrios and Jerry Muenzer, both representing districts potentially affected by the proposal, have received frequent contacts from concerned residents about the idea.
Muenzer said the affected land is within Barrios’ district but that residents in his neighboring district are concerned as well.
Muenzer thought if the interested party does move ahead, he would have to “do a lot of studies.”
“I don’t believe the people that are thinking about it have even purchased the property yet. They’re just exploring the idea of it,” Muenzer said. “Without seeing any details, it just doesn’t seem like it would be the right spot for that.”
Barrios said she had received emails and phone calls on the matter and planned to go look at the area in question Thursday.
This story is developing. Look back for more.

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