Isanti Township MX track draws discussion at board meeting

By Greg Hunt

An interim use permit request placed before the Isanti County Board restirred the debate about personal motorized vehicle race tracks in the county.

At the June 15 County Board meeting was the request by Jody Powers of 4242 281st Ave. NE for the 1/2-mile long track which has already been built on that property. It runs along Co. Rd. 45 (Durant St. NE) south of the 281st Ave. intersection. The proximity to the county road was one point of concern.

“I have driven by this track several times, and I think there’s a safety issue there with riders heading toward the road if they fly off either of the two corners near the roads,” said Commissioner Susan Morris.

The track is built on an open parcel of the Powers’ 4.6 acre plot, with no trees bordering it to knock down sound or dust.

“I think 4.6 acres for a race track is absolutely ridiculous,” stated Commissioner George Larson. “It makes other land within a half-mile useless for resale. I will not vote for this.”

Commissioner Mike Warring added the race track could impact neighbors who have been living on adjacent property for years with the loud sound levels expected from motorcyle use.

Powers’ request for the intermim use permit for the track was approved by the Isanti County Planning Commission after its June 9 public hearing. Zoning Administrator Tim Anderson told the county board that Powers was cooperative with the PC while agreeing to several conditions for the track, including:

• Limiting operating the track to Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., less than or equal to 3 hours each day; and riding every other weekend 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. with no more than 8 hours per weekend;

• Allowing no more than eight riders at one session, except for six days out of the year a maximum of 15 riders would be allowed;

• The vehicles on the track must operate at 96 decibels or below;

• Adequate dust control measures must be taken, and no extra exterior lighting is allowed.

Commissioner Warring’s motion to table the interim use permit request was granted. The board would like to see a consistent template be studied in regard to setback from county roads and minimum acreage required to hold a personalized vehicle race track.

Juvenile Center agreement extended

Also at the June 15 meeting, the board approved a five-year extension of the joint powers agreement for the East Central Regional Juvenile Center. Isanti County receives a guaranteed two reserved beds in the nine-county facility located in Anoka for children who are a public safety risk or are at risk to hurting themselves.

Probation Director Tim MacMillan said, “This center has been a really successful partnership between the member counties. There are a number of such facilities closing around the state, so it is encouraging that we can keep this really well-run facility open.”

Years of Service milestones marked at picnic

Also on July 15, the board hosted its annual Isanti County Employee Recognition and Wellness Picnic. Commissioner Larry Southerland was honored for 40 years of service to the county which dated back to 1971 when he was hired as a deputy sheriff. Southerland also served as an investigator and as sheriff for Isanti County.

Employees reaching 30 years of service are Janet Buchholz and Lil Van’tHof. Reaching the 20-year milestone are Delores Cleveland, Lisa Lovering, Terry Treichel and Pamela Youngquist.