Despite Neighbors’ Worries, Ohio Co. BZA Approves Permit For Motocross Event
By Mike Perleberg
(Ohio County, Ind.) – The necessary approval has been given for a much-debated motocross event in Ohio County.
Eagle 99.3 has told you before about residents Rod and Kay Ballart seeking to host an Indiana Cross Country Racing Series event at their more than 300 acre farm on South Fork Road in the Bear Branch area. Such an event would bring an estimated crowd of up to 300 people, the family has previously estimated.
The Ballarts attempted to host the series for a weekend last year, but traffic and noise concerns raised by neighbors led to an Ohio County magistrate issuing an emergency injunction to halt the event just two days before it would have happened. The magistrate ruled that the Ballarts did not have the proper permit.
The Ballarts have been seeking that special exception permit from the Ohio County Board of Zoning appeals. The BZA voted 2-1 on March 27 to approve the permit, however, a majority vote of at least three “ayes” was needed.
During a crowded meeting at the Ohio County Courthouse Thursday evening, the Ohio County BZA voted 3-1 to approve the necessary permit for one weekend event. Board member Sonny Dickerson, who had not been present at the previous meeting, cast the deciding third vote. Board president Irvin McKinley did not vote, because the president only votes in the event of a tie.
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With the permit in-hand, the IXCR races now have the green light for the weekend of October 11th and 12th.
“We’re very happy that the Ohio County board listened to the facts presented and didn’t fall victim to the scare tactics from those opposed,” said Rand Ballart, son of Rod and Kay and an IXCR member.
Thursday’s meeting had to be moved to the Ohio County Circuit Courtroom because of the numerous people who came in support and opposition of the motocross race. The meeting lasted close to three hours, ending at around 10:30 p.m.
“There were lots of folks from Rising Sun and Ohio County there in support. Even some who live on South Fork Road were with us,” Ballart said Friday morning, adding that the race is a great opportunity to bring people to Ohio County on the same weekend as the Rising Sun Navy Bean Festival.
But not all neighboring or nearby property owners are thrilled with the outcome. Billy Kinnett, whose elderly parents live adjacent to the Ballart farm, called the situation a shame.
“The Ballarts will make a little money at the cost of upsetting all of their neighbors and opposing land owners,” Kinnett said. “I hope they have a successful and safe race, and hope it was worth it.”
The battle may not be over, however. Kinnett said he and other neighbors are weighing their options for an appeal. Those neighbors have agreed to share attorney fees, he claimed.
Ballart said he understands that the BZA decision could only be appealed by those who requested it: his parents. That, of course, is not likely.
In the event of rain, the IXCR event would be held the following weekend in October, according to Ballart.