Supervisor wants to take motocross to court
By Dale Heberlig, Sentinel Reporter
Hopewell Township Supervisor Gene Mellinger was out of patience Monday morning.
Mellinger says he wants a written agreement with the operators of Doublin Gap Motocross that can be used to “pin them to the wall.” He says he'll do everything in his power to get that document at the township's next meeting Dec. 4.
At the root of Mellinger's anger are Jeff and Brad Yentzer who operate the race track on the edge of the Borough of Newburg that has disrupted the solitude of the community for years.
Wants to put ‘foot down'
“They've lied to us, they haven't done the things they said they would do, they can't run their business responsibly,” Mellinger said. “It's time to put our foot down. If we get it stomped, we get it stomped, but I'm ready to go to court if that's what we have to do.”
Mellinger says the township has gone out its way to negotiate with the Yentzers about Doublin Gap Motocross - which is a pre-existing nonconforming use in relation to the township's zoning ordinance.
The Yentzers, he says, have paid little heed to the verbal agreements.
“Talking doesn't do anything with these guys,” Mellinger says. “We need something to pin them to the wall.”
Solicitor Sally Winder says she'll have a written outline for an agreement available for review in the Dec. 4 meeting the Yentzers are supposed to attend.
“I have some things in writing from past discussions (with the Yentzers),” Winder says.
Changed starting time
An arbitrary change of the Sunday starting time at Doublin Gap - from 11:30 a.m to 9:30 a.m. - earlier this month appears to have pushed Mellinger beyond his limit.
“They told us they would check with us before making changes, and they didn't, they just went ahead and changed the time,” Mellinger says. “I'm fed up with this guy.”
Mellinger said afterward he doesn't lose his patience easily or often, but “when it's gone, it's gone.”
He said he'll still be agitated next month, and vowed to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the race track into line with community standards.
“You guys (Supervisors Curt Myers and Danny Forrester) can vote me down, but this is how I feel,” Mellinger says.
'Work with people'
Forrester added supporting words.
“I'm in racing, too, but you have to work with people,” Forrester said.
Located just off Route 696 south of Newburg, Doublin Gap is considering a nonconforming pre-existing use, but is still subject to township oversight.
A conditional use permit issued early this year cleared the way for a new access road to the race track, but also attached some conditions on operations there.
The track is the source of frequent complaints by neighbors and residents of the area upset with noise, dust and hazardous traffic patterns associated with the track.