Town officials say soil disturbances at Marc Della Villa’s race track off Westside Avenue do not constitute a violation of Rotterdam’s site development permit process.
Public Works Coordinator Mike Griesemer told the Town Board he couldn’t find any evidence of an erosion caused by people operating off-road motorcycles on the property.
But Andrew Brick, a private attorney representing several disgruntled residents living near the Della Villa’s property, claimed Della Villa was violating the town’s erosion control laws by using excavators to build jumps and by allowing the motorcycles to rip around the course.
Supervisor Frank Del Gallo was satisfied by Griesemer’s assessment. Absent any wrong doing, he said the town is powerless to prevent riders from continuing to use the property.
“They’re not breaking any laws, so we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
But town officials still haven’t notified Brick of their apparent decision. Contacted Thursday, Brick said he was rankled by the lack of correspondence from the town after he filed the complaint more than a month ago. “We have still not received a written response to our official complaint.” he said.
Brick submitted a poster board with satellite images of Della Villa’s property and showing where large piles of soil had been moved. He argued the soil movements violated a town ordinance, requiring a permit and a storm water pollution prevention plan to be in place before any large disturbances on property that totals more than an acre.
“How long does it take to drive past the property, inspect the property and inspect the aerial photos?” he said. “Certainly not a month and a half.”
Once the town issues a written decision, Brick could contest it through the Zoning Board of Appeals and then possibly through a lawsuit.
Residents living in the otherwise quiet neighborhood off of Westside Avenue have complained about the operation of off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles on Della Villa’s property for more than two years. They claim dozens of riders rip around the property while clusters of spectators watch.
A town code classifies racetracks as any area where motorized vehicles are used in contests or demonstrations of skill for the entertainment of the public or the gratification of the contestants. A permit is required to operate one. In November, a town code enforcer visited the property and ruled Della Villa was not operating a racetrack under the code.
Yet even the people who use Della Villa’s property sometimes refer to it as a track. In September, a group of riders advertised a meet-up at “Della Villa’s dirt bike track” on Facebook.com in an apparent effort to show their resolve to continue using the property.
Del Gallo doubted the town could craft legislation that would prevent riders from using the property. Instead, he urged the neighbors living nearby to negotiate with Della Villa to find a mutually agreeable resolution.
“He was willing to agree to do it at certain times, and [the neighbors] just said no,” he said. “They wouldn’t accept that.”
But at least one Town Board member is siding with the neighbors. Nicola DiLeva said the residents have ample cause to complain about Della Villa’s property because he’s diminishing their quality of life by allowing unfettered access to the riders.
DiLeva said Della Villa also removed brush that was acting as a buffer between the property and the neighborhood. She also claims he’s threatened to plug up a drain that allows water to flow from the neighborhood onto his property.
“It’s real sad, because he is vindictive to them,” she said.