A proposed motocross course in Tinton Falls stirs vocal debate amongst residents concerned about noise, light and traffic.

Jersey Shore Motocross (Facebook)

Jersey Shore Motocross is asking the borough for a zoning variance to build a 21-acre outdoor course off Shafto Road with 395 parking spaces, a maintenance building, a pro shop and three tracks including a nighttime track. Currently the property is restricted to manufacturing, and would require several variances.

Over 200 people attended Thursday's zone variance meeting, and overflow had to be diverted to a separate room before attendees were allowed to stand in the hallway due to audio issues.

The largest point of contention was the proximity of other residential properties to the proposed tracks. Engineer for Jersey Shore Motocross Tim Lurie presented maps showing the facility to be situated next to a recycling plant with wood and wetlands on the either side.  However, residential properties would still be anywhere from 800 to 1,600 feet away, with a nursing home being the closest neighbor to the proposed tracks.

The tracks would also be equipped with 40-foot lights which some residents worried would be disruptive, especially when operated into the nighttime hours.

Thursday's three hour meeting was an initial hearing by the borough zoning committee, with testimony from an engineer for Jersey Shore Motocross and a representative from the American Motorcycle Association (AMA).

Residents were allowed to ask questions about the testimony provided by Lurie and members of the AMA, however they could not inquire about sound, lighting or environmental issues. Members of the zoning board said residents would be able to ask questions related to those matters after testimony was provided on the topics.

While testimony and opinions on the proposed track were not allowed, many residents did manage to infuse their feelings towards the project; many of them are not pleased with the idea.

"I'm concerned about the noise, I'm concerned about the loudness," commented Tinton Falls resident Nancy Lannon, adding it will "jam up traffic on every highway, Route 33, Route 34, Wardell Road, Shark River Road, Shafto Road and the Garden State Parkway."

One resident complained that even without sound studies, she knows noise will be an issue.

"I can hear Wall Stadium in my backyard and I'm six miles away from Wall Stadium. This is literally going to be a mile and half from my home."

Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera was one of the detractors, stating an email sent to residents earlier in the day, "I don't see a benefit in having this facility in Tinton Falls. The proposed motocross will generate almost zero taxes for the borough and could actually cost money due to the types of borough services that would be required."

He was also critical of Jersey Shore Motocross for giving the illusion the project was farther along than it actually was, referencing posts they made on their Twitter handle Jersey_ShoreMX.

"You may be lead to believe that the approval process is practically complete, when in fact the first meeting is only being held tonight," said Skuder.

Borough resident Stacy Jones said the proposed track would be a complete disruption to quality of life in the area.  "Families live here, they have children. They have to go to school, they have to go to work, they have to be able to get around."

While there were many detractors to the proposed project, proponents attended as well.

Jim Roberts of Wall Township, a long time motocross enthusiast, believes many of the concerns of residents are overstated.

"I don't think it will be nearly as bad as they think. Traffic will be no issue since they're starting at a certain time and letting out at a certain time so people will come and go throughout the day. Lighting...I can't even believe people are bringing that up since there are a thousand feet of trees between them and the nearest residences."

Tinton Falls resident Carol Rathyen has children who grew up with children doing motocross and believes it would be a good thing for the area, noting many people have misconceptions about what a track really is.

"People are complaining about everything, noise, lights, smells. I don't think you're going to change their minds, they haven't experienced it so they don't know what it's really like."

The next meeting will be held on Nov. 7th at 7:30 pm at Borough Hall, however plans are being discussed to find a venue able to hold larger crowds.