Hearing set on permits for Granite Falls dirtbike track

GRANITE FALLS — The fate of an off-road motorcycle park proposed near Mountain Loop Highway could hinge on an upcoming decision by the Snohomish County hearing examiner.

Hearings on the project are set to begin Monday and could last up to two weeks.

The examiner must consider an appeal filed by opponents, who say Snohomish County planners failed to perform an adequate environmental review of the project.

The company trying to build the racetrack complex also needs the hearing examiner’s approval to rezone the property for recreation. It’s now designated for forestry. The examiner must approve a conditional use permit as well.

MXGP of Kirkland has been trying to build an off-road motorcycle facility since 2005, the year the county shut down a track operating without permits near Monroe. A later attempt to build a track in Maltby died in the face of zoning hurdles or neighborhood opposition.

In planning documents, the company applying to build the Granite Falls track is listed as Paul Thomas Motocross Parks.

A coalition of neighbors and environmentalists are fighting the plans. The Mountain Loop Conservancy, the North Cascades Conservation Council and the Pilchuck Audubon Society filed the appeal with the hearing examiner.

The Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has endorsed the motocross park with an online statement:

“The Chamber believes that this project presents a huge economic opportunity for the city and community of Granite Falls. We are providing this page on our website in an effort to inform the public about this project. In the spirit of fairness to the community, the Chamber is willing to present facts from project opponents insofar as those facts are presented in a verifiable and informative manner.”

Next week’s hearing is to review a study that county planners released in September, after more than three years of work. The mitigated determination of non-significance, as it’s known, says the track can be built, if the developer adheres to a long list of safeguards.

Restrictions include regular noise testing by sound engineers, specific hours of daily operation and dust control, among others.

The current proposal includes four outdoor tracks for different skill levels. Plans call for grandstands, a parking lot and overnight RV parking, as well as the eventual construction of a 25-foot-tall berm around the property to act as a noise buffer.

The proposed track site is between two rock quarries, about six miles east of Granite Falls. When built out, the complex would cover parts of 75 acres in the middle of a 437-acre property. A minimum of 500 feet of trees would be left on all sides.

Hearing examiner pro-tem Phil Olbrechts is scheduled to preside.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic will be rerouted from a closed section of 220th Street SW just west of I-5 for overnight road repairs Wednesday and Thursday. (Sound Transit)
Overnight work to close 220th Street SW and southbound I-5

Contractor crews plan to repair 220th and need to close the freeway for light rail work.

This condo on Norton Ave. in Everett was sold Friday, June 18. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish County home values soar in latest assessment

Lack of affordable housing put the squeeze on buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

With credit scores out, will insurers cut or hike your rate?

Lack of affordable housing squeezed buyers and drove up home prices across Snohomish County.

Lynnwood man is challenging the legality of his imprisonment

The Island County Jail inmate was temporarily sent to a state prison and allegedly held in solitary confinement.

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie film crew: Whidbey residents are ‘generous and welcoming’

The movie makers are shooting scenes for a full-length feature at various sites around the island.

Community Transit is asking for feedback on options for a pilot program to bring a community van or microtransit, on-demand public transit, to Lynnwood in spring next year. (Community Transit)
Are you ready for public transit ride-sharing in Lynnwood?

Community Transit is planning a pilot program next spring and wants to hear what people think.

Harry Lee Jones Jr.
Man gets 31½ years for shooting Everett motel guest 12 times

Harry Lee Jones Jr., 27, beat and then shot a Farwest Motel guest in 2018 while two accomplices looted his room.

Everett's Patrick Hall was among people who put up signs in March to save the Longfellow School building.  He is now part of an advisory task force looking at options for the building, which the Everett School District had planned to tear down.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
National register listing could be next for old Longfellow

But the designation wouldn’t stop the Everett School District from tearing down the former school.

Cars make their way across US 2 between Lake Stevens and Everett as wildfire smoke makes downtown Everett barely visible on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wildfire smoke: A burning health issue is getting worse

As the hazardous haze increases during fire seasons, it’s time to get serious and prepare, experts say.

Most Read