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I didnt see this posted anywhere but on a MX site.

Riverside County off-road law sent back to drawing board

By: DAVE DOWNEY - Staff writer
RIVERSIDE ---- After listening to hours of what they apparently considered
to be sound advice, Riverside County Planning Commissioners on Wednesday
moved away from telling off-road vehicle enthusiasts when they can ride and
instead toward regulating the noise their vehicles put out.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to postpone until Aug. 31 a decision on a
proposed ordinance that would set strict off-roading riding rules for
Riverside County's unincorporated areas by confining riding in residential
areas to three days of the week and limiting the number of vehicles being
ridden at the same time on a particular property.
The commissioners asked county planners to forget about day-of-the-week
rules and figure out a way to control the amount of noise drifting from one
property to another, in their effort to make peace between the off-road
crowd and neighbors in search of peace and quiet.

"There is no question that something needs to be done," Commissioner John
Snell said.

However, Snell suggested the controversial proposal in the works for several
months was not "that something," and that a better approach would be to
write a sound ordinance that regulates noise coming not only from dirt bikes
and dune buggies, but other noisy machines and vehicles.

Deputy Planning Director Mark Balys said the county does not have a noise
ordinance that sets specific sound limits and penalties.

The commissioners' comments followed about 3 1/2 hours of testimony from
about 20 people on both sides of the issue. Many of the off-road
enthusiasts, who sharply oppose the measure, suggested the county was
proposing to go too far and all that was needed was a noise ordinance. Many
of their neighbors told commissioners how the peace and quiet they had
earlier enjoyed had been shattered by noisy and inconsiderate off-road

Dozens of people from both sides of the issue packed the County
Administrative Center auditorium. Several children wore colorful riding

Commissioners emphasized that whatever the county comes up with must be
enforceable. That was something both proponents and opponents of strict
riding controls agreed on.

However, the commissioners offered few specific suggestions on how an
ordinance should be crafted.

One of those calling for a sound ordinance was Bill Dart, director of land
use for the San Diego-based Off-Road Business Association. He said the
county's proposal of limiting riding to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
was "unreasonable" for practitioners of a sport that is a huge attraction in
the county because of its many wide-open spaces.

"Riverside County is kind of the center of the universe in the off-road
vehicle world," Dart said.

The American Motorcycle Association and the Cleveland National Forest Trail
Users Association also sent representatives to the meeting.

At the same time, the county is home to dozens of rare species of animals
and plants that are in danger of extinction because of encroaching home
development and off-road vehicle activity, said Dan Silver, executive
director for the Los Angeles-based Endangered Habitats League. Saying the
proposed ordinance was unenforceable, Silver argued for more public riding
parks and a blanket ban on riding on private residential property everywhere
in the county no matter how large the parcel. The county's proposal set 2.5
acres as the minimum threshold for being able to ride on one's property.

"You can't enforce it," Silver said. "You're kidding yourselves. The worst
thing government can do is make a promise it can't keep, and this is a
promise you can't keep."

Silver was joined by several residents of rural areas around Aguanga and
Corona in calling for strict controls.

Some riders sent lawyers to the podium to speak on their behalf. One of
those was Mark Prescott, whose 30-acre property in Aguanga was the site of a
motorcycle sound demonstration conducted by the county June 29.

Oceanside attorney Tom Connolly, in speaking for Prescott, scolded
commissioners for considering passing a measure that he termed
"unconstitutionally overbroad."

"I'd invite each of you to read the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution,"
Connolly said. "Government can't arbitrarily take away the rights of private
property owners."

That brought a sharp retort from Commissioner James Porras.

"I've read the Constitution and the Fifth Amendment, and nowhere in there
does it talk about decibels," Porras said. "So don't accuse us of being
constitutionally ignorant."

Contact staff writer Dave Downey at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2616, or
[email protected].

Off-road limits get cool response
ORDINANCE: The nation's strictest rules would restrict even private-property
use. Planners are skeptical.
11:42 PM PDT on Wednesday, July 6, 2005
By DOUGLAS QUAN and KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise
A proposal to impose some of the nation's strictest rules on off-road
vehicles in unincorporated Riverside County received a lukewarm reception
Wednesday from the county Planning Commission.
The proposal would limit off-road activity to three days a week in
unincorporated areas and restrict the number of off-road vehicles on private
Supporters of the proposal -- which came up nine months ago because of noise
and dust complaints -- say off-roaders are ruining their quality of life.
Opponents say the county has no right to interfere with what people do on
private property, including those who bought large plots solely for off-road

Caitlin M. Kelly / The Press-Enterprise

A sign on a road leading to two ranch properties near Aguanga allows for
motorcyclists to ride in the area.

Private property rights advocates say all property owners -- whether they
live near an off-road site or not -- ought to pay attention to the debate
because the proposal if adopted could set a dangerous precedent on how
governments regulate land use.
Some commissioners said the proposal on the table Wednesday was too far
reaching and would be difficult to enforce.
Commissioner John Snell said the county should seek a more reasonable
compromise by adopting a noise ordinance that would apply to everyone, not
just off-road enthusiasts.
"There is no question something needs to be done," Snell said. "But we have
a big gaping hole because the county has no sound ordinance."
State Will Review
The commissioners agreed to postpone until Aug. 31 any recommendations to
the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. . The county has sent its draft
ordinance to the state for review.
Such an ordinance could open the door for future infringement of property
rights and create a ripple effect in governments across the state, said
David Hubbard, an attorney representing a group of off-road property owners.

But some experts say people who own properties next to off-road sites have
an equal right to enjoy their properties in peace and that there are times
when it is appropriate for the government to step in and regulate activity
on private land.
'Disgruntled Neighbors'
Off-road enthusiasts say the county is the national epicenter for their
sport, in part because international motocross champion Jeremy McGrath
regularly trains at his private 98-acre track in Aguanga.
"We have a few disgruntled neighbors and they're trying to fix the problem
by stepping on the whole of Riverside County," said Jack McGrath, Jeremy's
father, who attended the hearing.

More than 48,000 off-road vehicles are licensed in Riverside County and some
150,000 off-road vehicles are registered in the neighboring counties of San
Bernardino, Orange and San Diego, according to the Riverside County Planning
Edward Moreland, spokesman for the American Motorcyclist Association, a
Washington D.C., motorcycle advocacy group, said he is optimistic about the
commission's reluctance to recommend such a stringent law. The planning
commission on Wednesday agreed to work with the association to craft
off-road rules that would address the noise and environmental concerns
voiced by opponents.
But Michael Gray, a resident of Mead Valley, said off-roading has ruined his
rural tranquility.
"This is a great abuse. There's hardly an evening that goes by when I get to
sit out and enjoy a quiet evening," Gray said.
Commissioner James Porras said society is in flux and nobody lives in
isolation and that issues like the controversy over off-roading are not
likely to go away.
"Things change. People come. Developments occur," Porras said.
Dan Silver, executive director of Endangered Habitats League, said
off-roading creates "intrinsic and unavoidable environmental damage," and
that the ordinance does not go far enough.
He said that off-roading should be completely banned from private property.
But he also advocates the creation of more off-roading parks.
The state is in the planning stages of developing an OHV recreational area
on more than 1,200 acres near Highway 60 and Interstate 10, but off-roaders
who purchased private property to pursue their hobby say they should not be
forced to go there.
Recent Court Setback

Private property rights advocates already suffered a blow last week when the
U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld government rights to take privately owned
land, houses and businesses and transfer it to other private entities to
develop that land -- even when property owners don't want to sell.
"The property rights of everybody are at risk and at the behest of whatever
the majority thinks is proper conduct," Ralph Rossum, director of the Rose
Institute of State and Local Government, an arm of Claremont McKenna
College, which conducts research on California government and politics, said
of the Riverside County proposal..
He said he doesn't think the dust and noise argument is enough of a nuisance
to require a new law.
A scenario that would justify some sort of intervention would be if a
facility was burning old tires and sending noxious fumes into neighboring
properties, he said.
But John Eastman, a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University
School of Law, disagrees.
Eastman described himself as a vigorous defender of property rights. But he
said property owners also have a right to enjoy their properties peacefully.

"You're not supposed to be regulated unless it's interfering with your
neighbor's equal right to use his own property and the peace and enjoyment
of his own property."
Specific Rules Urged
The key for resolving these sorts of disputes is for local governments to
issue ordinances that use specific language. Several years ago in Redondo
Beach, for instance, residents complained that neighborhood dogs were
barking too loudly.
It would have been unfair if the city banned dogs from yards, he said.
Instead, the city adopted a rule that said dogs couldn't bark above a
certain decibel level.
A reasonable compromise in the off-road dispute might be for county
regulators to set a decibel-level standard for off-road vehicles, he said.
"The line should be drawn along the level of the nuisance," he said.

· Registered
7,096 Posts
Update: 8/31 meeting

From the Riverside Press Enterprise


Off-road noise rule finds favor

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Officials will revisit the issue. Backers and foes turned out to speak.

11:47 PM PDT on Thursday, September 1, 2005

By KIMBERLY TRONE / The Press-Enterprise

The Riverside County Planning Commission ended a marathon meeting on proposed off-road-vehicle restrictions late Wednesday by calling for a noise ordinance and enforcement of current dust-control and environmental laws.

The commission will revisit the off-road issue Oct. 26, giving planners time to draft a compromise that would address widespread concerns about the impacts of off-road activity.

Some off-road enthusiasts viewed the commission's direction as a victory in their long-running battle to ride on private property without special permits, mandatory fencing and limits on the numbers of vehicles.

"We're ecstatic. This is great news," said Aguanga property owner John Diciaula, adding that most of his off-road acquaintances support a noise ordinance.

But Pam Nelson, of Aguanga in southwest Riverside County, who supports strict environmental oversight, said she was not sure what to think about the outcome of Wednesday's meeting.

"Everything is up in the air," Nelson said Thursday. "I don't think there is anything certain for either side."

Planning Commissioner John Snell said noise, dust and trespassing are the critical issues involving off-road vehicle activities in the county.

Snell said there are rules to address dust problems and riders who trespass, but no county law exists to limit noise.

The proposal the commission considered Wednesday would have capped the number of vehicles allowed to operate on a property and would have restricted riding to four hours a day. It also laid out a permit process for several off-road activities.

The commission unanimously agreed the proposal was complicated and not ready to go to the county Board of Supervisors for approval.

"We are going to strip it so a regular person can read it and understand," Snell said.

He emphasized there will be an off-road vehicle ordinance to require spark arresters, mufflers and sound limits based on a 20-inch distance from the muffler. The future ordinance will restrict riding hours from sometime in the early morning to the evening, Snell said.

Michael Fitts, a lawyer with the environmental watchdog organization Endangered Habitats League, said the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan adopted by the county in 2003 obligates it to safeguard land that could potentially become part of a future reserve.

The best solution is for the county to create off-road parks and ban riding in other areas, Fitts said.

"If these large blocks of habitat are decimated by (off-road vehicle) use, it undermines the foundation of the (habitat plan)," Fitts said. "We want to work with the county and other interested people to make sure any ordinance is consistent with the plan."

Snell said the off-road rules would be the first item on the commission's Oct. 26 agenda.

Scores of supporters and opponents of the proposal turned out Wednesday; some waited up to 10 hours to speak.

Several left in frustration before they could address the commission.

Morgan Levine, trail boss for Desert Adventures Jeep Eco-Tours in the Coachella Valley, arrived at the Planning Commission meeting at 1:30 p.m. and left after 10 p.m. without having her name called.

The off-road proposals were on the 3 p.m. calendar, but the hearing did not get under way until 8 p.m.

"I spent all this time and drove all that way to speak up for my business," Levine said. "It was not fair. They called the people who were for the ordinance first even though they showed up hours later than me."

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or [email protected]

· Registered
7,096 Posts
Ordinance Passed

Again from the Riverside Press Enterprise.

I am a County of Riverside employee and sent an email to all of the supervisors explaining my opposition to this ordinance using my County email account.:D Guess it wasn’t enough.:(

Riders facing new rules

SUPERVISORS: The board votes to put new limits on off-road vehicles on privately owned land.

10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The Press-Enterprise


The ordinance will limit riding on private property in unincorporated areas, but it will take several months to go into effect and could result in a legal challenge from groups of property owners.

Riverside County supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to impose new restrictions on the use of off-road vehicles on private property.
Supervisor Jeff Stone, whose district includes rural areas where off-roaders have purchased large swaths of land for riding, dissented.
Stone said the broad-brush approach taken by the board will penalize law-abiding residents. Instead, he said, the county should enforce a noise ordinance adopted by the supervisors earlier in the day.
"I fear we are creating a large, bureaucratic debacle," Stone said.
Supervisor Bob Buster said the county needs a framework to begin dealing with a problem that has divided neighborhoods and caused great distress among many of his constituents who are bothered by noise and dust from the vehicles.
The board agreed to review the off-roading plan six months after it goes into effect to see what adjustments need to be made.
Deputy County Counsel Katherine Lind said it will take several months to get the ordinance on the books because it involves a general-plan amendment and a potential court challenge.
The new rules will allow off-roading on private property in the unincorporated areas only between noon and 5 p.m.
Property owners who wish to use their land for off-roading will be required to obtain a county conditional use permit and only certain properties qualify for such a permit.
The proposal allows just one off-road vehicle or dirt bike per 10-acre parcel. Supervisors said the rules will be complaint-driven, so off-roaders who keep the noise down are not likely to attract the attention of enforcement officials.
Owners of 5-acre properties in zones where riding is allowed will be required to obtain notarized signatures of permission from all contiguous neighbors before riding on their property.
The new rules exempt vehicles used for eco-tourism, agricultural or property maintenance but require approved spark arresters on all off-road vehicles.
The supervisors' decision culminated 18 months of debate between county leaders and residents over how to strike a balance between the rights of those who want to ride on their land and neighbors who want peace and quiet.
Almost 100 people spoke in favor and against the rules during the public hearing, which lasted almost four hours.
Many supporters of the ordinance told the supervisors that they had become hostages in their own homes to neighbors who set up illegal tracks in their backyards and rode motorcycles for hours at a time.
Selina Steele, who lives in the Temecula wine country, said the new rules give consideration to the health and well-being of all the residents in the unincorporated area.
"Now I hope they enforce them," Steele said.
A representative of the state Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division attended Tuesday's hearing to oppose the restrictions.
"This ordinance is unenforceable, and it makes a legal recreational activity illegal," said Tom Bernardo, a state park superintendent and a peace officer.
Ed Moreland, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based motorcycle advocacy group American Motorcyclist Association, said his organization and members of the local off-road community will use the next several months to work with the supervisors in an attempt to strike a compromise.
"This is outrageous what the county has done," said John Diciaula, an Aguanga off-roader. "They just turned Riverside County families into criminals."
Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or [email protected]

· Registered
143 Posts
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I have a friend that lives in a rural area that is plagued by a property owner whose kids ride loud dirt bikes from dawn to dusk. Numerous attempts to reach some sort of compromise on the issues of dust and noise were rejected. So, out came the the hired guns (lawyers) hired by the affected neigbors and got the kids shut down using various methods of legalese.

The point of this story is that sometimes a little give and take will protect the right to ride. In this case, the riders lost everything because they were unwilling to compromise.

The older I get and the more I'm subjected to assholes with loud pipes and stereos on the trail, the less tolerent I am. I've been off roading for 50 years and I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the problems plaguing the OHV community are brought on by the lack of simple manners or consideration for the non-motorized public land users.

As Pogo once said. "I have met the enemy and it is us" or words to that effect.

· Premium Member
29,325 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
McGrath was never unwilling to work with everybody. He required stock pipes and bought a water truck. Hell, he bought the land to try and not piss anybody off.

The Ama should enforce a mandatory sound limit on OEM's AND AFTERMARKET suppliers.

Davi Millsaps, another pro in Georgia is having his place out in the country shut down for the same reasons.

Stock exhaust, sound barriers and watering trucks would stop most of this.

· Registered
14,155 Posts
At the same time, the county is home to dozens of rare species of animals
and plants that are in danger of extinction because of encroaching home
development and off-road vehicle activity, said Dan Silver, executive
director for the Los Angeles-based Endangered Habitats League.
I didn't realize dirt was an endangered species.

· Premium Member
4,945 Posts
This has been going on for quite some time. Glad to see alittle interest. This effects more then just bikes. My ability to drive on my private rock racing course will be effected as well.


Bob Buster called for an all out ban of OHV use in Riv Co at the meeting last month. The County board of supervisors has decided that the area I have lived in my whole life is no longer rural and things that are not city like should be banned. Horses are next on there list, mark my words.

· Registered
18,981 Posts
ORBA Press Release on this:


Meg Grossglass

Media Relations




Riverside County Approves OHV and Noise Ordinances That Effectively Ban OHV Use

On Private Property. Jeremy McGrath, Rick Johnson, Nathan Ramsey, and Andrew Short Sign Autographs Before the Meeting to Support Family OHV Use.

BAKERSFIELD,CA (March 29, 2006.) From 10:30am -12:30pm Jeremy McGrath, Rick Johnson, Nathan Ramsey, and Andrew Short signed autographs in front of the Riverside County Administration Center in an attempt to show the County that as written this ordinance will restrict families from recreating together on their own property. Approximately two hundred parents and kids, many wearing the gear they ride in, attended the meeting and received autographed posters from some of the most respected names in the Industry.

The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), EcoLogic, The McGrath Family and several residents have been working with the county for the past 18 months on this issue. Ed Moreland, Vice President of Governmental Relations for the AMA added “despite thoughtful comment from national, state, and local rider organizations, small businesses, the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and literally hundreds of riders in attendance, the Supervisors voted almost unanimously to criminalize families who recreate together on private property while offering no real solutions for penalizing those who are truly riding illegally”.

“Between the noise ordinance, which is the most restrictive of it’s kind that I have ever heard of, along with the OHV ordinance, the Supervisors have banned OHV use for the average property owner” stated Meg Grossglass of ORBA. According to Jack McGrath “The noise ordinance makes it impossible to start our motorcycles and the OHV ordinance makes us criminals when we ride them.” David Hubbard, attorney for Ecologic, stated”I am very disappointed in the actions taken by the board today and my clients are looking at every political and legal alternative available”.


ORBA is a national trade association comprised of off-road related businesses united to promote common goals that support the prosperity and growth of the off-road industry.

Meg Grossglass

Membership Representative

& Media Relations

ORBA Off-Road Business Association

1701 Westwind Drive #216

Bakersfield, CA 93301

direct to Meg 951-926-1953

951-415-1869 cell

Coporate Office 661-323-1464

Corporate Fax 661-323-1487

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7,096 Posts
UPDATE: Our side fights back.

Coalition sounds off over noise restrictions
LAWSUIT: An off-road group says Riverside County's rules ignore private-property rights.

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Press-Enterprise

A coalition of off-road industry organizations has filed a lawsuit challenging Riverside County's new restrictions on noise and off-road-vehicle use on private property.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Riverside County Superior Court, alleges the county's rules governing noise and off-road vehicles violate state law and ignore private-property rights.

Riverside County has essentially banned recreational riding on private property, said Fred Wiley, executive director of the Off-Road Business Association.

The association was one of about a half-dozen groups represented in the lawsuit.

Wiley estimated 300 of the association's 500 commercial members are located in the Inland region, which he says has the highest rate of off-road-vehicle use in the nation.

The area has become a magnet for off-road enthusiasts who can no longer find open spaces in the urbanized coastal counties, Wiley said.

Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley said the lawsuit was no surprise.

"The area is changing and people are becoming more aware of disturbances to the private enjoyment of their property. There are two sides to this," Ashley said.

Supervisors approved an ordinance March 28 to limit noise in most residential areas of the unincorporated county to a maximum of 55 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 45 decibels during the night. A normal conversation is about 60 decibels.

The supervisors approved a second rule that would allow off-roading on private property only between noon and 5 p.m.

The ordinance would permit just one off-road vehicle or dirt bike per 10-acre parcel, and that parcel must be appropriately zoned.

Since enforcement of the rules for off-road vehicles would be driven by complaints, supervisors said there should be no problems if off-roaders muffle their noise.

Supervisor Jeff Stone opposed the rules, saying they were too restrictive.

The lawsuit challenges the provision in the ordinance that requires users of off-road vehicles to carry a permission slip from a landowner indicating the vehicle user is authorized to ride on the property in question.

The suit contends state law forbids counties from adopting ordinances that require permission to travel through vacant, unmarked property.

While the noise ordinance is set to go into effect in early May, Riverside County Deputy Counsel Katherine Lind said the off-road restrictions are still months away from going on the books because the county must amend its general plan.

The off-road coalition is asking the court to block the new ordinances, but Lind said the county would begin enforcing the noise limits early next month unless a judge grants the request.

Reach Kimberly Trone at (951) 368-9456 or [email protected]

· Chubby Chaser
24,913 Posts
That's good to see.
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