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The Commons
Town and Village

Putney bylaws allow motocross

Two motocross events will come to Putney in 2013

Originally published in The Commons issue #181 (Wednesday, December 5, 2012).

PUTNEY—The town has determined that two upcoming motocross races do not fall under the jurisdiction of any town ordinances or bylaws, and the Selectboard has declined to establish any.

After having run the Davenport Trucking Wild West GP race on Oct. 7 — which Selectboard members said went unnoticed by them — Tim Harlow is organizing the 2013 J Day Winter Triple Crown, the second of a three-part event that takes place on David Brewer’s property on Feb. 17. Another event will take place in the fall.

The first and third races will take place in Greenfield, Mass.

“We have nothing on our books as far as ordinances or zoning that covers this event that prohibits them from doing it,” Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said, adding that Town Attorney Richard Coutant concurs.

Coutant determined that the noise ordinance covers “persistent, repetitive, and recurring” events. A second ordinance prohibits the operation of unmuffled engines, but Stoddard said that Harlow told her these are “not unmuffled engines.”

At the board’s Nov. 28 meeting, Stoddard reported that Harlow is working to reduce the potential for any damage the event might cause. J Day Off Road (, the event organizer, will provide emergency services, and traffic is not likely to cause much disturbance, Stoddard said, as the participants arrive in the early hours and leave very late.

Stoddard said that Harlow visited neighbors to tell them about the event and received no complaints. She told board members that she had suggested that Harlow visit additional neighbors.

Board members also considered creating event ordinances, but decided that doing so would create an unwanted precedent.

“I would say the less regulation on this the better,” said Selectboard member R. Scott Henry. “I don’t think that’s a direction we want to go in.”

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