I find the argument that the noise, fumes and destruction caused by an all-terrain vehicle can somehow be likened to a jet flying out of our airport or a truck driving on our streets somewhat thoughtless.
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We, as a community, can all agree that we need the airport for the services it provides. We can also all agree that reasonable and useful vehicular traffic is necessary for us to enjoy our homes and work here.
I am certain that only ATV enthusiasts would agree that we should allow our neighbors to suffer for their personal enjoyment. What service does this "sport" provide to me that would compel me to allow it in my backyard? What's more, when we buy our land and build our homes, we know where the airport is and what the flight paths are, we know where the roads are and must accept them if we wish to build our homes there. This is what we choose.
But in the case of the ATV area, our homes are here, deep in forested land, away from all the traffic that might plague others, because this is what we chose. It was always our understanding that the land behind our homes would become residential properties. The noise from jets and street traffic is to be shared by almost everyone in the community, fairly and equally. But the noise from this park will only be suffered by a handful of homeowners. Homeowners that chose their land and homes for reasons completely opposed to what the ATV area will bring.
In my opinion, the noise developed by this "sport" is of the worst type, high-pitched and continually varying like a chainsaw. It carries for miles in every direction, and irritates the very core of my peace. The noise of jets and traffic are typically low and constant, and more importantly short-lived. The noise of this park is scheduled to run from early morning to midnight.
I apologize for earlier remarks that might have portrayed all ATV riders as criminals or drunks, I am certain they are not. But enough have continually shown their irresponsible behavior, as witnessed on other lands in our area, to mark them all in some way. Why should they be rewarded with a new park? Why are they being kicked out or trying to leave their current place?
I think most people in this community would agree that what the ATV riders seek in North Douglas is extremely selfish by every definition. This park will be about the length of a football field from our property, and we all have already built our homes deep on our properties to put us as far as possible from road noise. Think about running 20 to 50 chain saws at the other end of the football field, all at once, for years, all day long, all evening long. It is nonsensical to think that this is even remotely fair.
In a nutshell, ATVs offer no valued service to the whole community and worse, this park will greatly impair current citizens' rights to the pursuit of their happiness.
I believe that by all definitions this is "selfish." I am deeply surprised that our taxes would even be considered for this use considering the eventual harm to landowners, fellow citizens and taxpayers. If the City is intent on giving these riders a new place to use, find an appropriate place - this clearly is not one.
I would rather call this activity a "diversion," not a sport, and I should not have to pay in any way for someone else's "diversions."
Bob Hunsick is a Juneau resident.
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