The proposed motocross track in Fort Ann is an opportunity for residents to discuss what they want Fort Ann to look like in the future.
If you are not familiar with motocross, it is essentially lightweight motorcycles racing on dirt tracks. You’ve probably seen professional races on ESPN, where there is a good chance you paused to watch the action.
Motocross racing is compelling motorsports at its best, but it is also loud.
Tracy and Dan Monahan, who live next door to where the proposed track is planned, have organized tonight’s informational meeting at the Fort Ann firehouse so residents have a chance to learn about the project and their concerns about noise. It is also on the agenda for the June 27 Town Board meeting.
“My biggest question is, what this is going to do for the town?” Dan Monahan told The Post-Star last week.
That is a valid question and one we would urge town residents to consider in broad strokes.
We understand the Monahans’ concerns about noise — we doubt many people would want to live next door to a vibrant motocross track — but without zoning laws, there is little the Monahans can do to prevent it. In light of that, they might want to consider what a successful motocross track could do for their community.
But there are larger issues to consider here.
First, there is an ongoing discussion in Washington County about how to draw more tourists and visitors to the region.
A successful motocross track could do exactly that for Fort Ann. It could make Fort Ann a destination for regional races and raise its identity beyond a crossroads between Vermont and the Northway — beyond a place with some significant Revolutionary War roots.
A successful motocross track could draw tourists from Lake George and Saratoga in the summer, and lead to a more vibrant business district.
This could be good economic jolt for Fort Ann and could be a place that could create jobs.
But that means that Fort Ann residents must consider change. The town is a quiet residential area with plenty of farmland left, but that also makes it ripe for business ventures, and they must acknowledge that.
If Fort Ann residents want to have any control about the way the town is shaped in the future, they might want to consider some smart zoning.
After a recent controversy over a Dollar General store, the village of Schuylerville decided to review zoning again and may pass a zoning initiative it previously rejected.
Fort Ann residents might want to put that on the agenda tonight as well.
While there may be little the Monahans can do to stop this motocross track, residents should know that the next business might be a slaughterhouse or rock quarry that affects even more residents and their quality of life.
Smart zoning might be a good insurance policy.