INTRODUCTION - Florida Trail Riders

Document Sample
INTRODUCTION - Florida Trail Riders Powered By Docstoc
					                                                            Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                        Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 1

                                            Since this type of activity is currently
The development of this Off-Highway         not in St. Lucie County, the Airport
Vehicle (OHV) Park Feasibility Plan is      recruited County staff members and
in response to a request by many of the     members of the community to act as the
OHV enthusiasts that have recently          Steering Committee for the development
approached the St. Lucie Board of           of this Feasibility Plan. The interested
County       Commissioners        (Board)   community         members        included
regarding the construction of an off-       citizens, OHV sales representatives, and
highway vehicle riding area in St. Lucie    manufacturers. The Steering Committee
County. The citizens concerns are about     met seven times since April to develop
the large number of OHV enthusiasts         this Feasibility Plan for the proposed
that do not have a place for this type of   OHV trail riding area at the Airport. See
recreation. Currently, OHV riding is        Exhibit II for a copy of the minutes for
conducted primarily on non-public lands     each of the Steering Committee's
without regard to borders, environmental    meetings.
consideration, or safety. This results in
illegal and often unsafe riding of OHVs.    It is staff’s intent that the resources of
See Exhibit I for a copy of the February    the Steering Committee will continue to
25, 2004, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)         be used to oversee facility development
Park       Memorandum          requesting   and operations of the OHV Park if the
permission to proceed with the              Board approves this use.
development of an OHV Park Feasibility
Plan.                                       PURPOSE AND NEED:

Due to the size requirements of an OHV      Communities need to provide safe,
facility, the issue of using St. Lucie      quality opportunities for outdoor
County International Airport as a riding    recreation that meet the needs and
area was discussed. As a result of the      desires of their citizens. Traditionally,
many discussions that the off-road          communities have provided open
vehicle enthusiasts have had with the       lands for sporting activities that we
Commissioners, on April 27, 2004 the        would typically consider recreational in
Board instructed staff to develop an Off-   nature, such as soccer, baseball,
Highway       Vehicle      (OHV)     Park   swimming, and picnicking. As indicated
Feasibility Plan. Based on the Board        by the       growing popularity of
direction of April 27th, the Airport has    off-highway vehicle recreation, there is a
assumed responsibility for developing a     need to provide space and facilities for
Feasibility Plan to address the issues      off-road vehicle recreationists.
associated with the development of an
OHV riding area in St. Lucie County.        The goal of this off-highway vehicle
The original intent of the development of   recreation area is to provide diverse and
this Feasibility Plan was to develop an     challenging opportunities for off-road
interim site that can be used while         enthusiasts. This will be accomplished
excess profits are escrowed so that a       by providing trails, scramble and rally
permanent site can be purchased and         areas, vehicle testing areas, and special
developed.                                  event    facilities   to    accommodate
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                    August 2004 – page 2

motorcyclists, all-terrain vehicle (ATV)     recreational area that provides for a
riders, and bicyclists with varying skill    variety    of    off-highway   driving
levels.                                      experiences.

IDENTIFICATION OF DEMAND                                          Registered OHVs
                                             St. Lucie County            1627
Currently, there are no legal riding areas   Treasure Coast              4,555
for off-highway vehicles in St. Lucie        Within 100 miles           30,331
County. However, as evidenced by the         Within 200 miles           88,076
continuous trespassing on private and        STATEWIDE                 102,455
public land, there is a definite need for
areas designated for off-highway vehicle     ILLEGAL ACTIVITY
use. Population growth, specifically in
Port St. Lucie, has drawn attention to the   Crossroads Commerce Park, the
countywide shortage of appropriate and       Savannahs, FEC, the Gatlin Boulevard
legal areas to ride off-highway vehicles.    area and many other formerly remote
                                             areas have long been used as riding areas
An OHV Park as defined by this               for off-highway vehicles. However, as
Feasibility Plan is a place for family and   development pressures have caused off-
community based recreational activities.     highway enthusiasts to clash with
As identified by the Steering Committee,     homeowners. These unregulated riding
the OHV Park can also provide                areas have never been able to adequately
educational          programs,         and   address environmental and social
environmentally enhancing activities.        concerns.

While some may consider OHV and              By providing a site that can be
other recreational vehicle sports a small    developed with environmental and social
phenomenon, the statistics prove             concerns, the OHV Park could serve an
otherwise. There are more than 529,000       affluent, educated community that would
off-highway vehicle clubs worldwide,         naturally lend itself to community-
and a local Florida off-highway vehicle      building and educational and ecological
organization’s website receives more         activities including nature conservation
than 32,000 hits annually to their           and education, rider training and safety,
website listing safety and consumer tips,    multi-use      trails,   camping,     and
as well as locations for families and        picnicking. This OHV Park would also
individuals to ride.                         provide opportunities for comfortable
                                             collaboration between government,
In 2002, the State Legislature passed        private citizens, and special-interest
legislation to require all OHVs that are     groups. For example, County Extension
used on public property be registered.       educators would find the facility a
The following table depicts the              perfect location for safety education and
registered OHV through June 2004.            an awesome teaching tool to help new
                                             and transitional residents understand the
The OHV Park, as outlined by the             ecological and natural beauty of Florida
Steering Committee, must be developed        and how to maintain and appreciate
and managed as a highly regulated            both.
                                                               Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                           Feasibility Plan
                                                                      August 2004 – page 3

                                              tourism opportunities for individuals and
COMMUNITY BENEFITS                            groups to visit the area, the potential for
                                              additional income to the area is
The community benefits of creating an         substantial.
OHV Park are numerous. Any family-
oriented activity a community provides        Providing       safe,     family-friendly
helps to improve the quality of life in       opportunities for recreation is a high
that area. A good quality of life is one of   priority for many Americans, and
the top priorities of professionals and job   addressing this priority is a proven
seekers considering a move to any area,       financial boom for areas, which have
and is often the deciding factor when a       done so in the past. The State of
position is offered. A strong, family-        California brings in more than $2 billion
oriented community provides multiple          each year from OHV facilities, which
opportunities to its members to spend         provide structured riding for individuals
time together in the outdoors, and offers     and families.
safety and environmental educational
venues to help raise community and            St. Lucie County could be on the cutting
environmental       awareness.     Family-    edge by addressing this need;
friendly communities see a significantly      particularly since the State of Florida is
lower rate of crime, substance abuse, and     interested in exploring and creating new
vandalism, all of which are attributed to     OHV facilities to meet the growing need
the positive opportunities provided by        in the State.
the community to its members. While an
OHV facility would provide a fun place        With the implementation of the T. Mark
for families to stay and grow together, it    Schmidt Safety and Recreation Act of
would also help enhance the quality of        2002, all new OHVs sold in the State of
living in St. Lucie County for                Florida and used on public lands must be
community members of all ages.                titled by the Department of Highway
                                              Safety and Motor Vehicles. A
Also to be considered is the possibility      percentage of the titling fees go into a
of this OHV Park being created as a           trust fund to help develop new OHV
mixed-use facility, wherein hikers,           areas. Florida Statutes, Chapter 261 of
mountain bikers, and other non-               this act speaks to OHV safety and
motorized users could enjoy the               recreation and attempts to provide new
facilities, or a portion thereof. This        areas for OHV’s in order to sustain long-
would also benefit the area and provide       term     use    and     minimize      the
one more outlet for physical activity,        environmental impact of OHV’s.
family-oriented use, and economic
benefit to St. Lucie County.                  The number of OHV’s in Florida has
                                              more than doubled in the last ten years,
ECONOMIC BENEFIT                              and the State of Florida is very actively
                                              attempting to develop a system of OHV
The economic benefits of a family-            recreational areas and trails on public
oriented facility are tremendous. In          lands within the state.
addition to bringing families closer
together and providing recreational and
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                    August 2004 – page 4

To this end, Chris Reed, the Off             The five catch a movie on Friday
Highway Vehicle Coordinator for the          evening at the NOVA Cinemas, and stop
State, is working with the University of     for an ice cream cone afterwards. The
Florida on an Economic Impact Study,         fourteen-year-old son dashes into Publix
which should be initiated during the         because he’s forgotten to pack his hair
month of August. This study will look        gel, and while there, the crew grabs
into the economic benefits and pitfalls of   some juice boxes and deli meats for
an OHV facility in Florida. This             tomorrow’s picnic.
information will help add credibility to
what St. Lucie County’s Steering             After a great night’s sleep, the crew
Committee already knows, that the            grabs a bite to eat at a nearby coffee
addition of an OHV Facility would be a       shop, and heads to the Airport OHV
tremendous economic impact to the area,      Park, where they pay their entrance fee,
both directly, through use fees, and         don their helmets, and head out for a few
indirectly, through trailside businesses,    hours of fun and thrills. The ten year old
hotels, restaurants, repair, customization   enrolls in and takes a morning safety
and parts suppliers, and other               education class provided by local
recreational activities in the area.         Cooperative      Extension      staff   in
                                             cooperation with the St. Lucie County
The results of the Feasibility Study being   Sheriff’s Department, while the rest of
prepared by St. Lucie County and the         the group rides through the morning.
Economic       Impact       Study    being
coordinated by Chris Reed and the            Dinner after a great day of riding is a
University of Florida should help bolster    super experience, and the whole family
a case for tourism dollars to be funneled    enjoys a walk on the beach at sunset,
into these efforts in St. Lucie County.      before playing a round of miniature golf
                                             at the new place that just opened near
An example of the benefits of creating       the OHV park, and the family retires
such a facility follows:                     early, but not until they’ve brushed their
                                             teeth after the post-golf ice cream cone.
Tom and Mary Jones and their three           Tomorrow they’ll enjoy a planned
kids (10, 12, and 14) are heading north      activity/special event at the OHV Park,
from Miami to Fort Pierce for a              which will offer riding, and special
weekend of riding. When they exit the        activities to help learn about other
turnpike at Okeechobee Road, they stop       things going on in the area. Mary
in to grab a bite to eat at a nearby         already wants to come back to visit
restaurant, and fill their tank with fuel.   Heathcote Botanical Garden, and Tom
Mary picks up a couple of bags of            has heard that Fairwinds is a great
oranges to toss in the cooler for snacks,    place for a round of golf. Meanwhile, the
and the crew is on their way to check in     kids are doing their own planning, trying
at their hotel. The kids share the room      to figure out when the next three-day
adjoining to their parents, so two more      weekend off is, so they can grab some
hotel rooms are now booked for the           friends and do a multi-family riding
weekend.                                     weekend next time.
                                                            Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                        Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 5

No less than 14 businesses benefited              Community dances/block parties
from the Jones family’s weekend of fun            Hot Air Balloon Festival
in St. Lucie County. That’s not including         Conservation Day
any maintenance, repair, or upgrades the              o Sponsored and staffed by
family may have chosen to include while                   OHV enthusiasts and
they were in the area.                                    clubs
                                                  Senior Citizen Days
And you can be certain that the Jones                 o Including      rides  and
family will share the experience with                     special activities for
other members of their OHV club and                       community seniors
friends from work and school, which is
the kind of tourism advertising that        SOCIAL BENEFITS
money simply cannot buy.            The
economic benefits for pre-existing          The social benefits of any family-
businesses are tremendous, and the          oriented, community activity are
opportunity for new trailside businesses    obvious. In addition to individuals and
and special events, including charitable    families utilizing the facility, the OHV
and     community      fundraisers,   is    Park could also be used for other family-
phenomenal!                                 oriented activities, including: picnics,
                                            reunions, business outings, special
Examples of other possible special          events, educational venues, fundraisers,
events that could be planned for the new    conservation opportunities, teambuilding
facility include:                           exercises. OHV riding is a family-
                                            oriented recreation. OHV’s are designed
      Pumpkin Run                          and built for all ages.
      Scavenger Hunts
      Eco-Educational Rides                Because a structured, sanctioned
      Trail Clean Up                       location for riding will have been made
           o Coordinated by Users and       available, the residents of St. Lucie
               OHV Clubs                    County would be pleased to welcome:
      Halloween Haunted Family Trail
       Ride                                       More controlled riding
           o Featuring            safety          A decrease in 911 calls
               education,                         A proven activity to help prevent
           o Free vehicle and helmet               and        decrease       juvenile
               checks,                             delinquency
           o Low/reduced cost helmet              Opportunities to help educate,
               replacement sponsored by            and raise awareness of situations,
               OHV clubs.                          which provoke road rage. OHV
      Fundraiser for Area Scholarships            facilities and structured riding
           o Sponsored by clubs and                opportunities have been shown to
               local businesses                    consistently help prevent road
      Ice cream socials and community             rage
       picnics                                    A reduction in the inmate
      Moonlight rides                             population, since the delinquency
                                                              Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                          Feasibility Plan
                                                                     August 2004 – page 6

       rate    would      decrease     and   irresponsible to offer an OHV park
       economic benefits would provide       without also including important safety
       less reason for criminal activity.    education and training opportunities.
                                             Historically, all-terrain vehicles are sold
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS                       with little or no training provided to
                                             anyone but the person actually making
All recreational park’s, in particular,      the purchase. Manufacturers of these
OHV Park's must address environmental        vehicles place the responsibility of
concerns. OHV Park's typically come          training and safety education on the
under greater scrutiny than most projects    buyer, typically a parent or guardian.
to     ensure    that    they    address     This is a recipe for danger and can lead
environmental protection. The most           to the incidence of serious physical and
critical environmental and social issues     property damage. While parents and
that must be addressed are wetlands, air     guardians should obviously be the main
and sound quality, threatened and            source of data and education for
endangered species, and cultural             children, the reality is that many adults
resources. Every effort should be made       are not in complete control of their
to avoid development in environmentally      vehicles. By offering a safe, structured
sensitive areas.                             place to educate, train, and ride OHV’s,
                                             St. Lucie County would also be placing
An OHV park would…                           itself at the forefront in the state as an
                                             OHV Training Ground.
      Help prevent the spread of less
       desirous grasses in the area          Grants and funding are available through
      Decrease the incidence of illegal     safety education, government, and
       riding     on       environmental     manufacturers to help provide training
       properties                            and safety education, all of which lead to
      Increase the safety and pristine      more responsible drivers both on and
       quality of important environ-         off-road. This has the potential to help
       mental wetlands                       decrease insurance costs for motorists in
      Provide a natural firebreak to        the area, something, which everyone
       help eliminate dangerous and          would welcome.
       land-threatening brush fires.
                                             Fine educational institutions like Indian
By creating a separate, legal facility for   River Community College (IRCC) and
OHV enthusiasts, trespassing and illegal     the community educators at Cooperative
riding     activities would     decrease     Extension, and Environmental Resources
considerably, helping to preserve the        would be a natural collaborator on such
delicate and pristine natural beauty of      a program of safety, and environmental
this area.                                   education, as would local and state law
                                             enforcement officials. Because OHV’s
EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS                         are also used in agricultural settings,
                                             Cooperative Extension would be the
Because an OHV is a powerful piece of        most likely coordinator of agricultural
motorized equipment, it would be             training, and could partner with the
                                             County to write and receive grants and
                                                               Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                           Feasibility Plan
                                                                      August 2004 – page 7

funding to help implement training and        in the Croom riding area. See Exhibit III
safe driver programs.                         for sample copies of liability waivers
                                              and rules and regulations
There are also opportunities for
environmental and cultural education,         Mr. Reed also mentioned that the State
particularly involving this region, which     Legislature has recognized that there are
is rich in history and natural beauty.        inherent risks associated with equestrian
Collaborations with local museums,            related activities.
botanical gardens, organizations, and
clubs are a natural outcropping of this       According to the State Legislature, these
ambitious venture.                            inherent risks may result in injury, harm,
                                              or death to persons on or around horses.
LEGAL ISSUES                                  As a result, the State Legislature has
                                              granted protection to those entities
There are always legal concerns when          involved in equestrian activities. As a
considering this type of venture.             result, no participant shall have any
However, according to the Off Highway         claim for injury, loss, damage, or death
Vehicle Coordinator for the State of          of the participant resulting from any of
Florida, the largest concern is, as           the inherent risks of equestrian activities.
expected, an issue of liability.
                                              Mr. Reed mentioned that there is an
Pursuant to Section 768.28, Florida           effort in the legislative system to pass
Statutes, the County’s tort liability is      laws similar to equestrian laws that
limited to $100,000 per individual claim      would limit the liability of agencies and
with an aggregate of $200,000 for all         managers of public OHV sites.
claims arising from a single incident. In
the event a judgment exceeds this             As a remedy, a public agency may need
amount, the plaintiff does have the           to promulgate rules for an OHV area to
option of seeking a claims bill through       help limit liability and ensure adequate
the Legislature for payment in excess of      law-enforcement capability.
these limits.
                                              INJURY REPORT
However, the State is currently working
hard to deal with the issue of liability      In 2001, the U.S. Consumer Product
and hopes to have additional information      Safety Commission (CPSC) and
in the very near future.                      members of the OHV industry
                                              conducted studies related to injuries and
Chris Reed suggested that the Steering        exposure with regard to OHV riding.
Committee and St. Lucie County might
want to consider contracting out the          Since 1997 there has been an increase in
maintenance and daily operation of any        injuries associated with ATV's. In 1997
OHV/OHV facility, including law               there were an estimated 54,700 injuries
enforcement, site maintenance, and            treated in hospital emergency rooms.
wildlife officers, which might also take      2001 the number had risen by over 100
some of the liability burden away. Reed       percent to 111,700.
also stated that liability waivers are used
                                                            Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                        Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 8

A copy of the All-terrain Vehicle 2001      ENVIRONMENTAL LANDS
Injury and Exposure Studies dated 2003
produced by the Consumer Product            Since many of the off-road vehicle
Safety Commission is included as            enthusiasts have targeted environment-
Exhibit IV.                                 tally sensitive areas for off-road vehicle
                                            riding, the Steering Committee discussed
SITE SELECTION                              the use of environmental areas as open
                                            trails for use by OHV enthusiasts.
According to the Off-Highway Vehicle
Safety and Recreation Act Report            As presented to the Steering Committee
prepared by the Florida Department of       by Steve Fousek, Environmental Land
Agriculture and Consumer Services, four     Specialist, the use of environmental
more regional OHV recreation areas are      areas for use by off-road enthusiasts
needed. Croom Motorcycle Area and           causes significant changes to the natural
Ocala, Osceola and Apalachicola             environment and to the species
National Forests currently provide the      composition.
only current significant public land base
for OHV riding opportunities in Florida.    Additionally, due to many of the grant
                                            assurances associated with acquisition of
There are several geographic regions        these environmentally sensitive areas,
where the OHV riding public does not        the use of these properties as off-road
have readily accessible riding, and they    vehicle riding areas would be strictly
must drive a minimum two or three           prohibited.       As indicated in a
hours to reach one of the existing areas.   Memorandum dated August 13, 2004
Ideally, there should be public OHV         from Environmental Resources, a
recreational area within one hours          discussion with Grant Gelhadt, Florida
driving distance of most Floridians.        Communities Trust (FCT) discusses the
This would be the case if the four new      possibility of utilizing any FCT land for
areas were established.                     OHV use. According to Mr. Gelhadt,
                                            unless OHV use was specifically
According to the report, these OHV          identified in the grant application and
riding areas should be located as           management plan, it would be highly
follows:                                    unlikely that it would be authorized for
                                            such use, now or any time in the future.
      The Panhandle – at a location        Furthermore, any OHV use identified in
       between Panama City and              the grant application, would only be
       Pensacola                            allowed in areas that have been totally
      Southwest Florida – at a location    impacted by man altering activities such
       between Sarasota and Naples          as mining, where the mine cannot be
      Southeast Florida – at a location    reasonably restored. Management plans
       in the St. Lucie / Martin Counties   may be revised for OHV use, again only
      Southeast Florida – at a location    those areas that have been totally
       in the Miami-Dade / Broward          impacted and cannot be restored, may be
       County area.                         designated for that use. Conversion of
                                            natural communities to non-native
                                            vegetation, such as bahia pasture, is
                                                            Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                        Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 9

considered to be temporary and              parks properties be eliminated from
restorable. In reviewing any proposed       possible use for OHV activity.
grant applications or proposed revisions
to existing management plans, SCT           AIRPORT
would determine if the overall purpose
of this site would be compatible with       St. Lucie County International Airport is
OHV use. (i.e. can the active use be part   located three miles north of the city of
of, or a combination of the passive         Fort Pierce on St. Lucie Boulevard. The
use/intent of the project?)                 airport sits on approximately 3660 acres
                                            of land. The Airport is bordered by
Of the many projects acquired with the      Indrio Road on the north, St. Lucie
assistance of FCT, Indrio Savannahs is      Boulevard on the south, Kings Highway
the only site that contains an abandoned    on the west, and U.S. 1 on the East. The
mine that may or may not be restorable.     Airport is owned and operated by St.
This approximately five acres surrounds     Lucie County. See Exhibit V for a copy
the excavated lake that is currently used   of the proposed site plan.
for recreational fishing. OHV use at this
site is not desirable due to the minimal    NATURAL FEATURES
size of impacted area, surrounding
residential use, location of primary        There are three key factors to be
access, and overall use of the site for     considered when determining the
preservation purposes.                      feasibility of an OHV facility on public
As a result, it was the consensus of
the Steering Committee that all                1. Degree of ground disturbance or
properties designated as environmentally          land alteration
sensitive would be eliminated from             2. Noise
further consideration for an off-highway       3. Keeping riders on the trails
vehicle park.
                                            The site being considered is already
PARK LANDS                                  disturbed, and has great access through
                                            Fairwinds Golf Course Road.          The
Another discussion by the OHV Steering      Airport has plenty of property to act as
Committee was for the possible use of       noise buffers and the size of the
parks currently owned by St. Lucie          proposed site would allow for at least 30
County. The Parks Manager Paul Julin        miles of trails within the property.
responded by explaining that the
designed use of most parks are passive      ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
in nature, and other parks are for sports
activities such as football, baseball, or   According to Chris Reed, Off-Highway
soccer and that an OHV would destroy        Vehicle Coordinator for the State of
the field, thus eliminating the use for     Florida, the creation of OHV trails has
these sports. In addition, the parks are    actually been proven to positively
too small for OHV activity. It was the      impact the environment by taking away
Steering Committee’s consensus that         negative impacts being brought into
                                                              Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                          Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 10

pristine areas by         unlawful     and    There are also standards that exist that
unacceptable use.                             establish    the     test    procedures,
                                              environment, and instrumentation for
The land currently being considered at        determining the sound levels of motor
the Airport is already heavy in Brazilian     vehicles under stationary conditions.
Pepper and Melaluca, which is non-            These tests measure primarily exhaust
native vegetation. Because this type of       noise and well be incorporated into the
vegetation is not native to the area, the     operations manual developed for this
land being considered is already              ATV trail riding area. The tests comply
considered as a “disturbed area” by the       with Society of Automotive Engineers,
State of Florida with regard to               Inc. (SAE) standards and are included as
environmental consideration and makes         Exhibit VI.
it an excellent candidate for an OHV
riding area.                                  On August 21, 2004, the airport in
                                              conjunction with St. Lucie County Code
NOISE QUALITY                                 Enforcement        conducted        noise
                                              evaluations of the impacts from OHV's
Noise pollution issues with regard to         on the adjacent residential neighborhood
OHV and ATV trails are primarily a            and Fairwinds Golf Course.
problem prior to the creation of such
trails. A trail being created in the          Thirty-nine OHV's participated in the
physical location of the Airport is not       test. The following table depicts a
likely to create additional adverse affects   breakdown of OHV's between 2-
on the community with regard to noise.        wheeled and 4-wheeled ATVs that
                                              participated in the noise test. The
During a recent presentation to the           information is also broken down into
Steering Committee, Chris Reed also           two-stroke and four stroke vehicles.
suggested that noise limitations might be
worth discussing and implementing in          TYPE     2 stroke     4 stroke    TOTAL
any OHV or ATV trail being considered            4
in St. Lucie County. His suggestion was                    3           24          27
that vehicles must fall in the 96 decibel        2
and below range in order to be allowed                     7            5          12
access to the trails. This fits into the      TOTAL       10           29          39
standards of most OHVs, and would
eliminate noise concerns by ensuring          On August 21st, at 9 AM, Code
that altered OHVs would not have access       Enforcement recorded the ambient noise
to the facility. Chris Reed spoke to the      at the intersection of Indrio Road and
fact that most riders are very accepting      Southwind      Trail.        Immediately
of this limitation, feeling that “less        following, Code Enforcement recorded
sound, more ground” is worth the trade,       the ambient noise at 300 feet north of the
and the more miles of trails they have to     intersection of Indrio Road and
ride, the less important the loudness of      Southwind Trail.
the OHV is to its owner/rider.
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                  August 2004 – page 11

After the ambient noise was recorded for
both locations, the 39 OHVs proceeded                     Indrio   300’         Fairwinds
to run their vehicles at a location                       Rd &     North of        Golf
                                                          South-   Indrio Rd     Course
approximately 1000 feet south of the test                 wind     & South-     #2 green
location.      At that time, Code                         Trail    wind Trail
Enforcement conducted a noise test           Ambient
using their equipment at the same two        dBA
                                                           67        48.4        47.1
locations.                                   31.5 hertz    27.8      31.6         30.9
                                             63 hertz      45.7      44.4         44.6
After the two noise tests were complete      125 hertz     51.6      48.4         48.2
at Indrio Road, Code Enforcement             250 hertz      52       46.6         46.3
relocated to a location just north of Hole   500 hertz     60.2      48.3         47.6
#2 at Fairwinds Golf Course. At that         1000 hertz    62.4      51.2         51.1
time, Code Enforcement conducted an
ambient noise test and immediately
                                             2000 hertz    55.8      41.7         45.4
following a noise test with the 39 OHV's     4000 hertz    54.8      37.7         35.9
operating at approximately 1000 feet         8000 hertz     48       53.7         34.4
north of the test site.
                                             Information from the noise test is
The following table depicts the results of   included as Exhibit VII.
the noise test. The top figure is the
ambient noise test for each of the           FAIRWINDS GOLF COURSE
locations. For the noise test, the Code
Enforcement Officer records the decibel      Located approximately 1000 feet to the
readings for each of the octave ban          south of the proposed OHV trail-riding
frequencies (hertz) and compares the         area is Fairwinds Golf Course.
result with a dBA level established in the
County’s Noise Ordinance.                    The impacts on Fairwinds Golf Course
                                             can be mitigated. The proposed OHV
The bold numbers (in shaded boxes) are       trail riding area will be sharing the main
the test readings that exceed the ambient    entrance to the Golf course.           The
noise levels for each test location. The     Steering Committee has estimated that
italicized bold numbers are the test         approximately 300 vehicles per weekend
readings that would exceed the Industrial    day will use the OHV Park. To avoid
to Residential noise levels established in   conflicts with weekend events at
the     County’s     Noise     Ordinance.    Fairwinds Golf Course, (for example a
However, the County’s Noise Ordinance        golf scramble) the OHV Park could open
exempts the noise resulting from the         at 9 AM, which will allow the heavy
operation of any motor vehicle.              traffic for the Golf Course to already
It should be noted that the          Code
Enforcement equipment does             not   As demonstrated in the noise test
segregate the source of the noise.   As a    conducted on August 21, 2004, the noise
result, aircraft and vehicle noise   were    generated from the 39 OHV's caused a
included in each of the ambient      noise   slight noise impact to Fairwinds golf
tests and OHV noise tests.                   hole # 2 green only. As depicted in the
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                  August 2004 – page 12

table, the noise impacts to Fairwinds # 2
green slightly exceeded the ambient on      The FAA insists that surplus properties
two of the 10 two minute segments.          associated with a public airport
                                            including revenue generated from those
ACCESS ROUTE                                properties be used to support the
                                            development, maintenance and operation
Due to the sensitivity of the residential   of the aeronautical facilities. The FAA
neighborhoods surrounding the Airport,      further requires that if the property is not
access to the proposed OHV property         needed to directly support an aviation
was an important issue for the Steering     use that it be made available and used to
Committee.       Although the property      produce income for the airport. This
borders on Indrio Road, the willingness     means that any lease or rental
to use Indrio Road as the primary access    arrangement covering the use of the
point for the OHV Park was quickly          surplus property at the Airport must
dismissed because of the physical           assure that the fair rental of the property
limitations of Indrio Road. Indrio Road     will accrue to the Airport and be
is a two lane, east-west corridor           available to meet Airport expenses.
bordering the northern boundary of the      Such property may not be rented at a
Airport property.      Because of the       discount to support community nonprofit
proposed uses of the OHV Park, the          organizations or to subsidize non-airport
projected traffic into the OHV Park         objectives.
would consist mainly of vehicles towing
trailers and would cause congestion on      The area being proposed for the OHV
an already busy roadway.                    Park is currently being leased for cattle
                                            grazing operations. In 1998, the highest
As a result, the Steering Committee         and best use of the vacant 750-acre
recommended that access to the OHV          property was for a cattle lease. As a
Park be provided through the Fairwinds      result of the bid, the Airport receives
Golf Course access road. The Fairwinds      $15,330 annually for the use of the 750
Golf Course Road is a two-lane road that    acres of property for cattle grazing
intersects U.S. 1 with adequate             operations.
intersection improvements including
turn lanes and a median cut.                The Airport Layout Plan (ALP) Update
                                            approved by the St. Lucie Board of
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINIS-                   County Commissioners (Board) in June
TRATION (FAA)                               of 2002 depicts the proposed OHV Park
                                            as an area slated for future industrial/
St. Lucie County International Airport is   commercial development. Based on
a general surplus airport conveyed to St.   timeframes associated with industrial/
Lucie     County by the          Federal    commercial development, and the
Government under the authority of the       realistic expectations of obtaining the
Surplus Property Act. As such, the          funding necessary to develop the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)       northern 1000 acres of the airport, the
imposes certain continuing obligations      Airport would expect that funding
as part of the covenants and conditions     availability and demand would dictate
for the Airport under the Act.              that     the   industrial/  commercial
                                                              Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                          Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 13

development of this property is outside      be provided through a system of
of the Airport’s current ten-year            designated trails or a designated
planning horizon. Hence, development         scramble area. On the trail riding areas,
of this property into an OHV Park would      the OHV's are prohibited from leaving
provide the highest and best use for         the trails, while on the scramble area the
revenue enhancement to the Airport in        OHV's can be ridden anywhere within
the interim.                                 the designated boundaries of the site.
                                             The scramble areas would be designated
EXISTING LAND USE                            on relatively disturbed lands.        The
                                             designation of trails would limit the
The existing Airport property consists of    destruction and degradation of natural
various zoning designations that have        systems and wildlife. The Steering
followed the property since St. Lucie        Committee has recommended a buffer
County acquired the property. The            around the wetlands.
primary zoning for the property
proposed as the OHV Park is Utilities        OTHER OHV SITES
(U) and light industrial (IL). The zoning
designations are consistent with Airport     OHV sites on public lands are limited in
use but currently do not allow for OHV       the State of Florida.          There are
riding.                                      essentially four places where an OHV
                                             enthusiast can ride anytime in the year
PROPOSED LAND USE                            without controls that limit the number of
                                             rides or periodically close an area to
To allow for OHV riding, County staff        riding. These are the three large national
has prepared a draft ordinance (04-021)      forests (Apalachicola, Osceola and
amending the St. Lucie County Land           Ocala, and the Croom Motorcycle Area
Development        Code,      specifically   in Withlacoochee State Forest. All four
3.01.03(W)(7) to add OHV Parks as a          of these areas are open to OHV riding
conditional use to the utility and light     every day the year.
industrial zoning designations.       The
approval of this draft ordinance would       One example of an ideal OHV/ATV
allow the Airport to apply for permission    facility is Croom. The facility offers
to develop trails for use by off-highway     campsites, trails of varying degrees of
vehicles provided that a minimum of 100      difficulty to cater to every level of skill,
acres is available for the sport. Exhibit    and encourages family use. It is not
VIII depicts the Ordinance and the           uncommon to see three or four
meeting minutes for the Planning and         generations of a family riding and
Zoning Meeting with regard to this           enjoying a weekend of camping and
issue. At the Planning and Zoning            riding at the Croom facility.
Meeting, the members voted to deny the
proposed ordinance.                          Another site being considered for OHV
                                             is Tate’s Hell State Forest in Franklin
WETLAND                                      County, Florida. The proposed OHV
                                             area is approximately 4500 acres.
Based on the experience of the OHV
user, different riding opportunities can
                                                                Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                            Feasibility Plan
                                                                     August 2004 – page 14

Several      Florida    counties     are       trail is currently on private property. St.
investigating     the  possibility    of       Lucie County is trying to acquire this
establishing OHV riding areas. To date,        trail known as Crossroads.
no official County owned or operated
OHV riding area is known to exist in           In May of 2002, St. Lucie County held a
Florida. A County owned OHV riding             charrette on North County Greenways &
area would become a welcomed addition          Trails. The purpose of this charrette was
to the statewide system and will               to identify needs of the north county
ultimately be a prime candidate for            residents as it relates to trail systems. It
obtaining funds from state and federal         was identified in the charrette that there
grant programs that specifically promote       was a need for multi-use trail systems,
OHV trail riding.                              both paved and unpaved. It was also
                                               mentioned by members of the charrette
SITE DESIGN                                    to provide a BMX (bicycle motocross)
                                               facility in the area.
                                               The proposal of the airport cattle lease
In planning an OHV Park, local                 property as an off highway vehicle
conditions, primarily visitor demands          (OHV) park has lead to discussions of
dictate how many people and activities         trying to incorporate some of the north
the Park can accommodate.            The       county charrette bicycling facilities into
Steering Committee focused on the              the park plan. This includes mountain
initial feasibility of an OHV riding area      biking trails and the potential of a BMX
in St. Lucie County. As a result, the          facility.
expectations are that site related
constraints will be addressed after            The bike trails and BMX facilities would
approval by the Board of the Feasibility       be for non-motorized vehicles only.
Plan.                                          These facilities will most likely be in the
                                               noise buffer areas and the northeastern
BICYCLING FACILITIES                           portion of the property. The bike trails
                                               would be built using grant recreational
Approximately sixty million Americans          trail funds in conjunction with the
ride bicycles either for transportation or     Treasure Coast Airborne Mountain Bike
recreational purposes. They ride in the        Club. The location of bike trails will be
bike lanes on the street; they ride on side    site specific.
paths adjacent to the street as well as off-
road trail systems. In St. Lucie County        BMX FACILITIES
there are currently only a handful of
designated off road areas to ride. There       Staff has already researched the
are numerous single-track trails on the        construction and operations of a BMX
County’s environmentally sensitive             facility. These facilities can be
lands (ESL) that allow for users to enjoy      constructed for approximately $25,000;
Florida’s scenic views through hiking          however, most of the materials can be
and biking. There is also a mountain           acquired or donated from local vendors.
biking trail that has more challenging         There are twenty BMX tracks in Florida
features than the ESL properties, but this     that are sanctioned with the National
                                                               Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                           Feasibility Plan
                                                                    August 2004 – page 15

Bike League (NBL). The closest track to       such as trees, large rocks and bushes.
riders on Treasure Coast is Okeeheelee        Compared to roads, single-track blends
BMX in West Palm Beach. Existing              into the surrounding environment,
local tracks (Okeeheelee, Orlando and         disturbs much less ground, and is easier
Miami South) are averaging 80 to 200          to maintain. The tread of single-track is
riders for local events and 650 to 1100       almost always natural surface, in
for national events. These events are         contrast to the gravel or pavement of
NBL sanctioned. BMX is a fast growing         roads. There are two single-track trails
sport. The International Olympic              on the Treasure Coast: Crossroads and
Committee has approved to add BMX to          Jonathan Dickenson State Park.
the 2008 Olympics.
                                              It is proposed to include a single track in
Safety is taken extremely seriously in the    the northeastern quadrant of the existing
sport of BMX. The following was               cattle lease property of the airport. This
quoted on the website for Okeeheelee          trail can be built utilizing recreational
BMX Park in West Palm Beach:                  grant trail funds and help from the
                                              Treasure Coast Airborne Mountain Bike
“Statistics have proven that BMX racing       Club
is one of the safest of all youth sports
today. Part of this is due to the             SUPPORT FACILITIES
mandatory requirement of safety
equipment every time a rider is on the        Many members of the Steering
track. Riders MUST wear long sleeves,         Committee were able to secure
long pants and a helmet. Gloves are           commitments for the donation of
optional, but always a good idea. As          materials and time for the infrastructure
riders get more involved in racing, so        improvements at the OHV Park. As a
does the safety gear; with padded elbow       result, the Financial Feasibility of the
jerseys and padded (on the knee, hips         OHV Park is based on the donation of
and shins) racing pants. BMX is a sport       much of the infrastructure costs.
catering to the individual. Every rider
gets to participate and compete. No one       The Steering Committee briefly
sits on the bench and no one gets cut         discussed additional amenities that may
from the team.” (             be desired as a result of the successful
                                              development of an OHV riding area.
OFF ROAD TRAIL FACILITIES                     Some of the support facilities that may
                                              co-exist with the development of this
The majority of the current County            facility are as follows:
owned ESL properties provide two track
trails for the riders. A two-track trail            Camping
allows for more than single file riding. In         Picnicking
general the ESL lands provide trails that           Play areas
are five feet wide. Mountain bikers                 Concessions
enjoy what’s known as a single track;               Competitive training venues
the track is only 12 to 18 inches wide to           Control tower
keep the riders in single file. Single-
                                                    Shelters
track trails tend to wind around obstacles
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                  August 2004 – page 16

      Utilities                             The      Steering      Committee       has
                                             recommended that the OHV riding area
MAINTENANCE                                  be operated seven days a week. During
                                             the weekdays the hours could be limited
OHV/ATV riders are active when it            to a single eight-hour shift, for example
comes to volunteering to help maintain       12 PM to 8 PM. During the weekend
and keep the trails in good condition,       and holidays, the hour should be
which helps lower maintenance costs.         extended to include the mornings. The
Further, it has become clear that            payroll estimates included in the
OHV/ATV riders are interested in             financial feasibility reports (Exhibit IX)
keeping their sport and its facility safe    account for seven paid employees. The
and available for all. According to Chris    employees would consist of a
Reed, riders at the Croom facility are       gatekeeper, ranger, and a supervisor
quick to “self-police” and ensure that all   each working a 40-hour shift with
riders are following the rules of the off-   overlay on the heaviest days.
road, so to speak, and not taking
advantage of the facility or the             FINANCIAL ANALYSIS
                                             The Steering Committee with the help of
Management and operations are the key        Chris Reed established conservative
to the long-term success of an OHV           estimates for membership in the
riding area.         A comprehensive         proposed OHV Park. As proposed, the
management plan will be developed to         Airport OHV Park would require annual
address        planning,      operations,    memberships for entrance into the Park.
maintenance, and activity programming
into one integrated document.                The annual membership fee for St. Lucie
                                             County residents would be $50, and $60
This document will also address any          for non St. Lucie County members. In
rules and regulations needed for the         addition to the annual membership
successful programming of the OHV            required per OHV, the Steering
riding area.                                 Committee proposed that there be a daily
                                             parking fee for each vehicle entering the
An emergency response plan will be           OHV parking lot. Additionally, the
developed for the site. The plan will        Steering Committee proposed special
outline the action that will need to be      events that would generate additional
taken in the event of an accident, injury,   revenues.
illness, fire, or other emergency. Once
developed, this plan will need to be         The OHV Financial Feasibility Plan is
posted in high visibility areas and all      included in Exhibit IX. As depicted in
staff will need to be trained and familiar   the Plan, the proposed revenue
with actions to be taken.                    generation for the first year is $922,100.
                                             After deducting payroll of $319,238 and
STAFFING                                     fair market value rental for the property
                                                               Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                           Feasibility Plan
                                                                    August 2004 – page 17

of $593,240, there is a first-year profit of   The following is a list of items that can
approximately $2,100.                          be made available from surplus St. Lucie
                                               County equipment. As a result, the
The fair market value was determined           equipment listed in the following table is
using the appraisal prepared May 17,           not reflected in the Financials in Exhibit
2004 for Fairwinds Golf Course. The            IX.
appraisal determined a fair rental value
of $345,000 annually for 228.78 acres of       Item                      One Time Cost
property or $1,508 per acre. The OHV           Pick-up truck (4 x 4)      Used $5,000
riding area is projected to encompass          Trail grooming
approximately 393.4 acres multiplied by                                   Used $10,000
                                               equipment (box blade)
$1,508 per acre equals $593,240 per year       Office Equipment
fair rental value for use of the Airport                                  Used $5,000
                                               Copier, computer, fax
                                               The following are items that must be
As indicated in page 3 of the Financial        budgeted on an annual basis and are
Feasibility Plan, the accumulative profit      therefore included in the Financials
through the 10th year of operation is          presented in Exhibit IX.
approximately $950,000. While this is a
significant amount of excess profit, the       Items                    Annual Costs
Steering Committee’s expectations are          Office Supplies             $600
that this amount of money would be             Communications             $1,200
inadequate to purchase 1000 acres in the       Fuel                       $1,200
future.                                        Misc                       $4,500
                                               TOTAL                      $7,500
At the August 11, 2004 Steering
Committee Meeting, for Committee               There are a number of grant programs
discussed the minimum required                 for outdoor recreation that are potential
infrastructure necessary to open this          sources of funds for an OHV Park. The
facility.                                      Recreation Trails Program (RTP) is a
                                               federally funded competitive grant
The following is a list of items that will     program      that    provides    financial
be donated:                                    assistance to agencies such as counties
                                               that are approved by the State for the
Item                          Cost             development of recreational trails and
Ticket Facility               Donated          facilities. Currently, the maximum grant
Restrooms (temporary)         Donated          amount is $250,000 for motorized
Fencing                       Donated          projects. It is a matching grant program
Landscaping                   Donated          that can be used for development of the
ATVs for Rangers              Donated          OHV Park.
Parking Area                  Unimproved
Trails Construction           Volunteers       With the passage of the T. Mark Schmidt
                                               Off-highway Vehicles Safety and
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                  August 2004 – page 18

Recreation Act (Chapter 261, Florida         requirements and escrow all profits into
Statutes), the Legislature declared that     a fund to purchase 1000 acres of
effectively managed areas and adequate       available property in the future. As
facilities for the use of OHV's are          depicted in the previous section, at the
compatible with Florida's overall            end of ten years there would be
recreation plan and the underlying goal      approximately $950,000 available for
of multiple use. This Act provides funds     this land purchase.        However, the
to create, operate, managed, or improve      Steering Committee felt that because of
OHV recreation areas or trails within the    the inability of private companies access
State. The primary source for these          to insurance coverage for this type of
designated OHV funds will come from          activity, the Steering Committee quickly
fees paid to the Department of Highway       dismissed this Option.
Safety and Motor Vehicles for the titling
of off-highway vehicles.       The fund      OPTION 2: COUNTY
currently has over $1,400,000 in funds       DEPARTMENT MANAGED
available for OHV development.
                                             The second option that was presented to
The Florida Recreation Development           the Steering Committee was for the
Assistance Program (FRDAP) is a              Airport to lease the property to another
competitive grant program that provides      County Department. This option would
a funding source for acquisition or          insure that the Airport receive fair
development of land for public outdoor       market rental value for the property used
recreation use or to construct or renovate   for the OHV riding area. Any funds
recreational trails.                         generated in excess of the rental and
                                             payroll requirements to operate the OHV
CONCLUSION                                   riding area, could be escrowed by the
                                             County Department and used as an
OPTIONS                                      initial payment for relocation of the
                                             OHV riding area to another area of St.
On July 23rd, the Feasibility Plan           Lucie County.
Steering Committee held a meeting to
make a recommendation regarding the          If the OHV riding area is operated by
operation of an OHV riding area in St.       another County department and the
Lucie County. Because of the Airport’s       revenues received from the members do
requirement to receive fair market value     not provide for excess revenues in an
for property leased, several options were    amount needed to purchase property
presented.                                   elsewhere, then after the interim trial
                                             period, the OHV riding area will be
OPTION 1:                                    closed.
                                             If the fair market rental value and the
The first option presented to the Steering   payroll requirements are not generated
Committee was for the Airport to lease a     by the fees, than the OHV riding area
net 390 acres of property to an OHV          would probably be closed by the Airport.
Management Group that would make
payments toward the annual lease
                                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                                  August 2004 – page 19

This Option was discounted by the            By operating the OHV riding area as a
Steering Committee because of the risk       Recreation Division of the Aviation
of closure in the short term if the          Department, the Airport will have the
revenue estimates are not met. The           most flexibility to keep the OHV riding
Steering Committee felt that the Airport     area open.
would have more flexibility to keep the
OHV riding area open if the revenue          The Steering Committee also felt that
estimates were not met.                      because of the significant acreage owned
                                             by the Airport, the future development
OPTION 3: BOND ISSUANCE                      of industrial/commercial property could
                                             still exist. There is approximately 1000
The Steering Committee also discussed        acres of available property north of the
the possibility of a bond issuance for the   proposed parallel runway. With 390
express purpose of purchasing property       acres being proposed for the OHV riding
specifically for an OHV riding area. The     area, an additional 500 to 600 acres is
Steering Committee dismissed this idea       still available for future industrial/
as a very costly and burdensome process      commercial development.
for the County to undertake to provide
an OHV riding area.                          It was agreed upon by the Steering
                                             Committee Members that if the revenue
OPTION 4: AIRPORT MANAGED                    projections depicted in the OHV
OHV RIDING AREA                              Financial Feasibility Plan were not met
                                             and that there were not profits to the
The Steering Committee recommended           Airport, then the OHV riding area
that the Airport own and operate the         should be closed.
OHV riding area as a Recreation
Division in the Aviation Department at       FREQUENTLY ASKED
St. Lucie County International Airport.      QUESTIONS
This Option assumes that all revenues
including any excess profit after            What types of vehicles will be allowed
expenses will accrue directly to the         at this OHV Park?
                                             The     Steering       Committee      has
This Option was preferred because the        recommended that only 2-wheeled
Steering Committee felt that the revenue     motorbikes,      4-wheeled    all-terrain
estimates indicated in the Financial         vehicles (ATV), and non-motorized
Feasibility Plan would not support the       bicycles be allowed at this Park. No
rapidly rising cost of available property    trucks or swamp buggies are being
and that finding 1000 acres of               considered for this property.
contiguous property 10 years in the
future would be extremely difficult.         Will sanctioned racing events occur at
                                             the OHV Park?
This Option was also preferred by the
Steering Committee because it was            The     Steering       Committee      has
assumed that the Airport would have the      recommended that the OHV Park be
most flexibility with revenue generation.    designed for trail riding, scramble areas,
                                                              Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                          Feasibility Plan
                                                                   August 2004 – page 20

and training venues only.           No        Why was a noise level of 96 DB
competitive events are being considered       selected as the criteria for allowing
for this site.                                OHV's into the proposed OHV riding
Is the United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) considering           Some of the other OHV riding areas in
banning OHV's?                                the State have adopted the 96 DB as the
                                              standard.     The Steering Committee
According      to    EPA     Regulatory       concurred with this standard, however as
Announcement (EPA 420-F-02-038                indicated by a member of the public if
dated September 2002), the EPA has            noise limits would be set at 94db the
adopted     emission   standards    for       sound could be lessened. By reducing
recreational vehicles, including off-         this recommended sound level by two
highway motorcycles and ATVs. The             decibels, actual sound heard is roughly
new standards apply only to new ATVs          two-thirds less (every three decibels
produced in 2006 or later. Anything           increase sound vibrations is equal to
manufactured before that model year           about twice the sound level).         By
will not be affected. New emission            adhering to this level, the more invasive
standards for ATVs won't affect an ATV        and obnoxious machines will be
you own now or any ATVs you bought            excluded from operation on this site.
before 2006.                                  This will severely limit impacts to
                                              wildlife and local landowners. Most
Are there too many liabilities                stock ATVs and dirt bikes will be able to
associated with an OHV trail riding           pass a sound test provided their mufflers
area?                                         are well maintained.

The State Legislature has recognized          How was a 1500 ft. radius from the
that there are inherent risks associated      bald eagles nest determined?
with various recreational activities. The
Legislature     has    recognized     that    The required protection zones for a bald
equestrian related activities may result in   eagles nest are 750 ft. and 1500 ft. After
injury, harm, or death to persons on or       consultation with this State, the Steering
around horses. As a result, the State         Committee agreed that the 1500 ft.
Legislature has granted legislative           buffer    would      provide     adequate
protection to those entities involved in      protection.
equestrian activities. As a result, no
participant shall have any claim for          Will any of the agencies that regulate
injury, loss, damage, or death of the         the Airport object to using this
participant resulting from any of the         property for recreation use?
inherent risks of equestrian activities.
There is currently an effort in the           The proposed property is currently
legislative system to pass laws similar to    zoned light industrial and utility and is
equestrian laws that would limit the          designated in the Airport Master Plan
liability of agencies and managers of         Update      for     future      industrial
public OHV sites.                             development.    The Federal Aviation
                                              Administration (FAA) and the Florida
                                                            Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                                        Feasibility Plan
                                                                 August 2004 – page 21

Department of Transportation (FDOT)        Staff contacted Hoyt C. Murphy Realtors
helped to purchase this aviation surplus   to determine the availability of large
property with the understanding that the   tracts of property. They were able to
property will be used to obtain fair       locate nine tracts of property over 100
market rental to financially assist with   acres that were currently for sale. The
airport operations.      The regulatory    prices ranged from $1.2 million for 201
agencies insist that any use of the        acres to $16 million for 400 acres. Due
property generate fair market rental       to the acres required for this type of
value. This requirement extends to the     recreation and the financial resources
proposed Fairwinds Golf Course             needed for acquisition, this Feasibility
expansion, any proposed use by St.         Report focuses primarily on the Airport
Lucie County Utilities, a proposed OHV     as the proposed OHV Trail Riding area.
trail riding area, or any commercial/      See Exhibit X for available property.
industrial development.
                                           How will bicyclists and OHVs use the
What about using the fair grounds as       same property?
an OHV trail riding area?
                                           The BMX and mountain bikers will be
According to the Parks Department, the     segregated from the OHVs through
County      Fairgrounds    consist  of     signage and fencing. The bikers will use
approximately 250 acres. Much of this      areas that are off limits to OHVs,
property has been developed with           specifically the eagle’s protection zone
buildings and infrastructure and would     and the noise buffer areas.
not accommodate OHV trail riding.
Additionally, the Fairgrounds has been     Can additional conditions be placed
designed to accommodate equestrian         on the use of the property?
activities.   These activities are not
compatible with OHV use.                   Additional conditions can be placed on
                                           the use of this property. To satisfy the
What about using Bluefield Ranch as        speculative nature of the proposed
an OHV trail riding area?                  Airport use in the future, an additional
                                           condition may be granted that requires
According to Environmental Resources,      this Conditional Use Permit to be
the property was purchased with            renewed at specified intervals. For
Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL)      example, this Conditional Use Permit
bond     funds   and    with   Florida     may be granted for a period of five years
Communities Trust funds. The Bluefield     and subject to review to continue as an
Ranch Property was purchased with          OHV Park on Airport property.
preservation funding.    These funds
prohibit the use of OHV riding on the      Can infrastructure improvements be
property.                                  conditionally granted?

Were       any     alternative     sites   A one-year test period is necessary to
investigated?                              determine the viability of the estimated
                                           ridership and financial feasibility of this
                                           plan. In that time the development of
                                             Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
                                                         Feasibility Plan
                                                  August 2004 – page 22

fixed infrastructure will be kept to a
minimum to minimize costs associated
with this project.

All fixed infrastructure development can
begin in year two of operations using
proceeds from the OHV Park’s revenues.

What if the OHV trail riding area
does not meet the revenue estimates
and cannot cover its expenses?

The Profit and Loss Statements should
be    reviewed     annually   and     a
determination as to the renewal of this
OHV Park should be reviewed on an
annual basis.

What if the OHV is extremely
successful and exceeds the Feasibility
Plans     expectations,   can     the
recommendations be changed?

If all revenue estimates are understated
in the Feasibility Plan, and the OHV
Park is extremely successful, including
the generation of excess profits, then the
Feasibility Plan should be revisited.

If the excess profits generated by the
users of the OHV Park can support the
debt service for another property, then
the recommendations included in the
Feasibility Plan should be adjusted.

Shared By: