The Martha’s Vineyard Airport commission is accepting comment on a proposal to utilize a little-used corner of airport property for a motocross dirt track.
Jermaine (JJ) Mendez, a riding enthusiast and Oak Bluffs police officer, submitted the proposal. Mr. Mendez previously organized and supervised a dirt bike track on Nip n’ Tuck Farm in West Tisbury, until neighborhood opposition and zoning regulations ended the activity.
Sean Flynn, Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager, said the track would be located on the southeast corner of airport property used to store left-over construction material. The site is behind C&W Power Equipment, a small-engine shop, and adjacent to the business park. Riders would enter through a double set of gates at the end of the business park off Barnes Road.
Mr. Flynn said the airport has no other use for the property. The airport would not lease the property but would allow the riders to use the area under specific conditions that provide for 30-day termination and regular review intended to address any problems should they develop.
“It seemed like they needed a home and we thought we could help them out,” Mr. Flynn said in a telephone conversation with The Times. “We will give it a try and see if it works.”
Mr. Flynn said he is confident that Mr. Mendez will provide responsible supervision.
The airport land use subcommittee is seeking public comment on the proposal. The comment must in writing and submitted to the airport manager by February 10.
The proposed dirt bike track has received letters of support from the West Tisbury Conservation Commission, Edgartown Police Department, and the Martha’s Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association, and Friends of the Greenlands, a 360-acre preserve that borders the state forest, and owned by the town of West Tisbury where dirt bikes are often ridden illegally.
Echoing a common theme, Edgartown police chief Tony Bettencourt wrote that he thinks there is a growing number of dirt bike riders on the Island and that if there were a designated area for the riders “it would decrease the number of bikes trespassing on private property and in the state forest.” Several letters referenced the added safety of easy access to the track for emergency vehicles.