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Motocross star's cart track goes too far, neighbors say

DADE CITY - International motocross star Chad Reed has a new hobby, and anyone who follows him on Twitter knows about his supercool backyard go-cart track. His neighbors didn't need to see his Instagram photos or read the tweets. They've been complaining to Pasco County code enforcement since August that Reed and his friends have been racing go-carts — a violation of his conditional-use permit — on his 63-acre spread off Duck Lake Canal Road. "I do it because it's fun, and that's me," Reed says in a YouTube video. "I built a go-cart track at my house because I love to just go out there and be a kid, still. Of all the kids that I see and hang out with, I'm the biggest of them all. I don't want to change that." Neighbor Jacque Klein is not amused. "He didn't build it at his house — he built in my backyard," she said. "He doesn't live here. He lives in a gated community."
The permit restricts Reed to using the track for motocross training and limits the hours of use. Klein said he frequently violates the conditions by racing after 5 p.m. and on weekends. "It's really annoying," she said. "It's just over and over and over — after hours and on the weekends. He just thinks he's immune." And the go-carts are just as loud as the dirt bikes, she said. "When they're training, they ride all day. Then they finish and they all ride the go-carts until dark — four or five of them," she said. For months, Klein filed complaints with code enforcement, but the investigator marked each one "duplicate" and took no action. "Why isn't anything being done about this?" Klein wrote in a complaint Dec. 2. "It has been going on and I have been filing complaints since summer. It appears to me that the county has chosen to ignore this problem much to my chagrin. It seems totally unjust to allow this guy to continue to be so disruptive." She filed another complaint on Dec. 3, after the Reeds raced go-carts on the track until 5:55 p.m. "Is anyone ever going to do something about this problem?" she asked. The department finally swung into action after a dozen neighbors signed a petition asking the county to revoke Reed's conditional-use permit — complete with more than 40 photos of go-carts on Reed's paved track. "This is clearly beyond the scope of the initial approval," zoning director Carol Clarke wrote in a memo to county commissioners. It's the second time Reed has been in hot water with county code enforcement, and this time it might cost him dearly. Clarke will ask county commissioners next month to revoke the permit that allowed Reed to keep his motocross track after he illegally expanded it in 2010. Reed originally was granted a conditional-use permit in 2004 for a 4-acre training track on his property, but six years later he expanded it to 24 acres without a permit. The expansion included a paved track. Pasco County commissioners granted a new conditional-use permit in 2010, giving Reed 30 days to submit the new site plan and study. The decision infuriated neighbors, who said Reed flouted county zoning laws by building the track. He met the deadline and was fined $1,000 for the code violation. Now Clarke says the permit was approved "as a result of materially misleading or inaccurate information." "While the paved track was included in the approval documents, paved tracks are not for motocross," she wrote in the memo. "Documentation shows the paved track being used for the racing go-carts." The track has been featured on multiple motocross websites. One site, www.freestylextreme.com, posted the YouTube video with this introduction: "Chad Reed's Kart Track has gained quite a reputation within the industry and its awesomeness has become legendary." Reed even tweeted about it last weekend: "Gotta say my last weekend off was a good time! Karting was a blast today." And just before Thanksgiving, he posted a photo on Instagram with the caption: "Don't have a dirt bike to ride Okkkk ill break in a brand new kart" Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said he's disappointed because he met with Reed in 2010 before agreeing to let him keep the conditional use. He said Reed assured him he would follow the conditions. "It's pretty tough to defend someone if they continually violate the conditions they agreed to," Schrader said. "I had no idea he had built such an extensive track until I saw the video." The board was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the revocation Jan. 8, but the hearing will be postponed until February because the zoning department has not been able to locate Reed to serve him with the violation. The Tribune's attempts to reach Reed through his attorney were unsuccessful.

lkinsler@tampatrib.com (813)371-1852 Twitter: @lkinslerTBO
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