A new proposed location for MotokazieLand in Cannon City Township

I got an email last week from Stephanie Henriksen, alerting me that MotokazieLand (see my April blog post, MotokazieLand Recreation Park: sounds like a good development) has a new proposed location in Cannon City Township, south of County 9 (150th Street East) approximately mid-way between Hwy 3 and I35 (Dennis Shaw property at 1267 150th St. East).

I spoke to Lee Theis, president and owner of Motokazie, a motorsports race promotion and track-building company. His application fits the county zoning so this will be a two-step process, ie, Rice County Planning Commission, then the Board. Since it’s not a request for a zoning change like last time, a simple majority of the Board (3 of 5) is required for approval. All the environmental studies are being done now. He expects it to go before the Planning Commission early in 2011. See the news page on his website for more.

MotokakieLand - Cannon City Township map  MotokakieLand - Cannon City Township map 2  MotokakieLand - CUP application

Above are the three PDFs that Lee submitted to Rice County. (Two are rotated incorrectly and I can’t fix that. Download them and then rotate them.) But here’s my live Google map of the proposed recreation park. Zoom in and out as you see fit.

View MotokazieLand proposed location (approx) in a larger map


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Assuming this checks out environmentally, this looks like a great location to me. The previous location, adjacent to noisy I35 would have better, sound-wise, IMHO.

    If you’re inclined to oppose this development, how about if it was an amusement park, like Valley Fair? Or a casino? Or a big gravel pit operation?

    November 18, 2010
  2. Griff, I think the primary opposition to this will be either because it will overload roads not designed for the traffic levels or because it encourages burning of fossil fuels for fun (F4). Some neighbors will wish they were rich enough to have bought bigger parcels, but that is another issue (sort of NIMBY-ish). There are some wetlands and I, for one, am not a strong believer in letting developers mitigate their impact by trying to construct pretend wetlands where they are not naturally occurring, since I feel that wetlands are much more than meets the eye (at the surface, so to speak). But maybe they will just protect them since I am sure the visitors will want the full-mosquito press that open waters present.

    The chances of getting an interchange at 150th and I-35 are slim to none (cost), but that would certainly help with the traffic issue. I believe (if memory serves me) that Cty 9 and I-35 is planned to have an interchange someday (unlike Cty 8 and I-35) so that will help. Think Motokazie would help foot that bill? It would be a nice gesture, would give a good access to the city-traffic coming there and would greatly protect MN3, CSAH1 and 21 (roads that would be used by I-35 traffic to wind their way to the park).

    Good planning requires thinking outside the borders of the proposed park, and I am sure the County will be asking these questions.

    November 18, 2010
  3. By the way, most of these objections apply to any use of that land that involves lots of visitors. So any of Griff’s alternatives would run into similar questions.

    November 18, 2010
  4. Tom Zensen said:

    I think Casinos are usually built on Indian lands and Gravel Pits need GRAVEL and Valley Fairs need Metropolitan areas but they all would supply tons more jobs.
    According to Theis’s own proposal the track will only supply 2 more full time jobs at full capacity.
    According to a his own proponents it will only wreck 4-5 families lives with excessive noise pollution.
    Griff is apparently calloused to the destruction of families lives and hasn’t done his homework when recommending alternative businesses.

    November 18, 2010
  5. William Siemers said:

    Is it possible that people in Dundas will be able to hear this business when it is operating?

    November 19, 2010
  6. I’m a little at a loss because of the disconnect between the sound issues (decibels, frequencies, and frequency) in this proposal and those being bandied about by opponents of the new windmills.

    Surely, if there’s such a thing as Wind Turbine Syndrome, there must be Aggressive Engine Noise Syndrome. Right?

    Is this just because windmills are the new kids, and we’ve been putting up with or even encouraging annoying, loud, grating engine noises for a very, very long time?

    I propose, therefore, that all new windmills be equipped with Very Loud Speakers that churn out nothing but Extremely Loud and Volatile Internal Combustion Engine Noises whenever the blades are turning. Problem solved.

    You’re welcome.

    November 19, 2010
  7. Phil Poyner said:

    Brendon, I found your suggestion intriguing. It got me to wondering if there are other things we could do with speakers on windmills. For example, I despise dictators…absolutely hate them! Back in 89 when Noriega hid in the Nunciature in Panama City, loud rock music was blasted at the building as part of the effort to get him to surrender. In a sense you could say that loud rock music acts as dictator repellent! As of today we don’t actually have any tin-pot dictators living in Northfield, and I’d like keep it that way, so perhaps some of the windmills could be used to play loud rock music…you know, as a preventative measure.

    And no, nobody has to thank me for looking out for Northfield’s interests with regards to dictators. It is both an honor and a privilege…

    November 19, 2010
  8. john george said:

    Phil and Brendon- Although your proposals are unique, I just don’t believe they are sound.

    November 19, 2010
  9. Phil, I’m pretty sure that today’s young, hip dictators would only be encouraged by loud rock and roll. I propose that the windmills, when not blaring engine noise, be programmed to play only the softest of soft adult contemporary music. Something that undercuts their aggressive rabble-rousing. Stuff that even Art Garfunkel and James Taylor would snicker about. Failing that, just play Yanni. That shit’s horrible.

    November 19, 2010
  10. kiffi summa said:

    A pun of such gigantic proportion that you have taken the title of “punster extraordinaire” away from that erstwhile master,Dixon Bond!

    November 19, 2010
  11. Curt Benson said:

    I should be working, but Brendon and Phil have gotten me distracted. Why not connect the blades directly to a music box or organ grinder mechanism? Or a jack-in-the-box would be another possibility–the somewhat random popping up of a giant clown would be a crowd pleaser.

    And Phil, I know it is not necessary, but thank you for protecting us from dictators…

    November 19, 2010
  12. Phil Poyner said:

    Brendon, having pondered upon your thoughts (mainly in my effort to shove John’s terrible pun from my cranium by crowding it out) I’ve concluded that a study may be required. Personally, I don’t think the “young and hip dictator” demographic even exists, but I have been wrong before. I propose that members of the sociology departments at our fine local colleges submit grant proposals to the Department of Homeland Security requesting funds to study this issue.

    Using a weapon as powerful as Yanni (or Zamfir, master of the pan flute) is not a step one takes without careful consideration. After all, what sort of a society does one want to have? One filled with those that actually enjoy music Art Garfunkel would snicker at? Hell, it’s common knowledge that Paul Simon snickers at Art Garfunkel’s music, so how far down the musical totem pole would you actually want to go? No…even a goal as worthy as the avoidance of a dictator residency problem must be weighed against the risks the “cure” presents to the rest of the societal “body”. We must make haste slowly, my friends, whatever the heck that means…

    November 19, 2010
  13. We could call it JIMBY – Jack In My Back Yard. Put a positive spin on the turbine controversy.

    JIMBY will also create massive amounts of (spring / crank) engine noise and sing very loud rock songs after popping up, perhaps beginning every song with a rousing “Hello, Cleveland!”

    In addition to petrifying prospective potentates, such a system will almost certainly keep any avian creatures away from the turbines, and… what’s the old saying?

    We can not kill two birds with one stone.

    (Where “stone” = enormous, mechanized, screaming clown.)

    Yes, that’s it.

    November 19, 2010
  14. Phil,

    We would have to do the study over many, many years, using different types of horrible music, and we would have to import would-be tyrants from distant lands – Central America, Uzbekistan and the other stans, Indonesia, Arkansas, and that country which looks like a penis – to which we would have to travel to track down only the most unstable, reactionary, controlling and charismatic men.

    We would have to work with control groups, of course. Control groups which might consist of the opposite of these dangerous men – stable, nurturing, selfless women chosen for their most prominent assets.

    Much of this dangerous work would have to be done secretly, in underground windmill mineshafts to block out external influences.

    The clandestine nature goes without saying, we’d hate for other countries to determine better methods of deflecting dictatorships, lest a windmill-mineshaft gap push their possible autocrats toward our shores.


    November 19, 2010
  15. kiffi summa said:

    I don’t know … military responsibility morphs into military madness, and a crazy (that’s a compliment) playwright in drag with a PINK fright wig have hi-jacked a serious subject!

    Watch out! the punitive passive-aggressive do-gooders will put you in the irreverent lock-up… and insist you power up your keyboards with self-produced hot air…

    oh, but you can do it, I know you can, and the giant jack-in-the-box jumps, and giggles, and the noise is deafening!

    November 19, 2010
  16. Phil Poyner said:

    What I’m hoping is that somebody from a political office will read our remarks, be too dense to realise we’re having some fun, and then have their politician comes out with a statement either in support of or against our position! That would be awesome…

    Oh, except for the JIMBY idea…we’re all totally serious about that one! 😉

    November 19, 2010
  17. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Thank you, Tom Zensen and Bruce Morlan, for giving me something to think about on the dirt bike racing topic. As for the rest of you, I guess you think this mega project is some kind of joke.

    I am wondering, Griff, about your question as to whether opponents would prefer a casino, Valley Fair or mega gravel pit. When area residents put up resistance to the ethanol plant and railyard, they were led to believe that even more unpleasant businesses could be lured to the site, such as fly ash storage silos or waste handling and pelletizing, etc.

    As far as I’m concerned, there couldn’t be anything much worse to destroy the peace and quiet of the countryside for miles around than a multiple track dirt bike racing operation. Not just weekends but every day of the year (snowmobile racing in winter). We have a couple small operations in the area, but nothing on this scale.

    November 19, 2010
  18. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    And yes, William Siemers, I expect people in Dundas will hear it. Dundas opposed the first location Lee Theis chose by Cty 1 intersection on I-35.

    November 20, 2010
  19. Griff Wigley said:

    William, I don’t see how it’ll be possible to hear the bikes several miles away in Dundas over rolling countryside.

    Plus, the steady noise from Hwy 3 traffic 24 hours/day is significant.

    November 20, 2010
  20. Griff Wigley said:

    Stephanie, are you saying that Dundas opposed the I35 location because of fears that the noise from 7 miles away on the other side of the freeway would affect citizens living in Dundas?

    November 20, 2010
  21. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Cty l is Dundas’ main road to I-35. Motokazie was going to locate just north of that point, bringing traffic to that already overloaded route.

    Besides the traffic congestion, residents south of Dundas will get the noise, depending on wind direction. I understand the noise of the bikes may be even loader at some distance away. I expect traffic and noise will reach me here on Cty Rd 8. Farmers on Hwy 3 and 140th St. expect to get the noise, too.

    I have spoken w/residents in Wabasha (?) Cty who say earlier problems with their raceway (traffic backed up, noise, injuries, police incidents, etc) are somewhat better now. 4-H groups have been enlisted to direct cars into parking spaces.

    Bikers who come occasionally to race can leave again. The rest of us in the area cannot.

    November 20, 2010
  22. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    “Motokazie back in county picture”

    Neighbors to the site in Cannon City Townshp are just learning of the project. Wonder how they will react. As it says here, Rice Cty Board will acknowledge receipt of (application for) CUP and start EAW process on Dec. 9.

    November 22, 2010
  23. Kevin Coon said:

    Every time there is something new in the area people make up things to help their side of the issue.
    I live right next to the other ATV riding area in Rice County (within a couple hundred feet) and I never notice the ATV’s. I can see the new proposed sight from my west facing deck. I doubt I will ever hear the ATV’s unless we get an extremely quiet evening. I think the noise issue is being blown way out of proportion.

    November 22, 2010
  24. john george said:

    Kevin- I think you are correct in your assesment. The old timers in my RC flying club tell of a resident who moved into a home next to their old flying field. This resident complained to the county board about the noise these planes make. There was one specific incident that a flyer was accused of buzzing their home. In their presentation, they claimed the noise from the plane shook their whole house. Interestingly enough, this pilot was flying an electric powered plane. You can only hear the whirr of the propeller standing next to an electric, and anything over about 30 feet up is imperceptable. So, you are correct. People will make up whatever reasons they want when opposing something they do not like.

    November 22, 2010
  25. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Have you looked at the maps of the site Griff posted at the start of this topic?? As I said in #7 above, there are a couple of SMALLER operations in the area, but nothing on this scale (7 tracks plus campgrounds and concessions, etc). And ATVs are not as noisy as dirt bikes (motorcycles).

    Just for comparison, do tell us the number of acres in the riding area by you, number of ATVs it can accommodate and hours of operation.

    In a Star Trib interview when the first site was under consideration, Lee Theis said you would have to go to California or Florida to find something comparable.

    November 23, 2010
  26. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Re: Correction to news story (comment #11)

    The Faribault Daily report of Nov. 20 that I mentioned has an error as to date the Motokazie application goes before the Rice Cty Board. It is Tuesday morning, Dec. 14, not Dec. 9. According to Rice Cty P&Z, a resolution will be passed to start the EAW process.

    I understand that this same report, with correction, will go into tomorrow’s NNews.

    November 23, 2010
  27. Griff Wigley said:

    Steph, I agree with you, gas-powered motocross bikes in a race are louder than people playing on ATV’s in park like the one in Rice County.

    And yes, MotoKazieland would be the biggest park of its type around, certainly in the 5-state area, if not beyond.

    November 23, 2010
  28. Griff Wigley said:

    It appears increasingly likely that in ten years, maybe less, motorcycle racing will be dominated by quiet electric bikes.

    See the dirt bikes currently for sale by this US manufacturer, Zero Bikes:

    See this blog, all about electric bikes:

    My sport of mototrials is likely to be among the first to change:

    Remember: dirt bikers don’t love noisy bikes. They just want the bikes to perform.

    However, certain types of road bikers do, eg, Harleys with straight pipes or radically modified exhaust systems.

    November 23, 2010
  29. Robert Palmquist said:

    Are you saying electric versions will dominate because they perform better than gasoline powered bikes, or rather that they’ll become dominant because they are not as noisy?

    November 24, 2010
  30. john george said:

    Robert- I hadn’t thought about the evolution of electric power into motor bikes, as that sport just doesn’t enter my reading list. I do know that electrics are becoming more dominant in the RC field. The one characteristic of a 2-cycle engine is that oil is mixed into the gas to provide lubrication to the engine. This makes for a very messy powerplant. I have both a 2-cycle powered plane and an electric one, and the electric is spoiling me. The 2-cycle is very quiet, and there have been times I thought the thing had quit on approach, just to be surprised the prop was still turning when I got it onto the ground. Taxiing back to the pit area is much prefered over walking out onto the runway to retrieve a plane. But, when it is time to leave, the 2-cycle entails quite a bit of clean-up, as one side of the plane has a pretty good coat of oil. The electric is a different story. I just remove the battery and pack the thing into the van. No mess to clean up. With the improvement of rare earth magnets in the motors and Li-po batteries, electric power is becoming quite popular. There are some large scale planes that use an engine larger that what is used in many moto-cross bikes. Now we have electric power that will rival the gas, and it is a lot easier to maintain. You just have to be careful how you charge and store those Li-po’s. If mishandled, they can go off like a stick of dynamite.

    November 24, 2010
  31. Griff Wigley said:

    Published last Sat. Nov. 20 in the Fbo Daily News and in today’s Nfld News: Motokazie back in county picture

    Theis’ new parcel of land also has a Crop Equivalency Rating of under 65, another crucial element in meeting zoning land use standards. A high CER indicates land that is more productive for crops, according to the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office. With a rating under 65, the agriculturally zoned land meets standards for Motokazie development.

    November 27, 2010
  32. Griff Wigley said:


    My point about noise was to counter the view (expressed here on LG months ago in the previous discussion) that dirt bike racers love loud bikes, that they love to rev their engines, etc. as if they were of the same mindset as some road bikers who regularly rumble through the countryside and downtown, making sure they’re heard far and wide.

    Racers are most interested in performance. Theis has a reputation for educating racers that the newer generation of mufflers don’t hurt performance and he enforces it.

    So as electric motocross bikes come on the scene, riders will embrace them for cost and performance reasons. They won’t reject them because they love loud bikes.

    November 27, 2010
  33. Chris Becker said:

    My wife and I are one of those 4-5 families that will be harmed with excessive noise pollution(1498 150th St. E.). For 11 years I have worked day and night working harder than most people I know just to keep my small piece of the american dream that has been part of my family for many years. Now I find out about this track, mutiple tracks, trails ect. My dreams are crushed if this goes through. No more peace and quite. I drive semi 5 to 6 days a week up to 70 hours per week and all I want to do is come home and see what I work so hard for and get away from everything. My wife rides and raises horses I know without a doubt she will no longer be able to ride on or near the road due to the extra traffic. Many horses will freak out when atvs or motorcylces are around,usually bucking and kicking causing harm to anybody that is around them. I would get down on my hands and knees and beg Theis to move elsewhere but I know that would be a waste of effort. People like him only care about profits.
    Items that are being ignored:
    **There will not be just one or two atvs/motorcycles there will be dozens of em all revving on the throttle.
    **One race will have 10-20 atvs/motorcylces at a time multiply that by how many different events at any given time.
    **Not all enthusiests respect the rules or laws eventually they would be removed but not till after they have disobeyed the rules.
    **The night track will most likely have very bright lights, how is that going to blend with the surroundings?
    **If most people are like me and dont want to live next to a track how would I ever be able to sell my property if I so choose.
    Chris Becker

    November 29, 2010
  34. Chris Becker said:

    This other riding area(Tri County ATV Club)is an abandoned gravel pit that is very deep and blocks noise(not all but most). For the most part the proposed site is flat land with some rolling hills, nothing to block noise. And the amount of people using it will not even remotely compare to motokazies raceing and riding complex. That I know of this will be the largest or one of the largest tracks in the midwest.

    November 29, 2010
  35. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Chris, I am so sorry. Stopped there mid-November, but you weren’t home. Do call Bridgewater supervisors ASAP. And call me 645-7086 about a meeting tonight Wednesday.

    Had other townships supported Forest Township proposal for amendment to county ordinance last summer (leaving this use in urban reserve but taking it out of ag), this proposal could not have located by you.

    My computer went down last week, was supposedly fixed but going down again when I got it home last night. So I may no longer be able to email.

    December 1, 2010
  36. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Griff (your comment #16),

    Please post the NNews version of the news report. Theis’ rep, Bruns, gave the reporter incorrect information (including the Dec. 9 date) which are hopefully corrected in the NNews version which I have not yet seen. An EIS (environmental impact statement) is not the same as an EAW (environmental assessment worksheet), etc.

    December 1, 2010
  37. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Motokazie was on the agenda at the Bridgewater Township meeting in Dundas Wednesday night, Dec. 8 (see Klassen letter to editor in NNews that same day). Residents from all 4 townships that border on the site on Cty 9 east of I-35 came with questions. Dust, noise and traffic were among their concerns. No one in the room, as far as I could tell, wanted this project.

    Cannon City township had no word from the county to this point, so I passed out info and maps. None of the neighbors had been contacted by the landowner or the proposer, Lee Theis. A county commissioner I talked to yesterday knew the item would be on the agenda Tuesday morning, Dec. 14, but had not yet seen any paperwork.

    Cannon City Township meets Monday night, Dec. 13, at 7 pm. Anybody have directions to their town hall?

    December 10, 2010
  38. Bruce Morlan said:

    I wonder if a Conditional Use Permit could include a requirement to transition to all-electric racing vehicles within 10 years? CUPs are pretty flexible instruments, are they that flexible?

    December 13, 2010
  39. Griff Wigley said:

    Although this MotokazieLand park is primarily for organized racing, facilities like this can help to contain noise and preserve land.

    Witness the success of the DNR’s Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert. Many of the same arguments were used to oppose the park when it was proposed and those concerns have failed to materialize.

    January 6, 2011
  40. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    The Iron Range Recreational Area you’re talking about is “1200 acres of OHV recreation in a north woods setting.” By contrast, this is the ag zone with farm homes and rural residences all around it. Come on, Griff, this is apples to oranges.

    There are ongoing efforts to open up Boundary Waters area to OHVs and I am not sure of the status of that (what bills passed at State Legislature). People really cherish that area and are loathe to allow those OHV trails that far in.

    January 6, 2011
  41. Kevin Coon said:

    I think the point Griff is making, is that on projects like this, everyone that opposes it says “the sky is falling”.
    When all is said and done, 99% of what was said was going to happen, never happens, and life goes on almost unchanged. In that respect it is comparing apples to apples.

    January 6, 2011
  42. Jane Moline said:

    Kevin: Life will not be unchanged for the near (and far) neighbors who will have excessive noise and exhaust pollution both from the site and from the traffic going to and from.

    Griff: containing the damage is sort of like providing a smoking room for smokers. It still ruins the smoking room, the users lungs, and is a problem for any neighbors who get a whiff everytime the door opens and closes.

    Motokazie is detrimental in every way, economically it will ruin the value of the surrounding land, it will have very low-pay part-time jobs that are not going to earn a living for the employees, it will encourage the consumption of fossil fuels that put all kinds of conataminants in the soil, air and endnager our water.

    All of this so a very limited number of people can have “fun.”

    Instead, that land should be preserved for farm land until a “best” use that will provide more benefits than Motokazie, which will tear up the ground, destroy the environment, destroy hearing (talk about health issues–there are measurable damages from such a facility) and destroy the values of surrounding properties and prevent future beneficial development.

    Just everyone imagine two snowmobiles going by their house. Now imagine that going on 7 days a week. All the time. Yuk.

    January 6, 2011
  43. Griff Wigley said:

    Stephanie, not true. The Gilbert park is right across the lake from the city of Gilbert. And to the east are farms and rural homes. See this Google map:


    January 7, 2011
  44. Griff Wigley said:

    Jane, if the farmer wants to sell, and Rice County’s zoning says that ag zones are where these types of facilities can be located, what’s the legal basis for denying it?

    January 7, 2011
  45. Stephanie Henriksen said:


    Sure, there is a population in the Gilbert area, but it is way up north, not considered a rich farm area like ours
    I had a call in to a DNR office there and they just called me at noon today. Gilbert is very small, under 2000 population. They confirmed there are 1200 miles of trails, 800 in use. They do not have planned events or races (like Motokazie) but groups can if they have the right permits and insurance. They said there is a city campground that stays full all summer, whereas Motokazieland will have its own campground and concessions. There is no grocery store in Gilbert.

    January 7, 2011
  46. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Wayne Eddy had Lee Theis on KYMN radio for two hours Monday morning. Anybody hear it?

    January 7, 2011
  47. Griff Wigley said:

    Oooh, thanks, Steph. I’ve asked KYMN to let us know when the audio of that interview is available.

    January 8, 2011
  48. Griff Wigley said:


    1. What does “way up north” have to do with it?

    2. There are 2,000 people living within 1-2 miles of the Gilbert OHV park, right across a lake where one would think that engine noise would easily travel.

    3. The adjacent farmland to the east of the Gilbert park is just the same as the farmland adjacent to the proposed MotokazieLand park.

    4. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make about camping, concessions, and the lack of a grocery store in Gilbert.

    January 8, 2011
  49. Jane Moline said:

    So Griff–if it is legal, it doesn’t matter what it does to the environment or the neighborhood–we should just let it happen? I am disappointed that Rice County zoning is not more clear. How many people actually thought a noisy, polluting motorcycle and snowmobile racing park was acceptable in an Ag zone? I think that many more poeple would have sounded out during the zoning process if the planning commission had highlighted what was allowed. This is not agricultural to almost anyone you talk to–and most of the surrounding land owners probably never knew they would have the potential for a land devaluing motor racing park or they would have made noise during the zoning process.

    Thank goodness Bridgewater township instituted zoning in order to prevent an ethanol plant that would have sucked all the potable water out of the Jordan vein.

    Our Rice County commissioners have been very lax in protecting the resources of Rice County from exploitation that benefits only a few.

    Just because it may be legal, does not make it right.

    January 8, 2011
  50. Chris Becker said:

    Does anybody realize just how big this track is going to be? How many spectators and racers are going to be on our road on a daily basis? The fact that Lee Theis has yet to come to any of the neighbors and ask them how he can make this work for ALL involved.

    January 8, 2011
  51. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Southern Minnesota is good crop land, as compared to area north of Duluth. These are trails in the Gilbert area, not race tracks (more noisy). People stay at City of Gilbert campground. Theis has his own, he gets the money.

    If you are sensitive to a couple snowmobiles running by your housing complex, why would we not object to organized snowmobile races drawing thousands of visitors in winter?

    January 9, 2011
  52. Griff Wigley said:

    You’re wrong, Stephanie. The Gilbert OHV park is not just trails. See this page where it says:

    Areas for activities and special events include a multi-purpose event area, 4×4 rock crawl and obstacle course, tough-truck competition course, sand and mud drags, hill climbs, motorcycle track, observed trails, snowmobile events, bicycle motocross or mountain bike events and more.

    January 9, 2011
  53. Griff Wigley said:

    Stephanie, the snowmobiling I was objecting to is illegal.

    January 9, 2011
  54. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    About 100 acres of the Dennis Shaw land is tillable with a CER of 70. Unfortunately, when the wetlands and rough parts are factored in, Rice Cty says it averages 65 making it eligible for motor sports.

    January 9, 2011
  55. Robert Palmquist said:

    I believe the answer as to “how big is this track” is 165 total acres and ten tracks, not a single one. As for the number of people using the tracks, each race has about 20 contestants, whereas for practice sessions I’ve been told up to 60 people could be on a track at any given moment. I don’t mean to imply that every day every track is going to be filled to the max (that’s not realistic at all). So, while 500 to 600 racers is probably close to the maximum number of riders the facility could support at any given moment, I do not know how many people will be using the tracks on a typical day. I’d think it’d be quite a bit lower than that maximum number.

    January 10, 2011
  56. Robert Palmquist said:

    As another data point, for the 100 acre nine-track proposal that didn’t get approved, Lee Theis (sp?) initially said that he was going to limit the number of riders on the facility to 65 bikes/ATVs. As the discussions continued that seemed to change to 65 bikes/ATVs per track versus 65 for the entire facility (note that a few of the nine tracks were quite large so they potentially could have handled that number of users, others were smaller so the number of riders also would have been lower). The actual number of bikes in use at any given moment on his new development will most likely be limited by the legal limits of sound levels that can be heard at neighboring properties.

    January 10, 2011
  57. Stephanie Henriksen said:


    Ii am reviewing the wording of Theis’ initial request for amendment to the Rice Cty zoning ordinance. The Commercial Recreation section, 507.05, says noise shall be limited to 50 dB at nearest property line. He challenged that, saying that was more strict than the state standard. Remember what that number is?

    January 11, 2011
  58. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I tried accessing the KYMN interview w/Theis this morning, but a different program came on instead. The station said they would correct the problem by day’s end. It is on now!

    January 12, 2011
  59. Steph Henriksen said:

    Motokazieland EAW (Environmental Assessment Worksheet) will be ready Jan. 31, we hear. Should be interesting to read answers to 31 questions. The first ones are very simple, such as name and address of the proposer, etc. The question on noise will be one to look at.

    January 20, 2011
  60. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Fbo Daily News: Motokazie spurring Cannon City to action

    The board voted 2 to 1 to retain a lawyer specializing in township law and ordinance. That lawyer will analyze the language in a township moratorium — essentially an interim ordinance, one that specifically targets the proposed MotokazieLand development in Cannon City — and places control of the planning process in township hands. The interim ordinance, if enacted with its current language, states, “…[N]o person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity shall be granted a building permit … for use for organized motor sports.”

    January 29, 2011
  61. Griff Wigley said:

    Faribault Daily News editorial: Cannon City Township board’s actions a cause for alarm

    Why does Cannon City want to consider having its own planning and zoning department now? It’s as obvious as it is wrong. At a meeting that was so poorly publicized it barely counts as legal, the Cannon City Township board voted 2-1 to hire a lawyer to examine its proposed moratorium on development of an organized motor sports track.

    It’s surprising that Cannon City Township would want even to pay for a lawyer to look at an ordinance entertaining the possibility of independent zoning and planning. At Wednesday’s meeting, township Chairman Clayton Mechura acknowledged there is no budget for legal fees, even as he also noted that the township saved money by not publishing notice of its special meeting.

    January 29, 2011
  62. Griff Wigley said:

    Cannon City Township doesn’t have a website, and they used word of mouth to announce a public hearing to save money. And now they want to take on zoning and planning? What’s wrong with that picture?

    January 29, 2011
  63. Steph Henriksen said:

    I’m glad you ask, Griff. This was my email to Editor Jaci Smith, upon reading Lindberg’s story in Fbo Daily:


    Thank you for sending a reporter. A couple problems with the report which will fan the flames against the township:

    The reporter makes it sound like notice was only “word of mouth,” though it was posted at assigned locations. The only “word of mouth” reference I heard was when Theis demanded a head count of those for and against. Chair Mechura objected, saying what he was seeing was likely result of word of mouth (Theis getting out the word to his people), not representative of all of Cannon City.

    The reporter said the interim ordinance specifically targets Motokazieland. He left the meeting with a copy of the interim ordinance. It puts a hold on the motor sports category, but does not name this project. Our Bridgewater moratorium named “ag-related commercial” category of the Rice County Ordinance, but certainly did not name ABE Ethanol. It’s true that supervisors agreed that this project is what got their attention.

    I consider Supervisor Clayton Mechura a great man, struggling to do right, whichever way he votes on Feb. 14. He said he would not be intimidated, that he had to look out for Cannon City residents, which is what he was elected to do. The reporter did not quite get that.

    Stephanie Henriksen

    January 30, 2011
  64. Jane Moline said:

    I think the big issue here and for Cannon City Township is that the townships have long relied on the county to provide guidance for development. Unfortunately, that has led to many, many problems for the townships and Rice County, including but not limited to poorly regulated residential development that strains the townships and eventually even the school districts who must provide transportation and transportation support for non-ag residential. (Not to mention the opposition to potentially beneficial wind source energy, another blog thread.)

    I am sure Cannon CIty Township did not anticipate that the Rice County planning commission included commercial motor-sports in their classification of agricultural or ag-commmericial land. Just as Bridgewater wisely invoked their own planning and zoning to save us all from a mega-polluting ethanol plant, so Cannon City Township wants to protect its citizens and the surrounding areas from an unattractive, mega-polluting, noisy, low-paying part-time job producing motor sports park.

    Unfortunately motokazi looked for and found lax regulations in Rice County and a land-owner in a town ship that had not caught on to the poor protections that Rice County had adopted.

    Instead of snubbing their nose at Cannon City Township we should be helping them organize and fight the destruction of their land value and the pollution and destruction that will be part of allowing this barbaric “sport” a venue.

    Sincerely, how many people in Rice County thought that motor sports were an acceptable agricultural zoned land use? This is a failure on the part of Rice County board of commissioners and planning and zoning, who certainly did not describe to the citizens what uses unrelated to agricultural were being adopted in their zoning regulations.

    January 30, 2011
  65. Steph Henriksen said:

    Lee Theis brought a lot of MET-CON people with him to the township meeting. MET-CON moved out into the ag zone of Wells Township from their industrial site in Faribault in recent years. People wondered how they qualified as a “contractor’s yard.” That’s a small business with a couple trucks or…

    The company is hoping for a freeway interchange at Cty 9, and the increased traffic from Motokazie could bring them closer to their goal. Aligning himself w’MET-CON was a smart move.

    February 2, 2011
  66. Anne Sawyer said:

    “Instead of snubbing their nose at Cannon City Township we should be helping them organize and fight the destruction of their land value…”

    Jane, I completely agree. I’ve been following this on LoGroNo, but usually I read about it too late to get to meetings and such. I’m wondering what we can do to be more proactive in our support for those in Cannon City Township who are against this development… I live in Bridgewater Township BECAUSE I value the agricultural landscape and peace and quiet that comes with it. I want to help those in Cannon City Township because I would be devastated if someone wanted to build something like this next to me and completely destroy the economic and intrinsic value of what I spend the vast portion of my time and money working to build.

    February 3, 2011
  67. Steph Henriksen said:

    Anne, do give me a call. Can’t find you in the book.

    As I said in a letter to editor, Commissioners Malecha and Docken proposed updating the county motor sports ordinance, with a moratorium in place. Gillen, Plaisance and Bauer voted against it. So now the burden falls on Cannon City township.

    February 6, 2011
  68. Anne Sawyer said:

    Thanks, Stephanie. I’m definitely not in the book… got a cell phone with a Colorado area code. If you get a funny “970” call, it’ll be me. 🙂

    February 7, 2011
  69. Steph Henriksen said:

    Cannon City Township votes tonight Valentine’s Day, 7 pm, on whether or not to file an interim ordinance (timeout for study) on motorsports developments in the township. Lee Theis will have his supporters out in force, no doubt, so come early.

    If supervisors vote to do the timeout, they spend the time they need for study (up to a year) and then vote to start up their own zoning or not.

    February 14, 2011
  70. Steph Henriksen said:

    Cannon City Township voted last night (Valentine’s Day) on whether or not to file an interim ordinance on certain developments, including motor sports, in the township. I expected a packed house, after the last meeting Jan. 26 where Theis brought his supporters, mostly MET-CON people. Didn’t happen. There were 30 people, accdg to the Lindberg report in Fbo Daily today. There were residents of all 4 townships opposing Motokazieland, but none were named or quoted in the Lindberg report today. The reporter continues his one-sided reports.

    The stage had been set by Faribault Daily Sunday front page comparing Bridgewater and Cannon City townships. People expected the action would be too expensive and a legal nightmare. This impression was made worse by the 4-pg attorney opinion Chair Mechura read verbatim to the group before the vote. The atty had disclosed a conflict of interest (his firm represented City of Fbo) but his opinion was used for the meeting, nonetheless. With one supervisor absent and one pro-Motokazie supervisor, Chair Mechura joined in voting no.

    Griff, please post the two reports from meetings of Jan. 26 and Feb. 14.

    February 15, 2011
  71. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for the update, Stephanie.

    Faribault Daily News: Cannon City Township Board downs interim ordinance

    The Cannon City Township Board voted against an interim ordinance that would halt development of the proposed MotokazieLand park within its township limits Monday night. More than 30 people, including those from nearby townships and cities, filled the township hall to lobby Chairperson Clayton Mechura and Supervisor Colin Glarner, and to hear the board members explain the reasoning behind their votes. The board members were adamant: The cost in adopting the ordinance would be nothing short of astronomical for a budget the size of Cannon City Township’s.

    February 15, 2011
  72. Griff Wigley said:

    Steph, where would I get those meeting minutes from? Cannon City Township doesn’t have a website. If you have them, email them to me!

    February 15, 2011
  73. BrucwWMorlan said:

    As a planning commissioner I have two comments. First, every time I have been allowed to speak on township planning I have emphasized three things. (1) Planning and zoning is not free. Although fees and the like cover much of the day-to-day administrative costs, in the case of Bridgewater we have found additional revenue sources we would not be aware of without help from planning consultants. But at the end of each year, we will have spent some of our tax revenue to do our own planning and zoning. (2) But, in exchange for doing our own P&Z we also take back control of our township from out-of-town developers who do not understand our rural sensibility about the importance of the land, the soil and the water to our livelihoods and our souls as farmers. (3) And finally, because we are taking back control of our lands, we, unfortunately, make our neighbors “low hanging fruit” for any starry-eyed developers who only see bare land as an opportunity to make a quick buck if they can just hide the full cost of development from the taxpayer’s representatives long enough to sell them on the opportunity they see.

    This brings me to me second comment. One of the real hidden costs, in addition to the immediate impact on the neighbors, is the pressure this will put on the township and county roads and the resulting pressure to build an interchange at Cty 9 and I-35. A quick Google and Mapquest is telling.

    Google maps: Minneapolis to 1495 150th St E, Faribault, MN 55019

    7. Continue onto I-35 S 21.0 mi
    8. Take exit 66 for County Rd 1 toward Dundas/Montgomery 0.3 mi
    9. Turn right at Co Rd 1/Millersburg Blvd 0.4 mi
    10. Take the 1st left onto Bagley Ave 4.0 mi
    11. Turn left at 150th St W
    Destination will be on the right 1.4 mi


    Mapquest: Minneapolis to 1495 150th St E, Faribault, MN 55019

    6. I-35W S becomes I-35 S.
    7. Take the MN-19 exit, EXIT 69, toward NORTHFIELD/NEW PRAGUE. 0.3 mi
    8. Turn LEFT onto MN-19/LONSDALE BLVD E. Continue to follow MN-19. 6.9 mi
    9. Turn RIGHT onto DAHOMEY AVE/MN-3 S/MN-3. Continue to follow MN-3 S. 7.7 mi
    10. Turn RIGHT onto BACHRACH AVE/COUNTY ROAD 9. 0.3 mi
    11. Take the 1st LEFT onto 150TH ST E/COUNTY ROAD 9. 0.8 mi
    12. 1495 150TH ST E is on the LEFT.

    These give some quick idea of how people will get to this new site. They also suggest who will be down at the County seat arguing for building an interchange at Cty9 and I-35. If you have time to play with the sites, try finding this address as a destination from the south (e.g., Owatanna to …). How about from Mankato? How about from Rochester? What is the total target market anyway?

    These traffic questions should be the proper province of the planning commissions, but in fact they are often ruled out of play as developers put on a full court press, eager to build new projects. For an example close to home, look at the horrible condition of CSAH#1 near Bridgewater Heights. We (the Planning Commission) asked repeatedly why we could not make that a safer intersection (lower the road, make the entrance a level or slight downhill rather that an icy climb from a stop onto a high speed road) and the answer was always “too much money to ask of the developer“, which translates to “if you make them pay to do it right they won’t do it at all“. The secondary fall back position was “it’s a county road“, which translates to “it’s not our problem“.

    It would be nice if we could go back to the businesses who are making the money, and we do to some extent, but in the final analysis we all pitch in to fix a problem not directly of our making.

    February 16, 2011
  74. Steph Henriksen said:


    Griff posted a link to the EAW which is now on the Rice County website. Check the info in the traffic study (one of the exhibits). I didn’t have time yesterday.

    Lee Theis said the EAW is 98 pages long when he threw it down on the Cannon City supervisors table Jan 26. It was released for comment Feb. 15, yesterday. Doublecheck when 30-day comment period ends.

    Anyone can comment. When MPCA is in charge, the agency answers each and every one of the comments (not to my satisfaction in some cases) before it goes to MPCA Citizens Board for hearing. I assume Rice County Board will schedule a hearing but don’t know when.

    February 16, 2011
  75. Robert Palmquist said:

    Interesting perspective on the road access Bruce, thanks. Another possible slant on this is that due to the volume of cars it may be better to have this type of access. For the big events the Motokazie folks I believe are expecting around 200+ vehicles to arrive within a one-hour time period (please correct me if I’m wrong on that estimate). By vehicle, this probably is frequently a truck plus trailer. That’ll mean there could be a pretty significant back up of traffic “parked” on the roads while they’re waiting to enter the development. It’d be much safer to have this back up happen on the county roads versus on I-35. Of course, this is for the big events happening at Motokazie, not the day-to-day experience.

    February 16, 2011
  76. Chris Becker said:

    Has anybody sat down and tried to figure out how Theis can possibly come up with enough money from local and regional racing to pay back the massive debt that he will rack up building this facility? I used to race and ride atv’s and there is not that much money in it. I dont see how without also bringing in the national level as well. If that happens we can expect to see 20,000 to 40,000 spectaters on an event weekend like they get at the track in Millville,MN. Backups getting to and from that are 10+ miles long.

    February 16, 2011
  77. Bruce Morlan said:


    The question of how Theis can repay the debt incurred is really not a question for governments to ask, but it is a question the bankers should ask. While it would seem to be smart for government units to ask this question, I have often been reminded that it is not the business of government bodies to make business decisions for or with entrepreneurs. The big exceptions that I remind staffs of is when the developer is asking for public monies to help their projects (e.g., TIFs, bonds for infrastructure), in which case the government unit is very much on the hook should the business fail, and it should be proper for us to determine what we will do when the market changes and the business fails. The Bridgewater Heights project is an example of a case where staff did the requested sensitivity analysis, but even then they underestimated how poorly the housing market would perform, and we can see the piles of unburied culverts and incomplete roads that resulted. Northfield seems headed down that same path with their proposed business-shopping-housing debacle in their Northwest Territories.

    But, back to Motokazie, traffic issues and the impact on our local quality of life related to those issues should be a proper consideration of governments, and if the taxation paid by the developer will not cover the reasonably projectable costs (like extra security, an interchange at 9 and I35, etc.) we should have the ability to say no. But I am sure some lawyers will disagree (and happily so argue for the right prices). And it is not clear to me that the County has the will to try. (By the way, this is why I supported Bridgewater’s push to do their own planning and zoning, as the County and State are not responsive to our local sensibilities.) Certainly, the Cannon City Township Board did not see the need. Different visions; different futures.

    February 17, 2011
  78. Steph Henriksen said:

    Thank you to those of you who are participating here and I hope you will read the EAW and look for missing or incomplete information you can submit as your comment on the EAW before March 15 deadline.

    The front page report by Joseph Lindberg in Feb. 16 paper is another one-sided report, designed to move pubic opinion in favor of Motokazieland, followed up by another pro-Motokazie editorial in Fbo Daily yesterday. Lindberg says there was opposition (to Motokazie) but names none of the residents who spoke or what they said.

    The report does not mention the attorney disclosure of conflict of interest (his firm represents City of Faribault). There was not time to consult with another firm, so Chair Mechura read the 4 page opinion which was the worst scenario as far as cost and liability that I’ve ever heard. Based on that opinion, had I not had a background in this area, I would have voted NO on an interim ordinance myself.

    February 17, 2011
  79. Chris Becker said:

    The point I am trying to get to is that nobody seems to know what type of events Theis is planning to have and without that knowledge all we are doing is trusting his word. Whats the liklyhood that he is an honest developer? Like I said before if he is going to have national level events you will see more traffic on our roads than he is letting you know. The other problem I have is that my property value will go down because of this. I have taken enough of a hit with the economy and now this. My wife and I wanted to move out as soon as Met-Con moved in but we didnt have the money to finish the house and then the economy made things worse. From what I understand nobody can put a business up on my land so that leaves me with residential sale only. With the track accross the road a lot less people will be willing to buy it. So then what?

    February 17, 2011
  80. Steph Henriksen said:

    I find it curious that the EAW became available for comment the day AFTER the Cannon City meeting and vote. Nobody could look up data and bring questions on it to the meeting Feb. 14.

    This is from Traffic Study in the EAW. Event schedule for the year is there, starting in June 2011. Some events show open hours 6:30 am to 10 pm. There is an event early June that is projected to bring 1000 ADT. Yes, they may be underestimating. The summary at the end of the report makes traffic look light:


    February 17, 2011
  81. Brian Klier said:

    Steph, I saw that you wrote a letter to the editor in the Faribault paper on February 3rd (http://www.faribault.com/news.php?viewStory=104869) stating that the interim ordinance “certainly does not name this project” (Motokazieland). You seemed like you were trying to convince citizens that this whole interim ordinance limiting motorsports was just a complete coincidence with Motokazie’s proposal. But now, you seem upset that the Motokazie environmental assessment worksheet was not made public before the vote on the interim ordinance.

    Which is it, Steph? I get that you’re against the project for your reasons, but contradicting yourself is certainly not helping people reading your side of the story believe it. In fact, your comments illustrate perfectly why Troy Gilchrist stated that the township would be acting “unreasonably, arbitrarily, and capriciously in adopting the ordinance … improperly targeting a particular project.” Even if I understood your reasoning (which I do not) why Troy’s comments are a conflict of interest because he works with the City of Faribault, the advice nonetheless is sound.

    The Conditional Use Permit process is what’s designed to address the concerns that members of the County have regarding the project. Rice County’s process, from what I’ve seen of it, does a good job at taking all sides into consideration when making its decision. Neither side is going to get exactly what it wants.

    February 17, 2011
  82. Anne Sawyer said:

    Something to consider is that the “impact” studies of sound and traffic – the two biggest considerations, in my opinion – were done by private consultants, paid by Theis. I’m not implying that they’re at all dishonest or incomplete in their work – I’m sure they’re quite professional – but it doesn’t hurt the other side to try to furnish their own experts to check into the details of these reports. My question is, who, if anybody, do we know that may have expertise in these areas? If not, are there citizens who may be willing to band together to hire their own consultants to at least look over the reports and see if there are issues that may have been missed?

    I’d like to know more about the visitor numbers that Theis is projecting, too… I haven’t been to any meetings (I find out about them after the fact, usually, and no, I haven’t yet taken the initiative to be more proactive in finding out about them, and if you knew my schedule you’d understand why) but I would like to hear how these numbers came about. The septic and traffic estimates seems to be based on a maximum visitor count of 1000, plus some staff. What is the *actual* maximum capacity of the venue? Will there be a limit to the number that are allowed in at one time? If not, I’m worried that these numbers may not adequately reflect the visitation potential.

    February 18, 2011
  83. Robert Palmquist said:

    In addition to the traffic and noise, I’m a bit concerned about the water usage. According to Motokazie’s estimates they’ll be using a bit over 3,000,000 gallons of water a year (dust control, snow making, showers, etc.). I moved here from New Mexico where water usage was a big deal. Is 3 million gallons a year an issue for our acquifers (it would be in New Mexico), or is that not much of a concern?

    February 18, 2011
  84. Steph Henriksen said:


    It is foolish to think that one must keep a secret as to the identity of the project that gained the attention of the local governing body. The actual project is not named, however, because the study should cover the whole range of organized motor sports in anticipation of future developments, not just the one at hand.

    The part of the Gilchrist opinion you cite (p.2) is standard advice. However, a township can expect to be sued as “arbitrary and capricious” anyway, no matter how conscientious it is in setting up its planning and zoning. We were sued in our township by an ethanol company that had considerably more clout and backing than Mr. Theis and came out fine.

    Gilchrist lobbied for MAT on behalf of townships at the State Legislature when I knew him. Now he is with a firm that represents cities, including Faribault. The interests of cities and townships are generally at odds due to annexation and related issues. His conflict of interest is very apparent in the last pages of his report. I will not speak more on that here, however.

    Did you attend the Feb. 14 meeting? If you did, you recall how upset township residents were with the county for issuing permits and neglecting to enforce conditions (gravel pits as one example). I am wondering what projects you are referring to where things came out well for both sides.

    February 19, 2011
  85. Steph Henriksen said:

    Front page story on Motokazieland EAW in yesterday Faribault Daily, Feb. 24, says comment period ends Mar. 23, with the public hearing set for Thursday, Mar. 3 at Rice County Planning Commission meeting. That is NEXT WEEK.

    The reporter misleads the reader, quoting the responses to the last question (#31) on the EAW saying these are the conclusions arrived at by the county. WRONG. I called the Rice County P&Z office and they do not know how the reporter got this idea. The answers to the 31 questions on the EAW worksheet were submitted by I&S Consulting, hired by Lee Theis to answer these questions and provide supporting materials.

    It makes no sense to point out to readers that the report indicates no need for further study and then tell readers they can comment on the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in the document to determine if further study (EIS) is needed.

    Neither the reporter nor the editor of the paper acknowledge their mistake and the same report will end up tomorrow in Saturday Northfield News. Watch for it.

    February 25, 2011
  86. Anne Sawyer said:

    Stephanie, do you know where and at what time the planning commission meeting is? I could probably look it up, but since I’m already on this site I figured I’d ask!

    February 25, 2011
  87. Steph Henriksen said:

    Anne, the following is the link to the FDN notice for the March 3 County Planning Commission mtg. It is the first item, starting at 6 pm at Govt Services Bldg next to the Court House. Can you find others to carpool over?


    February 25, 2011
  88. Steph Henriksen said:

    Klassen letter (below) was not printed today, nor John Maakestad’s submitted for last week papers. The story on Motokazie EAW was not reprinted in NNews. Seems there is a lock down on information about Motokazieland EAW public hearing set for tomorrow, Thursday, 6 pm at Govt. Services Center in Faribault.

    Letter To the editor:

    A front page story in Faribault paper Feb. 24 on the Motokazieland Recreational Park EAW (Environmental Assessment Worksheet) was not reprinted in the Northfield News today, so many people are unaware of the public hearing set for next Thursday, March 3. Start time is early, 6 pm at the Government Services Building in Faribault. I expect Motokazie supporters to be out in force, Met-Con people among them. If there is enough traffic to justify this project, Met-Con expects a freeway interchange on Cty 9 .

    Commissioners Galen Malecha and Jeff Docken prevented the ordinance change that would have allowed this big racing project in the highway commercial zone in Forest Township on I-35 last year. The new site in Cannon City Township fits the ordinance for agricultural zone or urban reserve as it stands, which unfortunately allows this kind of project. It takes a simple majority to approve the EAW as sufficient and a Conditional Use Permit after that. If conditions are not restrictive enough to protect the public, there is some chance that three out of five might vote against it.

    I encourage people to carpool to Faribault Thursday night to hear the staff present the project. People who can’t make the hearing can submit public comment through March 23. Read the Motokazie EAW on the Rice County website before you go. I find the projected number of visitors at various types of events, impacts on roads, and noise impacts woefully underestimated. This Motokazie project would be the largest in the region, if not in the nation.

    Faribault Daily falsely reports that county staff has already determined further study is unnecessary and attributes statements made in the EAW as being those of the County. Wrong. Those statements–the answers to the 31 questions on the standard EAW form–were written by Lee Theis’ consulting firm, not the County, designed to paint a rosy picture. Shame on Faribault Daily for lack of standards in reporting.

    Julie Klassen

    March 2, 2011
  89. BrucwWMorlan said:

    The projected need for an interchange on Cty9 and I-35 should be a show-stopper for a principled County Commissioner, even though it will not be County money that builds it (well, mostly not County money). They should not want to bet on Feds being willing to put in such an exchange based on the fact that the inconvenient traffic is loading County roads.

    March 2, 2011
  90. Griff Wigley said:

    Steph, I’m confused.

    On page 4 of the Motokazieland EAW it reads:

    The EAW is prepared by the Responsible Governmental Unit or its agents to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared. The Project proposer must supply any reasonably accessible data for — but should not complete — the final worksheet.

    Underneath that it lists the RGU as Rice County and the contact person as Julie Runkel, Environmental Services Director.

    At the bottom it reads:

    Environmental Assessment Worksheet was prepared by the staff of the Environmental Quality Board at the Minnesota Department of Administration, Office of Geographic and Demographic Analysis.

    and it’s signed by Runkel.

    RGU CERTIFICATION. I hereby certify that: The information contained in this document is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge.

    So where did the Fbo Daily News reporter make his mistake? Where is the info about I&S Consulting, hired by Lee Theis?

    March 2, 2011
  91. Steph Henriksen said:

    The website report is not as offensive as the hard copy one in the paper with superimposed map and boxed statement saying the county reports no need for further study. False, false, false.

    And the summary statements on major impacts such as noise, wetlands, traffic, etc. Those are all written by I&S Consulting firm for Lee Theis, painting a rosey picture. Those are NOT statements by county staff!!!

    After statements in the Lindberg report were true, there would be no reason for people to go to the hearing tomorrow night. It sounds like a forgone conclusion that impacts are minimal.

    Coming from another state, it is possible Editor Jaci Smith does not understand environmental review in Minnesota. In her editorials, she can state her support for Motokazieland raceways. But she is not justified in using falsified material to support her position.

    March 2, 2011
  92. Griff Wigley said:

    Stephanie, how would a person know that the summary statements in the EAW “are all written by I&S Consulting firm for Lee Theis”?

    I cited in comment 51.1 all the wording in the EAW that seems to contradict your assertion.

    Yes, I&S submitted a traffic study (Exhibit O) and another consulting firm submitted a sound study (Exhibit p) but that doesn’t mean that those firms wrote the summary statement.

    It still seems to me that the reporter for the Fbo Daily News got it right when he wrote:

    Below are the most prominent pieces of analysis and the county’s recommendations, all found in the EAW, online on the county’s website:

    March 2, 2011
  93. Robert Palmquist said:

    I’d claim one prominent piece of information in the EAW is the amount of water that they will be drawing from our aquifer. Maybe I’m more sensitive to water issues as I moved here from New Mexico where water usage is a big concern. The reporter concludes the article by saying, “Dust will be controlled with watering trucks and systems, drawing from the stormwater facilities on-site.” That gives the impression that well water won’t be used, just runoff collected from rain storms. The information provided by Motokazie in the EAW states well water usage is around 10,500 gallons per day. The EAW also states they intend to be operating 218-300 days per year. That adds up to around 3,000,000 gallons per year. In my mind that’s a pretty significant piece of information that should be added to the list.

    March 3, 2011
  94. Steph Henriksen said:

    I am on the MPCA mailing list to receive all EAWs in certain categories. I comment on those that show potential for great harm to neighbors particularly farmers in rural areas. And I go to St. Paul for some of the hearings when they are held by the MPCA Citizens Board.

    In our case, the RGU (governing unit) is the County. The hearing is in Faribault instead of St. Paul. I am getting my comment ready, so I don’t have time to answer in more detail.

    If you were also fooled into believing that county staff wrote the answers to the 31 questions, I can see why the editor and reporter were also. I assume you also will not see the need to attend.

    March 3, 2011
  95. Steph Henriksen said:


    Do call Julie Runkel and ask her your questions. I will be very surprised if she says she provided the answers to the questions on the worksheet, particularly the last one that gives short summaries.

    March 3, 2011
  96. Griff Wigley said:

    Steph, I’ve left a voicemail for Julie Runkel, Environmental Services Director and author of the Motokazieland EAW. I’ve also sent her this email:

    Hi Julie,

    I left you a voicemail at 10:45 am today re: which portions of the Motokazieland EAW were authored by you and which portions were authored by the developer and/or consultants hired by the developer.

    My blog post: A new proposed location for MotokazieLand in Cannon City Township.

    You can see Stephanie Henriksen’s recent comments, eg here:

    And the summary statements on major impacts such as noise, wetlands, traffic, etc. Those are all written by I&S Consulting firm for Lee Theis, painting a rosey picture. Those are NOT statements by county staff!!!


    If you were also fooled into believing that county staff wrote the answers to the 31 questions, I can see why the editor and reporter were also.


    and here:

    Do call Julie Runkel and ask her your questions. I will be very surprised if she says she provided the answers to the questions on the worksheet, particularly the last one that gives short summaries.

    I know you’re probably extremely busy today in preparation for tonight’s public hearing but to me this is a critical piece of information for citizens.

    March 3, 2011
  97. Steph Henriksen said:


    I am eating crow! Yes, she did write the summaries under the last question, based on data she was provided by Theis and the consulting firm to the previous questions. The job of the public and state agencies is to review the data for inaccuracies or incomplete answers that might show need for more study. That is what the public hearing tonight is about tonight.

    Runkel has concluded from the data provided to her, which she has signed off on as “accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge,” that no further study is needed and it can go on to CUP process.

    The conclusion of staff is rarely overturned but I have seen it happen. I have seen additional information provided by citizens that was persuasive enough that staff reversed their position and recommended an EIS. Happened on a project in Rice County, as a matter of fact.

    March 3, 2011
  98. Griff Wigley said:

    Okay, Stephanie, thanks for publicly eating crow. Not many folks do that so I appreciate it. Chances are, I’ll have to do likewise sometime soon!

    March 3, 2011
  99. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Fbo Daily News: Motokazie EAW report scrutinized by Rice County residents

    The feedback will be compiled with the written comments, sorted and organized by the county and addressed by professionals or county staff. Once the Planning Commission is informed on all the issues, it will make a recommendation to the county board.

    That recommendation could be to either move forward with the process — which would mean arranging a public hearing to discuss the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) — or recommending a more in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address any serious problems or concerns that might emerge in the process.

    March 4, 2011
  100. Steph Henriksen said:


    Compared to the big hearing last May on the first site, it was a light turnout last night. Those who came to speak were disappointed when Commission members voted to change the usual time limit of 3 minutes to 2. Gave us the idea they were not really there to listen.

    Of the 13 people who came forward to speak, only 3 were in favor of Motokazieland. There were other agenda items, but those concerned about Motokazie went out to talk in the hall. There was some spirited conversation–staff came out to “shush” us.

    The Faribault reporter does his usual one-sided report today, quoting only Kym Anderson of Faribault Chamber of Commerce in support of the project.

    March 4, 2011
  101. Griff Wigley said:

    Letter to the editor in today’s Nfld News by John Maakestad, Nestrand:

    Motokazie Park will adversely affect county

    But allowing the mechanization of a piece of land 10,000 years old is allowing for a regrettable blight. It would be exciting to listen to a County Board argue for the intrinsic value of natural lands instead of having always to grab at all possible tax revenues.

    March 5, 2011
  102. Steph Henriksen said:

    Great Maakestad letter. Bruce Morlan will like it too.

    People imagine all commercial projects bring a lot of tax money. Not this one. Property tax on the first site was $40,000 or so (county share $11,000). The three small buildings (A,B,C on site plan) are taxed on square footage. By contrast, a big Aldi warehouse is over $100,000/yr. You can call Assessor to get an idea.

    Anne Sawyer, where are you? I thought you were interested in this topic.

    March 5, 2011
  103. Anne Sawyer said:

    Steph, I am very interested in this project. I could not make the meeting last Thursday because I work in Chanhassen and was stuck here until after 6pm. My schedule is insane, so I apologize for not being able to follow up in the way I would like to.

    March 7, 2011
  104. Chris Becker said:

    What I find amazing about this is that it will be much tougher to sell my property if this goes through and nobody denies it. I have taken a $55,000 taxable value hit in the last three years so where does that leave me. Nobody seems to care……

    March 7, 2011
  105. Steph Henriksen said:


    A percentage of the ticket charge at the gate should go to near neighbors to cover their losses. What percentage would be fair?

    I hope all those concerned about this project get to the Cannon City Township election today, 4-8 pm, to support candidates who will help see that Motokazieland Recreational Park operates in compliance with conditions on its permit.

    March 8, 2011
  106. Griff Wigley said:

    Fbo Daily News: Cannon City Township residents re-elect Mechura, Bauer

    General discussion gave residents an opportunity to bring up items that weren’t covered on the meeting’s agenda. Some of the topics included the Motokazie project and road rock and dust control.

    Cathy Schulz brought up the noise, environmental, safety and compliance concerns for the Motokazie project. The Cannon City Township board will work with the Board of Commissioners to recommend conditions on Motokazie to lessen the impact on residents.

    March 9, 2011
  107. Chris Becker said:

    A percentage will not cover my losses. I plan on leaving as soon as I can. What I want is Theis to step up to the plate and help those of us who want to leave by finding buyers that would be willing to live next to his track. I have tried twice now to contact him but have been ignored. I know he got the emails due to the reaction of sombody I used to call a freind that supports Theis.

    March 9, 2011
  108. Steph Henriksen said:


    Fbo Daily’s probe of township affairs continues, focusing on Cannon City. Good to see a new reporter was assigned. Really conveys the atmosphere of a township annual meeting. Usually a resident is nominated to be moderator and supervisors sit in the audience. There is no mention of that.

    Accdg to KDHL noon news, the write-in candidate for the one-year seat, Preston Bauer, won 46-42 over Cathy Schulz. The Schulz farm is behind the Motokazie site. The other candidate for the one-year seat on the ballot, Greg Swanson, got 25 votes.

    Incumbent Clayton Mechura won 76-37 over challenger Kenny Bongers. I don’t know if KYMN radio is running election results or not.

    March 9, 2011
  109. Steph Henriksen said:

    Fbo Daily attack on townships

    Time to rethink township politics
    Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 1:13 am
    Has township politics run its course?

    We passed another township election day this week. Few people noticed, even those living in townships. Not many of these township elections feature contested races and the turnout is usually dismal.

    Here’s an example: One Rice County township reported the election of the incumbent treasurer with 24 votes and the incumbent township supervisor with 27 votes. Neither race was contested and the voting population hovers around 700. That means a rough estimate of about 3 percent of voters turned out on Tuesday in that township.

    Of the 15 townships with elections in Rice County, Cannon City was the only one with a contested race. In neighboring Dakota County, which posts its townships’ results (Rice County does not), not a single one of the 13 townships with elections had a contested race.

    What’s the point? It appears that most residents are apathetic at best about their representation, and few of them sign on to lead. When a township forms, it chooses to do so for governance that in some way is distinguishable from county, state and federal oversight — perhaps it wants more maintenance on its roads or an independent fire or police department or tighter zoning restrictions.

    But as shown by the lack of interest in either running or voting for leadership, we wonder if it wouldn’t save taxpayer money for some of these townships, particularly the smaller ones, to consider dissolving. On the second Tuesday of March each year, some communities seem to make the point that township governance is overkill.

    The issue: Tuesday was Election Day in townships across the state.

    Our view: Since they mostly pass unnoticed in a lot of townships, perhaps it’s time to consider dissolving a few townships to save taxpayer money.

    March 12, 2011
  110. Bruce Morlan said:

    I saw this editorial at the Faribault Daily News and it drove home to me how hostile they are to rural voters. My response was posted at their site, but I’ll put it here (ever so slightly updated) as well.

    As a statistician I must point out that nothing brings out the voters like dissatisfaction. The fact that the turnout is so low in the townships could as easily be attributed to happy voters as to indifferent voters.

    The township where I am supervisor (Bridgewater) is a vibrant politically active community struggling to maintain its rural character in the face of County, State and Federal interventions meant to serve the large voting blocks they control.

    Some years back our township reviewed this situation and found that our rural sensibilities, which are mostly conservationist and fiscally conservative (with a strong Liberal “leave us alone” component), were not being well served by convoluted, centralized regulations and programs designed more to protect and pay off people with power than to protect and reward people who work the land. We undertook our own planning and zoning to protect ourselves, and every year we practice true local representative democracy that urban citizens can only teach (as an example of a quaint anarchistic practice) in their schools.

    For the Faribault Daily News to editorialize to do away with townships is a clear signal that they want to support the continued erosion of our freedoms in the name of serving their definition of a greater good. Well, we might as easily claim that, in our opinion, the urban sensibility is mostly one of greed and exploitation. Luckily for Bridgewater, we have a working relationship (rocky at times, but there as a foundation for discussions) with the cities we border, and the three of us (Northfield, Dundas, Bridgewater — as government units engaged in planning and zoning) are working together to bring on board as many of our neighboring townships as possible. We can point out townships that without planning and zoning appear on some City maps as little more than “undeveloped lands” or “terra icognita“. Though the city maps do not explicitly say so, these free-agency townships might as well be illustrated with fanciful dragons and mythical beasts just like the ones that graced those ancient maps that used to define the “known world” as civilized and the rest of the world as open for the taking.

    Just north of the City of Faribault there may seem to be contention and turmoil, but it is our contention and turmoil, and we are smarter and empowered by the conversations that we have. And, every year we pay a little extra money to hold our voting meetings, practice real democracy (we get to VOTE on our levy, it is not just as set by our elected officials), and continue to hold the reins of power and accountability very close indeed.

    March 13, 2011
  111. Chris Becker said:

    Who is protecting me? I live in Bridgewater and have for 30 years. Like I said before this track is going to lower my property value. I have spoken to a couple of realtors and a developer that all asked to remain out of the picture because its not their fight. They all agreed that it will hurt me unless I get very lucky. The general thought was that I needed to just shut up and deal with it until im allowed to sell it as commercial land or the land values go back up. I live in the country for a reason, I grew up on a farm and love the peace and quiet. And as long as its on the other side of the line it seems that bridgewater is going to stay out of the fight and let its residents on the border to suffer. Where is the reward and rural sensibilities in that?

    March 13, 2011
  112. Steph Henriksen said:


    We made a motion at the Bridgewater annual meeting, giving direction to the board for the coming year. We asked that supervisors work with Commissioner Jeff Docken on conditions on the Motokazieland permit to mitigate impacts on residents. One of your neighbors seconded the motion.

    Although Bridgewater does not have jurisdiction over this project because it is not within our borders, supervisors could, as a board or individually, do an EAW comment before Mar. 23 deadline also. Do not hesitate to call all three supervisors to talk about this.

    March 13, 2011
  113. Chris, Bridgewater Planning and Zoning tries to protect the citizens of Bridgewater Township, but we cannot control behavior in the neighboring townships. I have in the past recommended to both Forest and Cannon City Townships that they should take on planning and zoning, a recommendation that may in part have led to the somewhat condescending editorial suggesting that township governments should be done away with.

    We in the townships are under heavy pressure to just roll over and play dead while non-rural powers define our future for us. I expect to continue to stand against such powers, but can offer little help other than words against events outside our political boundaries. I do plan to try to discuss this further at the next township Planning and Zoning meeting (this Thursday). I could use a sound position paper that was written by a citizen (acting as staff) addressing this situation in light of some of the 10 classic mistakes I listed in another forum. (Windturbines).

    From the Rice County website and call for information, it looks like you would have to be very explicit to specific points in the EAW. Characterizing sound levels as annoying (think of chainsaw-like sounds) is not well addressed in county zoning, and we now see that as a possible hole in their P&Z, but those are also #9 and #10 on the list of the top ten mistakes we make. Mistake #5 (loss of value of your property) is just another gold nugget lying on the surface, easy pickings to the sorts of lawyers who play in these issues, and if you really want to claim “a taking”, well, as the young woman in True Grit said to the Colonel after he offered to take an issue up with his attorney, her response was “And I will take it up with mine – Lawyer Daggett. And he will make money and I will make money and your lawyer will make money… and you, Mr. Licensed Auctioneer, you will foot the bill.”. Takings are hard to prove and harder to collect on, according to the expert who provided the top ten list.

    All of this is not meant to discourage you, but it is meant as a reminder to all. If the townships wait until they are confronted with some egregious insult to their nature then they will most assuredly vanish like the dinosaurs the Faribault Daily News seems to think they are. So …

    Git yer planning and zoning going boys, they’re robbing the [soil] bank!

    March 14, 2011
  114. Argh. Thursday is the Dundas Planning Commission, the Township P&Z is the 30th – after the deadline, so I guess I am on my own.

    March 15, 2011
  115. Griff Wigley said:

    Steph, I see you have a letter in today’s Nfld News:

    Lee Theis must be some kind of golden boy

    Unfortunately, when the environmental review process is done and permitting begins in April, Rice County is not likely to put conditions like this on his permit here. In the eyes of Rice County Commissioner Jake Gillen, Faribault Chamber of Commerce and Faribault Daily News, Theis is some kind of Golden Boy. To them, the six full-time jobs and minuscule property tax (no major buildings to tax) look very good indeed. To them, he will be the great business operator he claims to be. We shall see.

    I would ask MetCon, isn’t there a more straightforward way of getting your freeway interchange at Cty. Road 9? Does it have to be at such cost to rural residents of four townships?

    March 26, 2011
  116. Steph Henriksen said:

    Surprise, surprise.
    There will be 4 Motokazie items on Rice Cty Planning Commission agenda for Thursday, April 7, 6 pm at Govt Services Bldg in Faribault:

    13. Motokazieland Recreational Park – Environmental Assessment Worksheet (E.A.W.) record of decision and finding of fact.

    14. Lee Theis, of Motokazie Inc. on behalf of landowner Dennis Shaw, has applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to establish and operate an Organized Motorsports Area.
    The property is described as: P/O the NW1?4 and P/O the NW1?4 of the NE1?4 of Section 6, Cannon City Township, Rice County, Minnesota. The property address is: 1267 150th St. E., Faribault, MN 55021. The property is zoned A, Agricultural.

    15. Lee Theis, of Motokazie Inc. on behalf of landowner Dennis Shaw, has applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to establish and operate a Private Campground. The property is described as: P/O the NW1?4 and P/O the NW1?4 of the NE1?4 of Section 6, Cannon City Township, Rice County, Minnesota. The property address is: 1267 150th St. E., Faribault, MN 55021. The property is zoned A, Agricultural.

    16. Lee Theis, of Motokazie Inc. on behalf of landowner Dennis Shaw, has applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a grading and filling project. The property is described as: P/O the NW1?4 and P/O the NW1?4 of the NE1?4 of Section 6, Cannon City Township, Rice County, Minnesota. The property address is: 1267 150th St. E., Faribault, MN 55021. The property is zoned A, Agricultural.

    March 30, 2011
  117. Steph Henriksen said:

    Comedy of errors is what I’d call it at the RC Planning Commission last night. Faribault Daily says today that 30 of the 40 people signed in spoke, but I counted 35. Twenty spoke in opposition. Many of Theis’ supporters were from out of county.

    Staff was not prepared to handle the EAW item, so that was sent on to the Tuesday, April 12 County Board meeting for a vote. The public hearings on the three CUPs was continued to April 21, again due to no prepared staff reports. Two pipelines testified against the project and that needs to be resolved, Theis hopes, before the last part of the hearing which was continued to April 21. The people who spoke last night also can come to speak if they have new info April 21.

    April 8, 2011
  118. Griff Wigley said:

    Friday Fbo Daily News: Motokazie CUPs tabled until April 21

    The three Motokazie CUP requests were tabled by the planning commission until a special planning commission meeting slated for April 21. The public comment period will once again be opened up to the public, but limited only to new comment not already heard at Thursday night’s public comment period.

    The planning commission did not receive a full staff report Thursday night. Commissioner Jeff Docken, who serves on the planning commission, said he is confident the report will be ready by April 21 and the commission will be able to make a recommendation to the county board, which holds the ultimate say on the development.

    April 10, 2011
  119. Griff Wigley said:

    Saturday Fbo Daily News: Motokazie faces complications with natural gas pipelines

    With more than a year and countless hours invested, the fate of Lee Theis’s 165-acre MotokazieLand motocross park could rest in how a pair of natural gas pipeline companies enforce easements protecting an array of high-pressure gas lines running under the development site.

    April 10, 2011
  120. At last night’s (13 April 2011) Bridgewater Township Board of Supervisors meeting we heard that the pipeline people were pretty strong in their opposition and that you could have heard a pin drop when the implication of the pipeline issue became apparent. We also heard that someone had alerted both the Union Pacific and the Canadian Pacific railways that they should comment on how their legal counsel felt about having young children, spectators and the like crawling around their right-of-way given the current footprint (which shows play-space on both sides of the one track, and bordering the other). Sounds like someone did not pay attention to these details when this site was chosen.

    Now, however, all townships that do not do their own planning should be looking intently at the properties they have that might be at risk of being developed. For example, is Bauer’s pit available and suited for this (in spite of awkward access via a gravel road, not nearly as attractive as a site near I-35, methinks). Had the legislature continued to push the bill that would have neutered townships’ ability to pass interim ordinances (HF 389)in the face of surprise developments, they would have left townships hogtied in the middle of a plowed field, easy pickings for speculators and anti-farming developers. This bill still lurks though, and townships would be well advised to rethink their reticence on doing their own planning and zoning. I’m just saying.

    April 14, 2011
  121. Griff Wigley said:

    Bruce, I’ll see if I can get a comment from Lee Theis about the pipelines and the rail lines.

    April 14, 2011
  122. Griff Wigley said:

    Bruce, why would pipeline companies have no problem with mega-ton tractors and harvesters plowing and rumbling over their underground pipelines year after year but now have a big concern about 200-pound motorcycles zipping around?

    April 14, 2011
  123. Griff Wigley said:

    Chris, I understand why you oppose this and want compensation and/or help selling your property. I don’t blame you. It’s why I wrote back in May 2010 re: the I-35 location:

    I’d rather not see them [motocross tracks] located in agricultural zones. Alongside a rural stretch of freeway is a much better location.

    It’s not likely that anyone’s land values would have decreased had the track been allowed to build adjacent to I-35 because the interstate generates considerable noise already, 24×7.

    It would be helpful to hear what Rice County commissioners Jeff Docken and Galen Malecha (who voted against that location) think about their votes now in retrospect. Have you spoken with them?

    April 14, 2011
  124. Chain link with an overpass strong enough to let people get their toys back and forth would probably solve the train problem. As for pipelines, the engineering answer is probably what you are thinking of, the lawyers answer is another thing altogether. They might be worried about the effect of re-contouring the land to make an exciting ride, not want people moving tens of feet of soil around.

    As for Mr. Becker’s concerns about his land values, Lawyer Hvistendahl has been on record (KYMN show) stating that (and I paraphrase loosely), “(1) too bad, (2) does not happen anyway, (3) hire better lawyers”.

    April 15, 2011
  125. Chris Becker said:

    Griff,Any word from Theis? When I was home tuesday night I saw the farmer that rents Shaws land out there with a stalk chopper and V ripper plowing the land. I can only assume they will be planting it this year.

    May 5, 2011
  126. Steph Henriksen said:

    Bridgewater farmers who run land both sides of the Bridgewater/Cannon City line know how deep they can till and plant so as to not disturb pipelines. Motokazie plan is something else again.

    Why Lee Theis did not have I&S Consulting get accurate info into the EAW on piplines and railroads before Rice Cty released it for public comment, I don’t know. All of this has been stressful and costly for all parties. The most responsible thing would be for County Commissioners to update their motor sports ordinance in earnest this time, before Theis picks another inappropriate property.

    Theis may continue to try to get his project into Rice County, the only county on I-35 with ordinances loose enough to let him in with such a grandiose plan.

    May 5, 2011
  127. Griff Wigley said:

    Fbo Daily News: Motokazie project fizzles, permit application withdrawn Tuesday

    After six months of campaigning for his MotokazieLand development in Cannon City Township, Lee Theis officially withdrew his permit request Tuesday morning in a letter to Rice County Commissioners…

    “The permit withdrawal is not just about the pipelines. It is about being backed into a corner with only two choices. Both of those choices resulted in a negative outcome for Motokazie,” he said.

    Commissioners were expected to rule on the first environmental study Tuesday, either approving its findings or ordering a more extensive study. According to county documents, a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would have been ordered if Theis had not withdrawn his permit requests.

    According to county documents, staff believed there were “outstanding issues” that needed the additional analysis an EIS would provide, including the impacts of grading and filling in addition to the impact on the nine pipelines from operation of the Motokazie development.

    The grading and filling concerns were brought to the forefront by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which expressed concern in an April 25 letter. The letter asked for more information about soil conditions, diagrams for water runoff in relation to area ponds and streams and an illustration of how all proposed dirt tracks would direct runoff to wetlands and streams.

    May 11, 2011
  128. Of course, all the townships in the area should now start looking for where they are open for business for this sort of activity. Except for Bridgewater, which does its own P&Z, the rest are relying on County level P&Z, which may or may not provide what they really want. Personally, I think close to an existing freeway interchange, not on top of wetlands, and not on high value farmland, makes the most sense, and I know there is some space near Faribault if they don’t mind the noise.

    May 11, 2011
  129. Steph Henriksen said:

    At the end of the agenda Tuesday, there was a lot of talk about levy and how much property tax increase Rice County residents could bear, etc. Commissioners talked about how bad the roads are. They intend to talk more about what our priorities should be for the money we do have.

    A fellow came forward at adjournment asking why outside developers are being welcomed in when we can’t keep up on costs, such as roads, for our own residents. Good question.

    May 11, 2011
  130. Steph Henriksen said:

    KYMN playing interview w/Theis in all news slots today, along with appeal of Dundas vote against EAW for Rejoice Church.

    May 12, 2011
  131. Griff Wigley said:

    Lee Theis has picked a new site for MotokazieLand. Looks like it’s in Wells Township on the west side of I-35:

    I am proud to release the new information that MotokazieLand has a new 130 acre parcel for the proposed park. I have regrouped since the last permit application and I look forward to working towards a successful CUP application. I know that I have taken many hits over the last 2 years, but I will forge ahead and learn from the past.

    The 130 acres of land has approximately 90 feet of elevation change, rolling terrain and 3/4 mile of frontage on I35. I will update soon on any upcoming meetings. Goal for completion of the park is Spring 2012.

    July 28, 2011
  132. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I understand Theis will do a presentation at Wells Township Hall Monday, Aug. 1, 7 pm. That’s 18400 Roberds Lake Blvd. I am hearing he may be trying for annexation to Faribault to avoid having to go through Rice County again. The site is west of I-35 across from MetCon. I wonder if Wells Township will support the annexation.

    July 28, 2011
  133. Jon Denison said:

    It won’t matter if Wells Township is in favor of the annexation, Faribault doesn’t have annexation agreements with their surrounding townships.

    July 29, 2011
  134. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Faribault Daily editorial takes a new tack on this latest Theis proposal


    There is a report by Lindberg in Fbo Daily earlier this week also. He says there will be 50 (?) full time seasonal jobs which is NOT what Theis said at the meeting in Wells Twp. He said there would be three full time w/benefit package (down from previous projection of six) and 44 part time. He also said he was moving his headquarters (Belle Plaine?) to here.

    August 5, 2011
  135. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Lee Theis interview at Jordan track regarding MotokazieLand 2012

    August 6, 2011
  136. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Don’t depend on “shared lanes” to protect drivers and bicyclists when Motokazieland Recreational Park and Campgrounds comes to 35W at Cty 9 next summer. The ten-track dirt bike racing will go on year-round with snowmobile racing in winter, if Lee Theis has his way when comp plan and ordinances are updated in coming months. Our northern commissioners asked for the update now, rather than later. No such luck. That idea was voted down on Jan. 22, 2013.

    This 130-acre project will be the first in the Midwest on this scale. Many people think this will be like the one Theis ran at Elko. Wrong–this is bigtime. Defeat of Jesse James Days is here and gone in a week’s time. What about all year long? Bicyclists beware. Road rage incidents on Hwy 3 between Faribault and Northfield are common. Add Motokazieland to that and what do you get? Bedlam.

    February 20, 2013

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