Arundel dirt bike trail site under scrutiny again

Officials cited property of motocross champion for violations last year

May 01, 2002|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Teen-age motocross star Travis Pastrana's practice course has again drawn the scrutiny of county authorities, who have charged his father with illegally clearing trees to blaze dirt bike trails through a wooded Davidsonville property.

Inspectors have ordered Robert L. Pastrana to stop grading at the site, which is owned by his 18-year-old daredevil son, records show. That order was issued less than a year after they took the same action upon discovering that the family had failed to obtain permits before building a network of trails in the woods about five miles southwest of Annapolis.

In May last year, state and county officials found that construction of the trails - used as a practice course by Travis Pastrana, a champion in ESPN's X-Games - violated laws controlling sediment pollution, erosion and disturbance of flood plains and nontidal wetlands. In the past year, the Pastranas have taken steps to repair the damage, under the supervision of state and county officials.

When inspectors visited the property in the 700 block of Governor Bridge Road on April 24, they found that new trails and an oval track had been cleared without a grading permit, said Pam Jordan, a spokeswoman with the county's land-use office.

Because this is a second violation, Jordan said county grading enforcement officials are consulting the county Office of Law about the possibility of pursuing civil or criminal action.

Violations of county grading laws carry criminal and civil penalties, including a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail, and increasing fines of between $100 and $1,000 each day a property is out of compliance.

The county did not take legal action or assess fines last year because the Pastranas cooperated and agreed to repair the damage.

The Pastranas could not be reached for comment.

The county's land-use division and the state Department of the Environment discovered the initial violations at the site during a joint inspection last year.

Although the county had issued a grading permit to Robert Pastrana for construction of a house, it did not cover clearing of trees and earth to create trails.

Since the county ordered the Pastranas to stop grading last week, Jordan said, sediment control devices have been installed to mitigate the damage.

She said that Pastrana is seeking to bring recent trail work into compliance.

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