Pasco County's dealings with motocross star Chad Reed has as many twists and turns as his disputed go-kart track, and Tuesday was no different.
Commissioners were expecting to hold a public hearing on whether to revoke the conditional-use permit for Reed's private training compound when they learned Reed had transferred ownership of the complex Tuesday morning to a new trust he created in his son's name.
Along with the land transfer, Reed signed legal documents acknowledging that he was forfeiting the conditional-use permit on the 63-acre complex.
Reed's neighbors have complained for six months that he violated the conditions by racing at night and on weekends and by building a mile-long paved go-kart track. Attorney Charles Burr, who represents several of the neighbors, said the property transfer is nothing more than a legal strategy.
"I think they want to get a court to decide this instead of the county commissioners because they didn't think they would fare too well," Burr said.
Reed originally was granted a conditional-use permit in 2004 for a 4-acre training track on his property off Duck Lake Canal Road, but six years later he expanded it to 24 acres without a permit. Pasco commissioners granted a new conditional-use permit, which included a paved track but limited the facility to motocross training.
Neighbor Melissa Stoll said Reed already has violated the zoning. "He's riding out there this minute," she said, after calling home to confirm that Reed and two other riders were on the track.
"I have always maintained that the agricultural zoning of my property does not prohibit me from riding ATVs, motorcycles or go-carts and I will continue to enjoy the use of my property with my friends and children with those pursuits," Reed wrote in an email to the Tribune.
County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said the county's only recourse is to cite Reed for zoning and code violations, which he could appeal to a county judge.
In the meantime, Steinsnyder suggested the commissioners look at "tightening up" the language in the county's zoning ordinance to clarify that high-powered go-karts, like the type Reed was racing, are not permitted in residential or agricultural areas.
In other business, commissioners voted to consolidate the county's 911 department and the sheriff's emergency dispatch office. Sheriff Chris Nocco said combining the two departments will make the entire 911 system more efficient and will reduce emergency-response times because callers won't be transferred from one operator to another.
"When citizens call 911, the moments and seconds saved will save lives," Nocco said.
Commissioners also hired the engineering firm CH2M Hill, for a $3.3 million fee, to design a reservoir adjacent to the county's wastewater treatment plant. The reservoir will hold up to 500 million gallons of reclaimed water.