Motor mushers, monofill and more

Birchwood Community Council holds monthly meeting


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About 25 people squeezed into the small meeting room at the ski chalet for the monthly Birchwood Community Council meeting on Feb. 26.

The big topic of the night was the Alaska Motor Mushers Clubs’ desire to hold a snowmachine race at Birchwood Industrial Park.

Vince French, who owns Glacier Auto Works in Eagle River and is also a member of AMMC, presented the club’s agenda to the council.

AMMC, a competitive snowmachining club that emphasizes safety, has been hosting races since the early 1980s and normally holds six-eight races a year, depending upon weather conditions.

Races used to be held at Third Avenue and Ingra Street in Anchorage, until problems arose with dump trucks arriving to drop snow to make the tracks.

“So last year we didn’t have any snowcross races, which was unfortunate,” he said.

Then Elkutna said that the club could use their industrial site, which French sees as an ideal location.

“I think if you started a snowmachine on one end you wouldn’t be able to hear it at the other,” he said.

The club plans on putting the racetrack in the best place possible within the 150 or so acres that make up the park, French said.

The plan is to put on an initial race and see how things go, then smooth out any glitches before scheduling a second.

“This is a place where little kids can come and we can have fun races for them with little bumps, and they just really love it,” he said.

It’s also a place where pre-teens can race while being supervised by adults.

“It’s good, clean fun,” he said.

The date of the first race is still undetermined.

French assured the council that there would be no alcohol at the race and children would be supervised by parents.

The club believes that the hills surrounding the park will act as a natural sound barrier.

Races would use stock exhaust snowmachines and there would be, according to French, “No crazy noise.”

The club also estimates that traffic would be at a minimum, no more than 20-40 pickup trucks with trailers spread out over a two-hour time frame. The track would operate only in the daytime during weekend hours.

AMMC races would benefit the community by bringing business to the area, French said.

He didn’t feel that there was a possibility that the races, if approved, would grow too big and become a nuisance.

“Only so many people can afford $20,000 machines for snowcross,” he said. “It’s not going to be a traffic jam.”

A motion to support AMMC was seconded. Everyone supported it except for one, and the motion passed.

 

Other business

The council also briefly discussed the new Three Bears store at the North Birchwood interchange (a more lengthy discussion took place at the Jan. 22 meeting) and how the store might impact traffic patterns. The council received a response from the Department of Transportation that stated that they didn’t see a need for traffic mitigation for the next 10 years.

The council also mentioned a notification that the liquor license is going to be transferred to Three Bears and will be in front of the board in May.

Kevin McNamara gave a brief update on the Matanuska Electrical Association substation situation. The conditional use for the Justine Park substation at Steffes Street in Birchwood was denied at the Anchorage Planning & Zoning Commission on Jan. 6.

MEA has since filed an appeal.

The Eklutna Monofill will be discussed at the Chugiak Community Council meeting on March. 19.

The next meeting of the Birch Community Council will be March 27.

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