DirtFish Rally School draws noise complaints from neighbors
April 20, 2011
By Dan Catchpole
Gail McCullough works construction. She drives a dump truck for a construction company. Her husband Tim also drives a dump truck.
Their workdays are full of loud noise, so they appreciate the quiet of their home the east of Snoqualmie, overlooking the former Weyerhaeuser Mill site.
But the mill’s new tenant, the DirtFish Rally School, is cutting into that quiet, the McCulloughs say.
They could clearly hear the roaring engines and public announcement system during the Global RallyCross championship round held recently at the school.
Other neighbors said they could hear the noise, too.
Rally driving uses souped-up street cars on dirt and gravel courses.
An information packet put together by DirtFish executives when they were applying to King County for permits to open the school explicitly states that the site “will not have any rally or racing competition events taking place at our facility.”
But the Global RallyCross event was a made-for-television event filmed by cable sports network ESPN, DirtFish President Ross Bentley said.
“We don’t have ongoing race events,” he said.
The Metropolitan King County Council issued a special temporary permit for the two-day race.
The race was within the county’s limits on noise, Bentley said.
The event brought in money for local businesses. Driver Rhys Millen said he spent $1,200 at the 76 Station in Snoqualmie.
DirtFish’s neighbors are wary, though.
“Our understanding was that it would be just a driving school,” Gail said.
She and other neighbors said they could hear cars racing after 6 p.m.
Bentley said operations stop by 6 p.m. at the latest and usually at about 5 p.m.
“If people are hearing things, they should contact me,” he said.
From his office at DirtFish, he said he can sometimes hear trucks at a nearby gravel pit, and dirt bikes being run by people not affiliated with the school and not on the mill site.
The McCulloughs and some neighbors said they plan to bring their concerns to DirtFish, and to King County and Snoqualmie, which is in negotiations with the county to annex the mill site.
Dan Catchpole: 392-6434, ext. 246, or firstname.lastname@example.org.