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Timothy Barrus of Goshen sues town after dirt bikes banned from his property

The town’s health agent issued the order Oct. 1 in the wake of complaints from neighbors that the noise and dust caused by the bikes was excessive.

The 600-acre property, which is owned by Barrus and his sister Laura Barrus, has been the target of multiple complaints from neighbors who claim their land has been damaged by wandering cows and pigs owned by farmer Cosimo Ferrante, who leases land from the Barruses.

Barrus’ lawyer, Mark A. Tanner of the Northampton law firm of Bacon and Wilson, filed suit in Hampshire Superior Court Oct. 10, contending the use of dirt bikes on the Barruses’ land is a lawful use of the property.

Laura Barrus, a member of the Goshen Board of Health, declined Tuesday to comment on the issue of the dirt bikes or her brother’s lawsuit.

Erin Kirchner, the health agent for the Foothills Health District, which serves Goshen, Williamsburg and Whately, issued the cease-and-desist order, maintaining the dirt bikes are a “public nuisance” and must be removed “or otherwise quiet(ed).”

Since mid-summer, neighbors have complained about the noise produced by dirt bikes operated on land at 3 Stone Road that Barrus rents to Jason LaValley.

Speaking this week at his Route 9 store, The Country Corral, Barrus said LaValley and his friends often ride on the weekends and that he had no problem with that. He declined to comment on the suit except to say, “I am putting the issue in the hands of my attorney.”

Goshen Police Chief Jeffrey Hewes said complaints are coming from people who live in the nearby Wildwood Condominiums on Wildwood Lane off Spruce Corner Road.

The property is located between Spruce Corner Road and Route 9, with its boundaries running along Wildwood Lane and Stone Road.

Hewes said his department has responded to complaints at the site multiple times on evenings and weekends, but there is little his department can do other than make sure the bikes are registered and in proper working order.

“You get a bunch of dirt bikes riding out there, and it can be pretty loud. Because the issue is more about the noise decibel level and the dust, it is really in the hands of the Board of Health,” he said.

Selectman Joe Roberts said the board will likely discuss the lawsuit at its next meeting on Monday.

In June, Hampshire Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ordered the Barruses and Ferrante to remove all of the livestock owned by Ferrante from the Barrus property in Goshen. Ferrante subsequently moved his animals to another area of the Barrus farm located in Ashfield.

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