File under -- Inde Motorsports -- Ranch -- racetrack -- Willcox AZ --
Arizona -- chip
seal -- Airport Road -- motorcycle -- Cochise County -- CJ
Dorland. This page last updated 9/14/11.
On September 13, 2011, the Cochise County Supervisors voted 2-1 (Call
and Searle for, English against) to pave 8 miles of road to a private
racetrack in northern Cochise County. Before the meeting, this
page discussed that issue at some length; for that part of the story,
drop down the page to "THE STORY UP TO THE FINAL UPDATE." This
leading section discusses the events of September 13. If you
start with the end of the story, you'll be able to understand the
beginning a lot better.
Here's the email that this writer sent around after the meeting:
. The Cochise County Board Of Supervisors just
voted 2-1 to have the County contribute toward
the cost of re-paving the road to Inde
racetrack, about 8 miles down Airport Road west
. At the 10 a.m. meeting, Supervisor Richard
Searle voted first. He represents District 3,
which includes Willcox. As expected, he voted
in favor of the deal.
. Supervisor Ann English voted next. She
represents District 2, a mostly rural part of
the county. She voted against the deal.
. The tiebreaker was Supervisor Pat Call, who
represents District 1, centered on Sierra
Vista. He voted for the deal.
. The vote set a new precedent for Cochise
County: now, when a person applies for a
building or zoning permit, all the person has to
do is get a permit -- but after that, the person
can ignore the permit and do what he wants.
Inde got a permit by promising a small operation
of a few friends, no racing, nothing like that;
then Inde became a big business, advertising
racing and many violations of its permit. The
Supervisors let Inde get by with it -- and if
the law applies to the poor as well as the rich,
anybody in Cochise County should now be able to
ignore a permit, and County gummint won't be
able to say a thing. That's a fine precedent
the Supervisors set today.
. Inde racetrack will contribute only $250,000
toward re-paving the road. That is a small
victory, since that's $50,000 more than Inde
offered for openers. That leaves the County
liable for almost $200,000, but the County's
share is likely to increase.
. The amount of the anticipated increase can be
roughly calculated. Supervisor English, after
mentioning that she paid $100,000 to have a mile
of road repaved near her house, asked why the
projected amount for Inde was so much less per
mile. The anticipated $450,000 for 8 miles
amounts to only $56,250 per mile. The County
answered that the existing paving on Inde Road
had taken care of some preliminary work.
Supervisor English accepted that answer.
However, the existing paving cost only $140,000,
or about $17,500 per mile. In other words, the
original cost for paving Airport Road, plus the
present anticipated cost, add up to only $73,750
per mile. That's $26,250 less than the $100,000
which Supervisor English paid for her mile. We
predict that paving Airport Road will prove no
cheaper than paving English's road, and that the
difference will amount to 8 miles x
$26,250/mile, or a $210,000 increase.
. English's No vote was consistent with her
representing rural interests. Searle's Yes vote
was consistent with his representing Willcox
business, at the expense of rural residents.
Call's Yes vote was consistent with his
representing Sierra Vista, a relatively urban
area -- although there was a chance that Call
would vote against spending County money on
developing business in an area outside his own
. We wouldn't have dared predict any votes before
they happened. English's vote was not a
surprise, but she could have voted differently,
so we thank her for making the choice she did.
Call's vote was predictable, subject to the
doubt about his boosting an area other than his
own; in any case, Call is always conscientious
about representing the interests of his
district. Searle's vote was probably absolutely
predictable, but still, we hoped against hope
that he would not favor big business, just this
once. Cockeyed optimists, that's us.
. Searle's vote wasn't based on facts, but purely
on ideology. He was able to vote as he did only
by ignoring massive amounts of fact. Here are
two pieces of correspondence between Searle and
county residents; we ran these yesterday, but
they still show what Searle had to ignore in
order to favor Inde. Searle ignored what he had
to, in order to vote as he had made up his mind to.
GILBERT REEVES (FORMER COUNTY PLANNING & ZONING
COMMISSIONER) wrote to Searle "Richard, I am
against any and all aspects of the Inde fiasco,
Inde is a (PRIVATE CLUB). If the county
furnishes equipment, labor etc will that entitle
me as a county resident to enter or belong to
the (PRIVATE CLUB) since the county tax payers
will be paying for over half of the expenses to
Chip&Seal the road? This is outrageous!!!! I
vote and I'm Pissed!!!"
. Searle's answer, with comments added:
. SEARLE: "Airport Road is not just a road to
Inde Motor Sports. It is the back road from
Willcox to Cascabel and services numerous
ranches and residents."
-- COMMENT, there is not a whole lot of traffic
between Cascabel and Willcox. Any "back road"
from Cascabel to Willcox is already included in
the traffic count of 148/day on the stretch of
Airport Road nearest Willcox. Richard was in
the room when that number was stated; he should
know just how small the "back road" traffic is.
. SEARLE: "Long before Inde purchased their
property on Airport Road it had been identified
as needing improvement. Its been in the County
maintenance system for years"
-- COMMENT: Every dirt road in Cochise County
could be "identified as needing improvement"?
Besides, Airport Road has already been worked on
once at Inde's request. What justifies Inde
jumping to the front of the line now?
. SEARLE: "and we have been given a petition with
over 80 signatures of residents of Airport Road
that support the improvement."
-- COMMENT: Wrong. Inde has provided a
petition with 82 names, but only 20 of those
names are from people who live on near the
relevant stretch of Airport Road. The other
signatures are from Airport Road east of the
airport, and from addresses scattered all around
Willcox east of the interstate, but it is
absolutely untrue that Inde's petition has 80
names from Airport Road. Is Richard even
reading what Inde is pushing at him?
-- SPECIAL COMMENT: At the hearing today,
Searle mentioned support for Inde from 40 people
on Airport Road. Searle still got it wrong.
Half of the people on Airport Road are on the
part inside the built-up area of Willcox --
nowhere near the 8 miles that Inde wants paved.
Searle just lumped them all together. It is
very difficult to get Searle to acknowledge a
fact, when he wants to vote in a way that
requires him to ignore the fact.
. SEARLE: "The City of Willcox is also a strong
supporter of the project."
-- COMMENT: Naturally. People in Willcox have
been told that Inde will make them more
prosperous -- at no particular cost to Willcox
or its residents. But Searle has ignored the
huge difference between what Inde said when it
asked for a permit, and what Inde began doing as
soon as it got a permit. If Inde, in asking for
a permit, had accurately described what it would
do, would the permit have been given?
. SEARLE: "With the cuts in Highway funding that
the County has taken from the State over the
last several years, it is critical that we take
every opportunity we can to partner with local
property owners to improve our dirt roads.
There may be other dirt roads that need
improving more than Airport Road, but we don't
have anyone else volunteering to come up with
$250,000 for chips and oil."
-- COMMENT: Irrelevant. What's important is
what ordinary Cochise County citizens need, not
what one private club wants, even if the club is
so upscale that it has initiation fees of
$20,000 and up. Let's say that Richard is in
the grocery store, and, for some reason, fancy
cheese at $20 a pound isn't on his shopping
list. Somebody comes up to him and offers to
pay half the cost if Richard buys cheese that he
doesn't need. If he accepts, he won't have
money to buy milk, eggs, and butter. Should he
. SEARLE: "In this particular case, with Inde
Motor Sports paying the cost of the material,
the County costs are for equipment and labor.
We will have these same costs whether or not we
improve Airport Road as these are County
employees and County owned equipment. If we
chose not to accept Inde's offer, we are still
going to have the same labor and equipment
costs, they just won't be used on this
-- COMMENT: So what? Richard is saying that
Inde's offer is a budget nullity -- that it will
neither increase or decrease our expenses. How
is that an argument for accepting the offer, or
for using resources here instead of where they
are needed more?
. SEARLE: "and we will still have 8 miles of road
that needs improving."
-- COMMENT: The 8 miles of road may need
improving, but the improvement need not be what
Inde wants. Everybody else on Airport Road was
better served when the road was graded dirt,
based on the graded dirt road that remains to
the west of Inde.
. SEARLE: "Yes, Inde Motor Sports will benefit
from this improvement, but so will all the other
users of Airport Road,"
-- COMMENT: How is that an argument for moving
this small number of users to the head of line,
when many more users live on roads that are in
much worse shape?
. SEARLE: "and it will be 8 less miles that the
County will have to find funding for in the
-- COMMENT: Searle is forgetting that the
County could pave a lot more than 8 miles of
road, if the pavement isn't the deluxe double
chip-seal that Inde wants.
. Overall, Searle is acting as if he's infatuated
with Inde -- as if he's hypnotized by something
Inde offers that is invisible to the rest of
us. Searle doesn't have one single argument
that stands up, and he obviously hasn't even
read the basic material, yet he persists in
supporting Inde. If he votes to do Inde this
favor tomorrow, he'll be spitting on rural
residents throughout the county.
. ROBERT G. S. PLANT WROTE TO SEARLE "I am a
property owner in Cochise County --- I strongly
object to the presentation by this organization,
Indy. Everything that has been read indicates
these people are attempting to 'fly under the
radar' of propriety and regulation. The
presentation by Indy, it seems, is very
flexible. It keeps changing. Race track? It
was indicated to be so, now it is a 'touring
track.' There was some conversation regarding
housing development. Is that included in the
permit? The figures for 'double chip seal' for
'about' eight miles are considerably lower than
experience would indicate. (I have been an
equipment operator, construction, for many
years) I requested information from P and Z
regarding improvement to the road my residence
is on. About a mile, prep and gravel.
$300,000. That is the figure presented to me.
'And we cannot do it now, no funds available'
(about two years ago). This Indy presentation
has an aroma of old fish! It is surprising that
the Board is even considering the application as
submitted, and modified.... The petition is
signed by how many County Employees?"
. Searle's answer, with comments added:
. SEARLE: "The reason the cost for Airport Road
is lower than the figure given to you for Clovis
Road is that it is already a County maintained
road and the base work needed is minor."
-- COMMENT: Perhaps, but unlikely. If Airport
Road were as bad as Inde said, the base work
needed would not be minor.
. SEARLE: "Although the County does have the
employees and the equipment, it does not have
the extra funds for the oil and chips to chip
seal additional dirt roads in the County. This
is one of the main reasons that the the majority
of all of the County roads improved from dirt to
chipseal in the last 10 years has been due to
-- COMMENT: Irrelevant. The rural residents
who've been neglected, as the County races to
pave sweetheart projects that benefit a very few
people, have a well-founded complaint.
. SEARLE: "Although there are other dirt roads
that probably need improving more than Airport
Rd, we don't have any other property owners
volunteering $250,000 for oil and chips."
-- COMMENT: So what? The fact that Inde will
kick in toward paving a road that will benefit
mainly Inde, doesn't justify the County's not
spending money where it will do the most good.
. SEARLE: "Airport Road is not just a road to
Inde Motor Sports but has many other users and
is the only road that goes from Willcox to the
Cascabel area in Northwestern Cochise County."
-- COMMENT: Many by what standard? Remember
the traffic count on this road: 148
vehicles/day, including all the traffic directly
between Willcox and Cascabel.
. SEARLE: "It has numerous residents"
-- COMMENT: Numerous by what standard? The 8
mile stretch from the Willcox Airport to the
Inde racetrack has about two dozen addresses on
it -- 3 addresses a mile.
. SEARLE: "and was identified as needing
improvement long before Inde Motor Sports bought
their property there."
-- COMMENT: Irrelevant. Lots of roads have
long been identified as needing improvement, and
they're in a lot worse shape than Airport Road.
. SEARLE: "We have recently received a petition
from the residents on Airport Road with more
than 80 signatures in support of the improvement."
-- COMMENT: Incorrect. No more than half the
signatures are from people on, or even near,
Airport Road, and less than 20 are from people
on the stretch of Airport Road in question. Did
Searle actually read the petition?
. SEARLE: "I'm sorry you think that my comments
have been less than forthcoming, that was not my
-- COMMENT: When Searle consistently gets the
facts wrong and dodges the issues, what's a
person to think? If Richard would base his
statements on the facts, he would automatically
Ironically, at the same meeting, the Supes voted unanimously NOT to
pave a road needed for better border security. The Sierra Vista
Herald ran that story at
and here's the comment this writer made to that story:
. The next time drug smugglers shoot a rancher, invade a home,
or start a wildfire, just forget your troubles by playing at a private
racetrack near Willcox. How wise our County Supervisors not to
waste money on roads to protect our lives and property! How wise
Searle and Call were to vote to spend our money on a road to a private
club (cheapest membership fee $20,000).
. Citizens can still fight back, even after yesterday's
vote. Just because 8 miles of Airport Road have been adopted by
the highway, doesn't mean the County has to spend money on them right
away; Supervisors can always prioritize County spending. The
money could still go for safety on the border, instead of fun at a
private club. If you are disgusted by yesterday's votes, why not
tell the Supervisors right now? You can email Pat Call at pcall ,
Ann English at aenglish , and Richard Searle at rsearle , all
@cochise.az.gov , and all three are at 432 9200.
We'll just have to see if the Supervisors recover their sanity.
They're not even rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic
sinks, they're kicking more holes in the side of the ship.
And now, the story from the beginning:
THE STORY UP TO THE FINAL UPDATE
IS EASIER ACCESS TO INDE MOTORSPORTS THE BEST USE OF COUNTY ROAD-BUILDING FUNDS?
An outfit called Inde Motorsports has an automobile racetrack
about 8 miles down Airport Road west of Willcox AZ. Inde
chose the location for its remoteness; in late 2008, at the
hearing on its permit, Inde "We wanted to be in the middle of
That starts 8:45 into the audio recording of Inde's statement;
And Inde emphasizes its privacy: the sign at Inde's locked
front gate says "PRIVATE PROPERTY / MEMBERS AND INVITED GUESTS ONLY / NO
TRESPASSING" -- here's a picture of it:
As Julia Robinson recently wrote to Supervisor Searle:
"I'd like to join the opposition to this road
project at County (i.e. taxpayer) expense. Yes,
I know, not _all_ at taxpayer expense, but
_none_ of it should be at taxpayer expense.
This is virtually a private road for an
'exclusive' membership, and whatever rules allow
the distressed taxpayers of Cochise County to
pay any part of this paving project should be
set aside in this instance. As you know, many
people strenuously object to this travesty, and
it is hoped that you will explore the
possibility of something being done so that
those who are excluded from membership [in Inde]
do not have to contribute to this folly. This
is in essence a gated community, so let them pay
for their own access road!"
Despite emphasizing its privacy when it wants to, as soon as Inde got
its permit, it began asking the County to pave the road to its remote
spot (at a cost of $100,000
from Inde, $40,000 from the County). Now the
"Executive Summary" of Item 17 for tomorrow's County
Supervisors meeting says "Inde Motorsports desires
to ... contribute $250,000 [originally said $200,000] and the County
would perform minor re-shaping and re-compaction and applying a
chip seal to ... provide a better public road for Cochise County
residents utilizing Airport Road."
We oppose the item. Whatever problems exist with the road, the pavement that Inde wants isn't the best solution; nor does
Inde deserve to jump to the head of the line, ahead of rural residents
who use much worse roads and have been asking for improvements for
Instead of rolling over for Inde, the County could, for instance:
-- restrict Inde's operation to what it said in order to get the permit
-- pull Inde's permit because of the variance between what Inde said and what Inde does
-- pave the road as Inde wants, but on condition that City of Willcox,
not the County, pay the County, in advance, the costs which the County
would otherwise assume
-- tell Inde that the County will pave the road if Inde provides all of the money
-- let the road revert to a Primitive Road, as it was when Inde got here
A discussion is below.
I. The Road
A. The Route
The map posted at
marks in red the 8 miles of road that Inde wants paved. They
run through pretty
country. CJ Dorland, of Inde
Motorsports, says there are "25+ residents living on Airport Rd," which
is consistent with the 23 mailboxes or roads that we counted along
these 8 miles.
The County says that at the east end of this
stretch, nearest Willcox, 148 vehicles/day use the road. That
should put Inde low on the priority list. The county has a lot of
roads which are in much worse shape
and serve a lot more people. One citizen wrote, "the road with
the highest traffic count in need of paving gets done first" -- which
is a sensible rule, but isn't being followed here.
This part of Airport Road is a "Primitive Road," meaning that
it was not built to County standards,
and either was opened before 6/13/75, or within 10 years after
that was opened, "accepted for maintenance," and designated as a
Primitive Road by the Supervisors. See
After Inde's first request got the 8 miles paved, Inde appeared to
be overjoyed: the County "did a great job and it is
certainly 10,000 percent better
than its previous condition. In fact, we had Todd Zuccone of
Evolution MS drive his $180,000 2010 Porsche Turbo down the road
without any problems or complaints. Thank you to Cochise County!"
That email is down the page at
(Incidentally, alf the households of Cochise County make less than
$45,000 per year, so $180,000 is what a typical Cochise County household makes in 4 years.)
Now Inde wants the road surfaced -- again -- this time with a
seal. We don't think the road needs it -- a conclusion which
surprises even us. We originally took Inde's
statements about the need for a road at face value, so we expected to
find that Airport Road was like Gleeson, or High Lonesome
between 80 and Davis, or the Dirksen-Sundance-High Knoll shortcut from
Tombstone to Sierra Vista. But we found nothing so bad. We
drove Airport Road yesterday. East of Inde, the road was
washboardy, but the ripples were not deep; a car wouldn't
bottom out, and a full-size pickup with full-size tires could travel
at normal speed without any control problems. About a half mile
east of Inde
there was a notably rough patch; the mile and a half
was the worst; and the road was never a joyride, but it did have
some smooth stretches too. Overall, these 8 miles of Airport
Road are worse, but
not much worse, than Davis
Road between US 191 and Central Avenue -- a road which we drive a
lot, and which, at a rough guess, carries about 200 times as much
traffic as the 8 miles that Inde wants repaved. And there are a
lot more "needy" stretches of road in rural Cochise County.
Our biggest surprise was that the 3 miles of dirt road west of
Inde was a lot better than the paved 8 miles east of Inde!
The only problem that would exist on the 3 miles, but not on the
8 miles, would be dust. These
3 miles are what the 8 miles looked like before they were paved.
If a smooth ride is the goal, then the road would be better off
unpaved. And we don't want to hear that this is because there had
recently been rain: the dirt road was a lot better than the paved
road, which needed culverts to fix some obvious problems. The
point is, that Inde would be better off if it had let well enough
alone; Inde brought its problems on itself, and it's not the County's
job to save Inde from its own mistakes.
Here's how we see things: Inde came to
a dirt road, and said it liked being in the
middle of nowhere. Then Inde tried to pave on the cheap.
The pavement was wonderful at first, but deteriorated
fast. Part of the reason for deterioration must be that Inde
generated a lot more traffic than it said it would; Inde's contribution
to the problem is discussed in Section III below. Now Inde wants
the County to
double chip-seal. But that would destroy the isolation, and being
"in the middle of nowhere," that Inde said it liked. Before
moving in, Inde said it liked the dirt road; let's scrape off the
crummy pavement that Inde demanded after moving in, and restore
what Inde originally liked. Inde
can't complain about that, not with a straight face.
B. The Money
The County spent $40,000 on the paving that Inde demanded after moving in, but
that's no reason for the County to spend more.
How much more money, is still a puzzle. Inde
originally said it could contribute $200,000, but no more. Inde's
CJ Dorland stated "We're contributing the
maximum amount that we
are allowed to provide, which is the vast majority of the total cost."
However, other businesses in the County have been
charged without such a limit. Joanne Daley notes
that "When the San Pedro Inn was built down by the river as a B&B
for birders, weddings, etc, etc. they were required to pay for the road
from Palominas road 1/4 + miles to their entry. They didn't get
to pay half, or a quarter they paid for the whole thin .... the
precedent was set." An astronomy club had to pay everything.
A copper mine had to pay everything. And
Inde now offers $50,000 more -- $250,000. Hooray for
public pressure, and keep it up, we say!
As to the actual total cost, the figure
keeps changing, but right now the County estimates it
as just under $450,000, leaving about $200,000 for the County, i.e. the
taxpayers, to pay. Apparently the figure is changing too fast for
the Supervisors to keep up; an email from Supervisor Searle today,
Monday, says "I'm not sure why the agenda says $325,000
in material costs, that wasn't the number that was given to me on
Inde's Dorland has also stated that the work would be
cost to" the people who live on Airport Road. However, no one in
the county, including the property owners along Airport Road, is exempt from the
costs of County government, including building and maintaining roads. What Inde says would happen, can't happen.
II. Taking the matter to the County
A. Getting the Supervisors to put this item on their agenda
Inde got the Supervisors to put the item on the agenda by submitting a
petition that gives the appearance of neighborhood support for Inde's
request -- but that appearance is misleading. The petition is
and has 12 signers (only 10 are required): Frances Marinez, Jennifer Salcido, Janet
Smith, Aurora Perez, Jack Petty, Lynn Garcia,
Richard Dohe, Teresa Vasquez, Lola Pregler, Pat
Hoefel, Chris Saylor, and Irene Garnica. At
least 8 of them work for the County: 3 for the
Planning Department, 1 for Community
Development, 3 for Highway & Floodplain, and 1
for the Library. The other 4, I couldn't say. As to their residences, the County's "verification" at
gives the parcel numbers of all 12 of their residences -- all of them
in a strip of districts that begin west of Douglas, run west along the
border to the county line, and hook north to include Sierra Vista.
The only way the signers could live further from Willcox, without
being outside the county entirely, would be if they lived east of
To all appearances, somebody employed by the County, after hearing
Inde wanted, wandered the halls to do Inde a favor, and solicited County employees to sign.
friend Diana Barton asked Supervisor Searle about this,
and reports his answer: "This petition
internal petition, that is why there are
so many county employees signed on this
petition.... The petition process for
submitting this type of project has been
on going for many years, where the county
initiates the petition internally to get
it before the BOS, thus the petition with
county employees names.... [T]he
final check point to make sure there is
not a scratching of one back to the other
is the hearing before the BOS."
In this writer's opinion, County employees shouldn't sign a
petition for a County project without revealing that they work for the
County -- and work not just for the County, but actually work for a
Department that will be involved if the petition is approved. When a
petition comes to the County Supervisors or the Planning & Zoning
Planning Department employee is supposed to give an impartial
recommendation -- but how can the Supes or Commissioners trust the
employee to be impartial if the employee's own co-workers signed the
petition to get it
started? "Internal petitions" may have been tolerated in Cochise
County for a long
time, but I've never, at a lot of County government meetings, heard any
disclosure of this practice. We hope Searle will work for open
government, instead of offering excuses
for the same old, lame old backroom "bidness as usual."
B. Discussing the item at the September 13 Board Of Supervisors meeting
This is agenda Item 17, posted at:
The presentation will include a slide show at
which shows Airport Road in incredibly better shape than many of the
rural roads which county residents must use. Besides, the issue
isn't whether the road is bad, the issue is whether the road is worse
than when Inde moved in -- because when Inde moved in, it said it came
to Cochise County to find a secluded spot in the middle of
nowhere. That's what Inde got. Inde knew what Airport Road
was like when Inde got here. But Inde at once wanted the road
fixed up. Now Inde wants the road fixed up even better. As
long as the road is at least as it was when Inde moved in, Inde has no
A major feature of the County's posting is ostensible support from the
public, as provided by Inde (the County has not posted any links to statements in
opposition, nor has Inde provided information on how many people it approached who did not favor the project).
Letters from individuals make up much of the last two links.
Three of the
letters share an interesting feature which casts doubt on their
legitimacy: they mention dust coming from the road. A
gentlemen who lives in Oregon but winters in Pima County refers to
"the clouds of dust generated by the passing cars," a
couple in Scottsdale complain about "leaving home with a couple of
spotless race cars in our enclosed
trailer, only to arrive with them completely covered in and out with
dust," and a gentlemen from Tucson writes "The dirt road has
certainly been a hindrance to many [who would not] even consider
membership as they do not want to drive their nice cars on that road."
Problem is, no part of the 8 miles from the Willcox airport to
Inde racetrack is a dirt road, not after Inde got the first paving
that it asked for -- no part of those 8 miles throws dust. This
strongly suggests that three of the letters are based on
outdated information, with no actual present knowledge Two of the
letters are undated. This invites the question, Are Inde's
current filings are any more reliable than what it filed to get a
permit in 2008? Certainly, without inquiry, no Supervisor should
accept the outdated letters at face value.
The last link, "Letters Of Support Petitions," goes to
The first nine pages have one letter each (two of which are
discussed in the preceding paragraph). Five
letters are from people who live in
Scottsdale, Tucson, Mesa, Show Low, and Colorado (though two of them
say they plan to move here, or near here.) All five say that Inde
will be good for Willcox's economy -- but none deals with why Inde,
when it asked for a permit, just talked in terms of a few buddies
The other four letters are from people who have, or are connected to,
businesses in Cochise County. They all -- Greg Smith of Dunlap
Oil, Kevin Stamback of Stamback Septic, Kelly Owen of Willcox Rock
& Sand, and Kathy Smith of the Willcox Chamber Of Commerce -- have
a stake in Willcox's economy, and they hope Inde will make Willcox
richer. There's absolutely nothing wrong with their looking out
for Willcox. But none of them suggests that Willcox, or any
businesses, should pay for paving the road to Inde. They want to
profit from the road's being paved, and have other people pay for the
paving -- and if the search for present profit means forgetting what
Inde said in order to get a permit, why, let present profit prevail!
Overlooking principle in pursuit of profit is natural in
business, but it's also natural for
rural people across the county to resist being treated like milch cows
for the sole benefit of Willcox.
One letter, from Kelly Owen of Willcox Rock & Sand, mentions a
point which doesn't get much press: Inde's "intent of adding an
upscale residential neighborhood". That wasn't part of what Inde
asked for. No matter what the County gives Inde, Inde seems to ask
for more. This may not be the best relationship ever.
No letter addresses Inde's intent to provide lodging inside its own
grounds -- in other words, to keep trade to itself, instead of sending
trade to Willcox. A booster of Willcox who took the long view
might say that Willcox is as much a rival as a help. Searle will
not necessarily help Willcox by taking the short view.
The last six pages at this webpage are a written petition, and
signatures in support. Interestingly, the petition at this webpage doesn't mention Inde, or
any of the controversy about what's going on, nor even mention paving
the road. Here's its entire text:
. ROAD PETITION
. TO THE HONORABLE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA:
. The petition of the undersigned petitioners of Cochise County, in the State of Arizona, respectfully show:
. l. That the undersigned are bona fide residents of Cochise County, in the State of Arizona.
. 2. That each of the undersigned petitioners is a taxpayer in said County of said State.
. 3. That the laying out of the roads, the proposed
routes of which are hereinafter described, would be for the convenience
and accommodation of the general public of Cochise County, Arizona.
. THEREFORE: Your petitioners pray that the following
roads may be established as Declared County Highways pursuant to A.R.S.
28-6701, and the route: Beginning, Terminus, general course and
direction, are as follows:
. That portion of Airport Road located within Sections 1,
2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12, Township 14 South, Range 23 East, and
Sections 31, 32, and 33, Township 13 South, Range 24 East, and Sections
4, 5, and 6, Township 14 South, Range 24 East of the Gila and Salt
River Meridian, Cochise County, Arizona, and more particularly
described as follows:
. Said Airport Road, being 80 feet in width, beginning at
milepost 4.08. and running Northeasterly, Easterly, Northerly, and
Easterly, a distance of approximately 8 miles to the intersection of
. And your petitioners pray that a day be set by your
Honorable body to consider whether said roads are necessary and to hear
objections thereto, if any.
A person reading the petition wouldn't have a clue about the real
issue, re-paving a recently paved road. If all the signatures are
taken at face value, they still don't imply
any support for paving the road.
The number of signatures is 82 (it was 83, but one appears to have been
lined out). Supervisor Searle has repeatedly said that all 80+
signatures are from residents of Airport Road, but actually, only 20
addresses are on, or even near, the 8-mile stretch in
question. Of those 20, two are at Inde itself, and a letter in
support of its own writer shouldn't count; and four signers live far
west on East Three Links
Road -- so far out that their natural connection is to Benson, not
Willcox. Only 14 signers must use the relevant stretch of Airport
Road. The smallness of that number doesn't diminish those few
people, but it does mean that there is no overwhelming demand by people
on the road. And roughly half the residents on the relevant
stretch of road didn't sign, although Inde presumably asked them to.
III. Inde Motorsports
What is Inde Motorsports? Its main
website is at
and describes Inde as "a
private motorsports club located just an hour
east of Tucson in Willcox, AZ on over 1,700
sprawling acres surrounded by gorgeous mountain
views. We offer our members unlimited,
guaranteed access to our highly technical 2.75
mile road course and first class facilities in a
safe and comfortable atmosphere ... year round
track time, fly-in and race capabilities,
vehicle concierge services, private garages, and
residential lots for sale." Their own advertisement video is at
That video and the many other action-packed videos on Inde's site
show an operation very different from what Inde said when it asked for a permit.
III.A. How Inde got its permit
Inde submitted its original application on October 5,
2008. It's a big file; the County can provide all of it, but I've
posted images of some parts. The application says the proposed
"a touring road approximately 2.5 miles long," and "[t]he
neighbors are far enough away the impact will be minimal." See
As to buildings, the application says "2 block houses
with wood, 2 steel barns, 2 manufactured homes all existing." See
For hours of operation, the answer was "N/A." For number of
employees, the answer was 0, at the start and in the future. As
to traffic, when asked "How many vehicles will be entering and leaving
the site," the application said "2 cars a couple times a week plus a
few trucks a week." When asked when traffic would be heaviest,
the application answered "N/A." See
As to property uses, the application said
"Driving cars on touring rd., playing horseshoes and riding horses."
As to noise and annoying the neighbors, the application
answered "Cars running 30 to 40 minutes. 1 or 2 times a day.
3 or 4 times a week. Estimate on high side. All cars
will have mufflers." See
The Planning Department writeup for the 2008 hearing, based on the
material that Inde provided, is another very big file that's available
from the County. I've put the text parts only online at
The text has some very interesting passages: it
-- notes that Inde "selected the site due to its remote location."
-- says that Inde's touring road "is not to
be used by more than one car at a time, and is not to be used for
-- skims over noise problems, by stating "In
a rural area where background (ambient) noise are, typically, 40Db
during daytime hours, an increase of 25 Dba over the ambient level
for an extended time period could be perceived as disturbing
neighbors' peace and quiet." With all due respect, if something
is PERCEIVED as violating the neighbors' peace and quiet, it IS
violating their peace and quiet.
What Inde wrote to the neighbors before the 2008 hearing is posted at
letter says that if the permit were granted "we would be paving
some of the existing roads and adding a touring road that the owners
could drive their classic and modern cars on. What we are looking for
is a private facility which would allow us older car collectors to
drive our cars on the touring road and enjoy the secluded ranch
That folksy theme of a small band of old chums continued at the hearing. The minutes include
. ... The request is for a 2.5-mile long "touring track,"
... to be used only by members of a private automobile club and
will not be open to the public....
. Chair Corey asked what speeds the cars would be
running.... Mr. Ellis stated if would depend on the car but they
were estimating 100 mph.
. Chair Corey asked how many cars would be stored on
site.... Mr. Ellis stated approximately 30 cars would be stored
with about 50 to 100 members....
. Glen Johnson asked if the cars would all be street legal.... Mr. Ellis stated they would ....
See the minutes at
The audio recording of the hearing includes Inde's saying "we
don't really want it to be a racetrack. So the
definition between the two is that if you're
racing cars, you're having a competition. We
don't have a competition, we got a bunch of cars
that we want to go racing with, but we don't
want to actually race other people. You know,
you're going around the track and you're having
a lot of fun. That's kind of the difference
between a race track and a touring track. So
we're not putting on racing events. There's not
going to be 30 cars out there running around
this track at any given time. There'll be one
or two members at a time out there, hanging out
and having a good time on the track." Listen to
the start of
About 1:44 into that recording, Inde added "we
wanted the whole ranch experience, with the car
thing. We're car enthusiasts, we want a place
to build a hangout, have a good time, barbecue,
but we wanted to be in the ranch location so we
can do everything else with it. Horseback
riding, so we'll have a few horses, we'll have a
few cows, so we can still have just a great
time, that was really what it was all about. It
wasn't about putting some big deal together and
having big races, nothing like that."
Based on Inde's gentle word picture of a few aging friends cruising
around a touring road, one at a time, it's hard to imagine why any road
improvements to Inde should ever be necessary.
III.B. What Inde has done since getting its permit
But after Inde's gentle word picture, it's a shock to look at Inde's own promo
videos, which are reminiscent of ads for professional wrestling. See
Listen in vain for the word "touring," but hear the
word "racing" a lot. At 3:16, "Our world class
track and facilities, along with the beautiful
scenery, make Inde an ideal setting, for not
only our members, but also for club races and
competition." At 3:43, "if you're passionate
about the driving experience, and appreciate the
camaraderie of being part of a tight-knit
community of racers ...." Follow the link on
the video promo page to "2011 Inde Summer
Vintage Series" to see "Our High Desert Climate
is Ideal for Summer Racing." Click on "Private
Instruction" to see "Raptor Motorsports
Competition Driving School ... provides
competition license training & certification for
all vintage racing sanctioning bodies, SCCA, and
NASA." Go to
and scroll down to "Race Group" for a report
about races at Inde. Forget what Inde said in
order to get a permit. Now that Inde has a
permit, Inde tells the world the permit is for racing.
And racing means speed -- a lot more than Inde
said in order to get its permit. At about 5:05 into the
audio recording of the 2008 meeting, Inde says "a real quick guess
on the track that we kind of have simulated to
drive out there, the track speed would be about
a hundred mile an hour, that would be the
fastest. And I know that sounds fast, but
that's on the longest straightaway. Most of the
corners will be 35 to 45 miles an hour." At
about 6:46 in, a Commissioner said "the Sierra
Sports Car Club, and other sports car clubs,
work at trying to keep the speeds down," and
Inde said "That's the whole idea.... If you
give them a course, though, that has really
tight technical corners, it's a lot more fun and
your speeds stay lower, and that's kind of what
we're shooting for, but again, I mean, you get a
pro driver out there in a really nice build ZO6,
he's gonna be fast." At least 177.9 mph,
according to this screen shot from Inde, at
Inde did say that sometimes cars might go faster than 100 -- but Inde
didn't say how much more; Inde didn't say anything that resembles the
videos on Inde's own YouTube channel at
The 177.9 mph speed is from the video of a flying mile, at
That is probably not the only time that drivers have significantly exceeded 100 mph, after accepting Inde's invitation, at
to "seriously put the pedal to the metal to achieve their car or motorcycle's top speed."
Inde's statements about "street legal" are belied by videos like
with a "Diasio D962." A discussion of that car, at
says "dude that thing
looks insane! is it even street legal?" -- answered by "Sorry should
mention this is a a pure race car / Not a street legal car."
Despite what Inde said in order to get a permit ("There'll be one
or two members at a time out there") and what the Planning Department said at the hearing on Inde's application (Inde's touring
road "is not to
be used by more than one car at a time"), Inde's promo videos show
quite a lot of cars on the track at one time. Inde's page at
even brags "We're finally on Google Maps and Google Earth! The satellite even caught 5 cars on track! Check it out: Google Maps http://t.co/KkrY2di "
Motorcycles use Inde too. Here
is a blog which mentions Inde's "1/2 mile long 165 mph straight".
Motorcycles doing 165 mph, on a track where Inde said
touring cars would do 100 mph. And an organization based in Scottsdale promotes motorcycle days at Inde; see
Inde also uses the racetrack for
airplanes. In 2009, Inde went back to the County and got a
Special Use Permit "in order to legitimize an
existing private airstrip .... The airstrip is to be for private
only, and is intended to serve owners of the Inde Motorsports
See the minutes at
mentions "Private Air
Charter to Inde -- Inde Motorsports Ranch (IMR) and Executive Aircraft
Charter (EAC) have teamed up to provide convenient and safe air
transportation to members and guests of Inde Motorsports Ranch."
doesn't sound like what the County approved in February 2009.
We don't recall Indy saying anything, when it asked for a permit, about
starting up a campground, but the motorcycle page at
states "$20 per vehicle/campsite for overnight camping".
Nor do we recall Inde, when it asked for a permit, mentioning a housing tract on the property, but now Inde's page at
says "Build your own House or Garage with Private, Gated Entry to the
IMR Facilities ... Inde Motorsports is offering Founding and Executive
Members the opportunity to purchase fee simple land parcels ranging in
size from 8 acres to 40 acres. Lots will be very limited with
only a total of 30 parcels offered for sale. IMR is one of the
few private motorsport clubs in America that provides its members with
this type of investment opportunity. Contact CJ Dorland for sales price
And Inde has already added some buildings. Compare Inde's application, which said "2 block houses
with wood, 2 steel barns, 2 manufactured homes all existing," with the facilities described at
where Inde says "Each garage building is 3,000 square feet with 5
individual bays of 600 square feet. Units can be combined and
customized as you see fit. There are currently 3 buildings
completed and we plan on constructing 5 more in the near future. All
leases include utilities, common area maintenance, and taxes."
III.C. Can there be reconciliation between what Inde said and what Inde does?
CJ Dorland has said "We
are in full
compliance with our
Conditions of Approval, Special Use Permit, Site Development Standards,
and everything else required by the County." In the past the
County has said the same -- but the problem is that the standards are
loose because in 2008 the County
took Inde's words at face value. The County didn't try to
forestall every possible way that Inde might "stretch" its permit;
otherwise, the permit might have contained more details and
restrictions. Of course, an applicant who gets a permit, then
proceeds to do a lot of "stretches" that it gave the County no reason
anticipate, doesn't have much of a claim for good will
from its neighbors, or county taxpayers, or the County. After
over two years of experience with Inde, the County might want
to have a
meeting about adding specific prohibitions -- and seeking compensation
for Inde's "stretches." It would be good to
see the County stand up for its own people for once.
Not many local people can become members at Inde. Inde's
"membership" page says "we've been extremely fortunate to welcome
numerous members from all over the country that understand the amazing
value of calling Inde their home track.... Membership levels will
be very limited so this is your chance to join early and take advantage
of this extraordinary opportunity." Not many residents of Cochise County will ever
become members. From Inde's "membership" page:
. One-Time Initiation Fee: $20,000
. Annual Dues: $3,000
. Allowed 5 guests (2 driving guests) per month
A Founding Membership offers even more:
. One-Time Initiation Fee: $50,000
. Annual Dues: $3,000 / None the First Year
. Allowed 18 guests (5 driving guests) per month
A Corporate Membership is the top of the line:
. Initiation Fee: $120,000 Minimum
. Membership Dues: $1,000 per month ... 6
. Allowed 50 guests ... per month, up to 3
Those fees might be cheap wherever it is that Inde's members fly in
from, but in
Cochise County, half of all households make under $45,000 per year.
Yet Inde wants those households to help fund this road to a
private playground, then maintain the road, forever. There are a lot more roads around the County, used
by many longsuffering residents of the County not for play but to get back and forth to work and home, that
could use a lot more help; Gleeson Road, for instance. What do
local people have to do to get desperately needed
roadwork -- start a racetrack of their own?
However, despite Inde's original claims of "members only," Inde may be
letting in lots of people who aren't members in the ordinary sense. In
2010, CJ Dorland emailed
to "El Mamito USMC" -- scroll down at
-- that "We will be introducing the first of our 'Inde Experience' events in
the coming weeks. This will be your chance to be a member for a
day and drive the track with a limited number of participants in order
to ensure ample track time. The tentative date for the first Inde
Experience is April 17, 2010. The cost per driver is $175 and is
available for the first 30 participants that RSVP. We will also be
serving lunch. Please email me should you wish to RSVP or if you have
any questions." And there are even cheaper prices now for outright non-members. The motorcyclist website at
advertises "gate fees" at Inde from $0 to $10 for spectators, with the
gates opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. Of course, the more
people that Inde attracts for mass events, the less Inde resembles the
private club for a few pals that Inde talked about in order to get its
permit. In fact, starting at 4:21 on the audio recording of
Inde's presentation at the hearing, Inde says "This is a private
venture, period, so you'll have to be a member to be able to bring your
cars out and have a good time," and as to racing clubs, "Only if they
end up buying in and being an actual member, so you literally would
have to be a member, but yes, if they become a member then it would be
accessible to them, but we can only allow so many people a day to be
there, so it would be very limited for clubs to come, but not saying
we're not going to." "Gate fees" for spectators don't appear to
match what Inde said about requiring people to be members; perhaps Inde
Considering the entire record, it's hard to imagine how to reconcile
Inde's own publicity with what Inde said in order to get a permit,
things like saying Inde would be "a private facility which would allow
us older car collectors to
drive our cars on the touring road and enjoy the secluded ranch
experience," "There'll be one or two members at a time out there,
hanging out and having a good time on the track," "It wasn't about
putting some big deal together and having big races, nothing like
that," "you'll have to be a member to be able to bring your cars out,"
"about a hundred mile an hour, that would be the fastest," "We wanted
to be in the middle of nowhere." Inde has tried to explain things
A December 2009 newspaper article at
Dorland as saying "We figure we'll add a million and a
to the Willcox economy annually in hotels, retail, and tourism," and
Dorland recently stated "We're saving the taxpayers money by increased
sales tax revenue we
generate, increased property values, and by reducing the County's
long-term maintenance cost for this road." However, Dorland's "million
and a half" figure is only a claim so far, and Inde's website
isn't overflowing with community
outreach. We read every page on the site, and the only reference
local business we saw was to Willcox's Holiday Inn Express
motel -- a fine motel, but if Inde wants
to boost local business, it could do a lot more boosting online.
Dorland once told this writer "We have hundreds of local supporters for every
yourself; they understand the beneficial impact we provide."
NIMBY -- Not In My Back Yard -- comment assumes that this writer
what Inde did, but just didn't want Inde to do it in the street and
scare the horses. Actually, this writer doesn't especially like
Inde does; in the year 2011, there must be better ways for people to
play than by frivoling away a resource which is so scarce it's causing wars
around the world. And speaking of Dorland's term NIMBY: don't the majority
owners of Inde still live in Tucson? And the drivers who come
down from Tucson, Phoenix, and further away -- would they want the
track in their back yard, or are they NIMBYs as far as Cochise County is concerned?
Inde did have local supporter who came out early: state representative Peggy
writes "I live in Willcox and Inde Motorsports is a good thing for
Willcox. There are not that many good things going on, in
the way of revenue and tax generating businesses, especcially of the
size and scope of Inde Motorsports. It gives people (who by the
have a lot of money to spend and are building a relationship with
Willcox businesses) a reason to come to Willcox and it also donates a
goodly amount to area non-profits and events. We are happy to
them here and the 50 to 100 or so local people who travel on Airport
Road each day, including school busses are very happy to have the road
completed. The money and efforts put into the original chip seal will
be lost soon, if further improvements are not made. This is a
important road in our community and we are happy that the Inde
Motorsports people are willing to help improve this road."
To this writer, Inde seems to want socialism for the rich. Our tax
be better spent on making everyday life easier
for full-time County residents who've needed better roads for
decades, than on giving a deluxe pavement to the road to Inde
Motorsports. If Inde were the operation it said it would be, no
improvement would be needed; and if Inde is a grandiose operation that
contradicts the promises it made, then Inde doesn't deserve to
have Cochise County taxpayers pay anything to improve the road to it.
Inde's CJ Dorland sees things differently. He has
written "It is
clear to me that you have an agenda that is anti-business, anti-growth,
and even anti-government. I have no idea why you chose to slander
our business with your emails that contain inaccurate and misleading
information.... I do not appreciate emails that slander and
demean my business so you are the reason we got off on the wrong foot."
Dorland should try addressing the facts; and our agenda is to fight against interference
with peaceful rural life; fight for the welfare of rural Cochise
County, not of Sierra Vista, Tucson, Phoenix
-- or Inde Motorsports; and both to criticize government when it's bad
and compliment it when it's good.
Dorland's email closes "If you would like to 'get back on the right
foot' then perhaps you should visit our facility and meet with me face
to face so you can better understand our operation. Just let me
know and I'll be more than happy to meet with you to give you a tour."
We'll consider taking that tour, if Inde ever
addresses the facts set out in this writeup, instead
of trying to bull its way into the County treasury.