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Raceway expansion agreement reached

January 16, 2001

Raceway expansion agreement reached



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Tuesday night meeting about a controversial plan to expand Summit Point Raceway turned out to be brief when track owners and area residents announced they had reached an agreement.

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About 100 people turned out for the special meeting called by the Jefferson Planning Commission to allow input on zoning change requests by the track and by a citizens group opposed to the track's expansion.

Summit Point Raceway, a 10-turn, two-mile asphalt track in southern Jefferson County, features vintage car and motorcycle races and other events. Track President Bill Scott wants to build another 2-mile track, living quarters for police and federal government officials who train at the track and storage buildings for training equipment.

The expansion plans have been opposed by Summit Point-area residents who formed the group Citizens Against Raceway Expansions, or CARE.

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CARE previously gave the Planning Commission a 250-name petition that expressed opposition to any land-use ordinance change that would allow Summit Point Raceway to expand. The group was primarily concerned about noise from the track and its hours of operation, said Scott Sudduth, an advisor to CARE.

Last Thursday, track and CARE representatives met in an attempt to find common ground on the issue, said Lyle "Cam" Tabb, a Leetown farmer who acted as a mediator at Tuesday's meeting.

Tabb told the Planning Commission that the two sides have worked out a tentative agreement that "fits the need of the track and the citizens. It's just an example of how neighbors can work together."

Tabb said he couldn't provide any specifics on the agreement because it was still being developed. Sudduth said the agreement revolves around a set of covenants Scott was willing to abide by.

Earlier in the day, Scott said the covenants would place limits on the amount of noise at the track and the hours it could operate, but he would not go into specifics.

"We're confident those issues will be addressed," said Sudduth. "We think this is a significant offer from the track."

Peter Chakmakian, the attorney representing Summit Point Raceway, said the track has agreed to the proposal "in principle."

The agreement could be formalized in about two weeks, Chakmakian said.

It is scheduled to be presented to the Planning Commission for consideration Feb. 13.

Summit Point Raceway is in an agricultural zone that does not provide for expansion. The track would need a zoning exception to move ahead with its plans to add a second track.

Scott said he wants to build another 2-mile track, living quarters for police and federal government officials who come there to train and storage buildings for training equipment.

The living quarters would offer about 50 rooms, Scott said. Those who take the driving training courses typically stay at motels in Winchester, Va., Scott said.

In the last five years, the track has become an increasingly popular spot for police and other government agencies to receive specialty driving training, said Scott.

Police and federal agencies like the U.S. State Department send personnel to Summit Point to learn how to conduct high-speed pursuits and other exercises, said Scott.

Scott said he has been "booked up to the eyeballs" by federal agencies wanting to train at the track and he needs to expand it to better serve his clients.

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