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Summit Point Raceway groups still at odds

February 13, 2001|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

Summit Point Raceway groups still at odds



CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Still locked in discussions about noise levels and buffer zones, a citizens group and owners of the Summit Point Raceway say they have not been able to reach an agreement about an expansion of the track.

Members of Citizens Against Raceway Expansions, or CARE, and owners of the racetrack appeared before the Jefferson County Planning Commission Tuesday night to give an update on their negotiations. At the Jan. 16 meeting of the planning commission, track attorney Peter Chakmakian said he thought an agreement could be reached in about two weeks.

But an agreement has not been reached and talks are still going on over noise levels that would be allowed at the track and buffer zones around the facility, Chakmakian said.

The citizens group has asked for another two weeks to consider issues involved, including how noise levels will be measured, Chakmakian said.

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The track brought up a technical issue in the negotiations and the citizens group is "just not in a position to make a decision in 24 hours," said Scott Sudduth, counsel for CARE.

The two sides will have two more weeks to reach an agreement. In the meantime, a committee made up of planning commission members has been set up to consider the matter.

The committee could review any agreement or consider alternatives from the track if an agreement is not reached, planning commission members said.

The track has developed five proposed changes to the county's subdivision ordinance that would allow the track to expand, Chakmakian said.

The track favors alternative five, which would allow the track to expand beyond the 35 percent it is currently allowed, Chakmakian said. The proposal would not change the track's current zoning, which is agricultural.

If the track were ever sold, the site could not be designated as an industrial area, according to alternative five.

Summit Point Raceway is a 10-turn, two-mile asphalt track in southern Jefferson County that features vintage race car competitions, motorcycle races and other events.

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

Scott has said he is heavily booked by federal agencies wanting to train at the track and needs to expand it to better serve his clients.

Scott wants to build another two-mile track, living quarters for people who train there and storage buildings for equipment.

The main complaints about the track are noise from race cars and hours of operations. Some of the race cars at the track do not use mufflers and citizens want mufflers to be required, said CARE coordinator David Turley.

"I live eight miles from the track and I hear it," Turley said.

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