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Commissioners want raceway zioning reworded

December 27, 2001

Commissioners want raceway zioning reworded



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday asked the county planning commission to reword a zoning change that allows for a controversial expansion of Summit Point Raceway.

A section of the zoning change that concerns the commission says that Summit Point Raceway "may add other automobile-related facilities, including, but not limited to warehousing, parts, supplies and service for on-site racing vehicles."

The way it is worded, the zoning change could allow Summit Point to have everything from "Koons Ford to oil recycling," Jefferson County Commissioner James K. Ruland said.

Although the wording will be left up to the planning commission, the commissioners want the automobile-related research to be limited to racing and training cars at the track.

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Despite concerns from some county residents that it was too open-ended, the planning commission approved the zoning changes for Summit Point Raceway on Dec. 11.

Summit Point Raceway is in an agricultural zone and cannot expand unless the planning commission gives special permission.

In addition to holding vintage car and motorcycle races, the track has become a popular location for federal agencies to receive antiterrorist training.

Bill Scott, owner of the track, has said he needs to construct an additional track, living quarters, food service facilities and other improvements to meet the increased demand for training at the track.

Some Summit Point residents say that the noise from the track has become unbearable, property values have decreased in the Summit Point area and the track has no concern for the quality of life in Summit Point.

Summit Point residents have raised concerns about the planning commission proposal because it places no limits on dormitory lodging and research development facilities that would be allowed at the track.

Residents have asked that noise at the track be limited to 65 decibels, although planning commission officials say state laws prohibit them from placing a noise limit on the facility.

Other changes the commissioners requested include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Making sure the zoning change is being granted to the property itself and just not Summit Point Raceway/BSR Inc., the company that owns the track. The commission is concerned that if Summit Point Raceway/BSR is given the zoning change, another company might not be able to use the facility for its intended purpose if it were to be sold.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Adding a definition for "dormitory-style lodging" that is being allowed at the track.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Clarifying how much of a track expansion is allowed at the property. Even if the commission would not approve the zoning change, Scott would be able to expand his track by 35 percent under current county law.

The issue is expected to come before the commission again next Thursday.

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