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Zoning change helps Summit Point Raceway's expansion plans

December 28, 2001

Zoning change helps Summit Point Raceway's expansion plans



By KEVIN VERZICH
mtbbureau@stargate.net


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday approved a proposal rewording a zoning change that allows for the expansion of Summit Point Raceway, with a few changes added.

Stephen Bockmiller, chief planner for the Jefferson County Department of Planning, Zoning and Engineering, presented the commission with an updated version of the zoning change, which addressed the commissioners' concerns from the Dec. 20 meeting.

Commissioners reviewed the revised changes and Commissioner James K. Ruland made a motion to accept it, adding that the document should be revised one more time to reflect two more changes.

Those changes include a word change from "and" to "with" in regard to a proposed dormitory-food service facility that will house and feed guests of the raceway during the week.

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Bockmiller told commissioners the definition of dormitory includes a food service. However, commissioners wanted to have more clarity by having the phrase "dormitory and food service" changed to read "dormitory with food service."

Raceway owner Bill Scott said Thursday the dormitory and food service will not be open to the public. It would only be used, he said, to provide a convenience to those people having business at the raceway during the week.

Ruland also asked the commissioners to clarify that "testing" should not be taking place at the raceway.

Scott explained that the testing involved safety organizations from Washington that test seat belt reliability and other traffic safety measures.

Only one commissioner voiced his opposition to the proposal. Commissioner James Knode said he did not like the idea of rezoning, and that Summit Point's expansion was not an expansion, but a rezoning issue.

"I have a problem accepting this," Knode said. "We're adding, not expanding. It's actually a rezoning and I think that is at odds with what I believe zoning is. I also believe it is outside the interests of the people who live in Summit Point."

The motion to approve was put to a vote, and passed 4-1. Knode cast the only dissenting vote.

The proposal will return to the planning commission with the revised changes. Bockmiller said the planning commission will have 45 days to make a decision on the proposal.

Another section of the zoning change that concerned the commission said that the 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," Ruland said during the Dec. 20 meeting.

The commission wants the automobile-related research to be limited to racing and training cars at the track.

Despite concerns from some county residents that it was too open-ended, the Jefferson County Planning Commission approved the zoning changes for the 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.

Scott 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.

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