The Holley Performance Products LS Fest at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park can go on as slated this weekend, according to a ruling by the Warren County Code Enforcement Board.
But after that event, the park must shut down events until a sound study is finished and the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County has reviewed and approved a new motorsports park development plan.
The code enforcement board also levied a $100 a day fine against the park until it is in compliance with county zoning regulations.
Those ruling were the result of a four-hour-long meeting Wednesday during which the code enforcement board tweaked a recommendation by Steve Hunter, executive director of the Planning Commission, who issued a $100 fine to the park Aug. 20.
The ruling pleased Clark Circle residents, who have complained for months about the high noise levels created by events at the park.
“One more (event) will not make a difference,” said Walter McDavitt, 463 Clark Circle, expressing satisfaction with Wednesday’s ruling. “Some days (the noise) is OK and other days it is too loud.”
NCM officials weren’t as thrilled.
The park’s lead attorney Charles “Buzz” English Jr., said Thursday the NCM is “seriously” considering an appeal of the code enforcement board’s decision, adding that the park is “not simply trying to get through the track season.”
Some 130,000 people have visited the park, which opened in August 2014 across I-65 from the museum.
English wasn’t able to attend the meeting Wednesday because he was on vacation, and assistant attorney Kyle Roby unsuccessfully requested a continuance to allow English to be there.
Hunter defended the $100 ticket, leading the code enforcement board through more than 150 pages of a PowerPoint presentation outlining the case since 2007. He claims the NCM has not met the conditions originally set by the Planning Commission for the development, noting that it is not in zoning compliance and has no legal right to build on the property or operate anything on it.
“Clearly the property owner has no right to be on the property today or open its doors in 2014,” Hunter said. “We asked them to stop, and they didn’t stop.”
Park officials have said they will build a 1,600-foot berm along part of the Clark Circle property to try and cut noise levels, but Hunter said Wednesday he is worried that the berm won’t reduce noise below the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s standard of 65 decibels.
Museum director Wendell Strode, during the meeting, said he had been told by Hunter to build the berm to get the park into compliance. Strode pointed out that the berm will cost $400,000 and the museum doesn’t want to build it if it won’t do any good to reduce noise.
National Corvette Museum’s response to actions by the Warren County CEB
CorvetteBlogger.com reached out to Katie Frassinelli at the National Corvette Museum today regarding Wednesday evening’s Code Enforcement Board meeting and she provided the following statement:
Last night, 9/9/15, the Code Enforcement Board held a hearing on the National Corvette Museum’s (NCM) appeal of the citation issued by the Planning Commission (PC). The decision of the Code Enforcement Board (CEB) was to uphold the citation regarding the opening of the Motorsports Park without a certificate of occupancy.
The Planning Commission Director then submitted his recommendation of what should be required of the NCM to address the issues in the citation. The CEB approved some of the PC recommendations. At this time the Museum has not received a copy of the specific action that was approved.
However, the main action taken was that the NCM is to cease construction immediately and cease future events after the Holley LS Fest this weekend until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission.
After discussion with our attorney, there is also some question as to whether the CEB has the authority to require us to cease operations. At this time, we plan to appeal the CEB decision to District Court. This will allow us to continue construction, continue with our scheduled events and continue working with all parties to resolve the issues. We are not trying to be defiant, but canceling events causes harm to our customers, their registrants and our reputation as a venue for recreational motorsports, tourism and educational events.
Appealing the ruling will also allow us to continue the sound study that was requested by the Planning Commission and approved by the Clark Circle residents. The agreed on timeline for that included data collection through this weekend’s event. The sound company will then analyze the data collected, finalize modeling and move toward specific options that could be implemented to effectively reduce the noise levels.
The noise continues to be a major emphasis for the NCM and NCM MSP. We are committed to resolving this.
The noise abatement berm being built at the Clark Circle property line will reduce the level of noise to some extent and will serve as a visual barrier. We, along with the sound engineers, have maintained that this is not the most effective sound mitigation. However, this was all being done at the direction of and a mandate from the Planning Commission. Construction is not something that can be started and stopped immediately. The construction is within two weeks of substantial completion. From talking with our contractor today, there are other issues that should be factored into any decision to stop construction (soil erosion, ponds, mosquitoes, weather, etc.). It is our position that it only makes sense to continue the construction of the noise abatement berm.
We have approximately 15 events scheduled for the remainder of the year. We have contracts in place that we intend to honor. Most of those contracts involve other contracts that are also in place (hotel rooms, emergency services, corner workers, etc.). A few of the events scheduled over the next few weeks include an automotive magazine photoshoot, a Chamber business event, Kentucky tourism industry event, a teen driver training school, educational driving schools, and a veteran’s recognition event. Many of the events at the Motorsports Park do not generate a lot of noise. Forcing the cancellation of these events would have a negative economic impact on our community.
We will continue to work toward a solution as we strive to be a good neighbor.
Bowling Green Daily News
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