DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A standing-room-only audience packed Dawsonville City Hall Monday in hopes that — after six months — city council could finally make a decision on the sound, lighting and operating hours variances requested by Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP). But, after a one-hour public hearing, supporters and opponents left disappointed as council members chose to punt. A decision is not likely until June 5.
Some progress was made, however. Owner Jeremy Porter made several significant concessions to area residents who oppose the variances and the city did conduct a sound study.
Sound engineer Tom Trask presented his findings prior to the start of the public hearing. He said the study showed the track did not exceed the city’s imposed 69 dBa (the terminology refers to a weighted decibel limit on average for a-16 hour period). But it was unclear why the four sound monitors were not placed at the track, but instead were placed at four area residences.
Both sides were given 30 minutes to present their case. George Butler, a highly-animated Dahlonega attorney, took the full 30 minutes to argue on behalf of the owner.
Butler began by withdrawing AMP’s request for unlimited noise on 15 days each year. Now, the track is asking for unlimited noise only on the 4th of July.
Butler pointed out that the county’s Planning Commission had recommended a 98 dBa public address system limit at trackside but the owner is only asking for 80 dBa at 50 feet from the edge of the track.
AMP’s current operating hours are from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Nov. 1 through March 31 and 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or one hour after sunset) from April 1 through Oct. 31. Porter would like to have the hours extended between March 15 and Nov. 15 to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Retained in the proposal unveiled Monday was the request to build condos or micro-cabins on the property.
Several area residents spoke in opposition to the variations, most complaining about the noise and potential loss of property value. One man said regardless of the sound study, the noise is disruptive from as far away as a mile.
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