DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Atlanta Motorsports Park owner Jeremy Porter said he suggested Seanie Zappendorf step down as a member of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) as soon as he learned about the complaint filed against her by Carlita Parks.
Parks’ complaint to City Manager Bob Bolz that Zappendorf misrepresented herself as a city employee is the basis for a formal ethics complaint. Zappendorf is not a city employee, but was a member of the DDA when she questioned Parks about her complaints against AMP.
The race track was involved in a controversial zoning issue at the time and Zappendorf’s questioning of Parks could be seen as a conflict of interest since she and her husband, Ron, own Discover Parts, a racing parts store that leases property at the track.
An email obtained from city officials confirms that Porter wrote City Councilwoman Angie Smith on May 2 stating:
“I wanted to bring an issue to your attention that affects both AMP and the City of Dawsonville in the hope that we can work together to find a resolution.
“Please find attached a copy of a letter that was sent to Bob Boltz (sic) by Carita Parks who is a nearby resident of the AMP track. In her letter, Mrs. Parks describes the actions of one of our tenants, Seanie Zappendorf, who appears to have interfered in both City of Dawsonville and AMP business while making false claims to be acting in an official capacity for both parties. (Giving Mrs. Parks a card with city of Dawsonville on it, when in reality it is the DDA / Stating she is an investor in AMP). I am not certain her actions were malicious, however I believe it does require action on our part.
“Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor, nor has she been given permission to act on our behalf in any way under any circumstances.
“I am extremely alarmed that any local resident should feel as if they are being given a ‘warning’ by a representative of AMP or the DDA. I would like to, with your permission, inform Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor and that her actions are not endorsed by us. I would also urge you to use this opportunity to provide reassurance to Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf does not have any authority with the City of Dawsonville when it comes to assessing sound levels.
“My suggestion is to ask that Mrs. Zappendorf step down from the DDA. However, I would welcome your feedback on how to directly address this resident’s complaint and Mrs. Zappendorf’s actions.
“I would also be interested to discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Zappendorf resigned from DDA six days later and AMP has withdrawn its request for modifications to its zoning stipulations.
City Council is expected to appoint a three-member ethics commission Monday to hear the complaint.
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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