Ethics Hearing Raises Dark Cloud Over Request by Atlanta Motorsports Park to Relax Restrictions

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Former DDA member Seanie Zappendorf resigns following an ethics complaint.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – On Monday, the same Dawsonville City Council that once appointed Seanie Zappendorf to the Downtown Development Authority will appoint a commission to hear an ethics complaint against her.

Zappendorf  is accused of misrepresenting herself as a city employee while lobbying on behalf of Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP), a company in which she and her husband have a business interest.

DDA Chairman Jeremy Porter

Seanie and Ron Zappendorf own Discovery Parts, a racing parts store located inside AMP. The facility is seeking to have city council relax sound, lighting and hours of operation restrictions at the facility. Track owner Jeremy Porter is chairman of the DDA on which Zappendorf served until her resignation May 8.

Her resignation follows a letter of complaint sent from Carlita Parks to City Manager Bob Bolz on April 27 in which Mrs. Parks says Zappendorf told her she works for the City. Members of the DDA are not city employees.

Parks wrote: “My husband and I were working in our yard on 4/15/2017 when Mrs. Seanie Zappendorf approached me in her vehicle. Mrs. Zappendorf inquired about my opinions on AMP and asked if I had any complaints about the noise. During the discussion, I voiced my concern about the highly noticeable noises that frequently occurred because of the AMP. Mrs. Zappendorf gave me her “City of Dawsonville” business card and asked me to contact her if we had any further complaints about the noise. She did say that she works for the city but didn’t state working for the city council (although Mrs. Zappendorf is an investor at AMP).”

Parks said she did as requested and called Zappendorf on April 18 to complain about the public address system and was told, “If the few people who are against AMP speak up about their opposition, the people who support AMP will become afraid their homes will be vandalized.”

In her complaint, Parks added, “I am a registered nurse who has been devoted to caring for others for years, and for it to be heavily insinuated that I would be one of the few who would go around vandalizing other’s homes is unacceptable. Mrs. Zappendorf’s statements were spoken in a way that implied a warning to me.”

Following the appointment of an ethics commission, council will appoint someone to replace Zappendorf on the DDA, then hold a second public hearing on the relaxation of stipulations requested by Porter and AMP.

The complaint raises questions about Porter as chairman of the DDA and what he knew about Zappendorf’s alleged lobbying on behalf of his race track and whether or not he should resign as well.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

 

 

 

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AMP Owner Called for Zappendorf Resignation

News

AMP owner Jeremy Porter

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.

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City Council Won’t Decide on AMP until June

Business

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.

Attorney George Butler argued on behalf of AMP owner Jeremy Porter.

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.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

 

 

 

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