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Go kart track proposed for Newton

COVINGTON - A go kart race track is being proposed for Newton County, but commissioners will first have to decide if they want to allow such a use in the zoning ordinance.

Commissioners held a work session Tuesday prior to their regular meeting to discuss a proposal by Dan Moore of Atlanta Gran Prix Karting. Moore would not publicly disclose the planned location for the facility, and there is not yet any documentation on file with the Newton County Department of Development Services. But during the meeting, it was stated numerous times that the track would be very near I-20 on property zoned general commercial and near the Almon Overlay in west Newton. Most adjacent properties are commercial with the exception of one nearby residence.

Commissioners in 2011 voted to amended the ordinance to exclude tracks for motorsports from allowed uses under commercial outdoor recreation facilities. Although officials said the amendment was part of an overhaul of the zoning ordinance as a whole, Donnie Clack, who had proposed locating a drag strip in Newton along I-20 and U.S. Hwy. 278, said he believed the move was designed to keep him out.

As a result of the amendment, there is currently no use in the ordinance that a go kart track would fit under, said Lynn Morgan with Development Services. Commissioners will have to decide if they want such a use allowed and if so, how to craft the language if they want to restrict vehicles based on horsepower and number of cylinders -- allowed vehicles could be limited to one cylinder, for example, which would keep them limited to go karts.

Commissioner Nancy Schulz expressed concerns about noise pollution and air quality, as well as having fences and buffers. But Commissioners Lanier Sims and John Douglas said the noise and air quality wouldn't be any worse than it is on the interstate.

"I don't want us to be so nitpicky and so attentive to splitting hairs that we run a prospective business out of the county," Douglas said.

Schulz reminded them of an earlier statement made by Jenny Carter with the County Attorney's Office that whatever they decide will not just be applicable to this property will but will have an impact countywide.

As far as this specific project, Schulz said the area is very close to the Almon Overlay and she wants to make sure it would not create drastic change there.

Sims said perhaps the ordinance could include a maximum decibel requirement to protect the overlay from noise.

The majority of commissioners expressed informal support of the project, and will discuss the ordinance amendment at a later date. Moore said after the meeting that he plans to cater to corporations and the facility would be used for team-building exercises as well as open to individuals. He said it would likely be summer before he actually submits an application.

Comments

Frustrated 12 months ago

I think he should be made to disclose the location before this is brought up for a change to the ordinance. Don't just go approving and making changes without knowing more facts. I thought the purpose of the overlay was to improve the areas not for special zoning.

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pt3000 12 months ago

As there really isn't anything to do in Newton County I think something like this should be approved, it's not like everyone is breaking their necks to move into one of the overlay areas for thiose that want to bring it up, as long as it isn't in the overlay boundries it shouldn't matter how close it is to it, if that was the case they should have overlayed the entire county and not a pocket here and a pocket there.

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dennistay53 12 months ago

Mrs Schulz- one word- JOBS- Newton County is in real need of jobs. Don't turn this away. Beggers can't be choosers. The jobs yall ran away that Mr Clack wanted to bring here in 2011 would be very nice to have now. Stay with it Commissioner Douglas because this county needs jobs and increase in Tax base.

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John 12 months ago

If Ms. Shulz is concerned so much about noise quality - maybe their aught to be an enforceable ordinace on the loud pipe exhaust of pick up trucks, motor cycles (both pocket rocket type & Harleys), just some plain ole' junkers driven with rusted out exhaust systems and thsoe forever irritating back seat boom boxs played at you favoriate gas station all over NC. Most people have a misunderstanding of noise - decibles is a measure of noise pressure the can harm ear drums. Years a go our engineeriing group running noise tests on lift trucks to determine the decibel readings at the operators ear at a site that was very agriculture - like open & flat farm land with an interstate about 1/2 mile away and with much lighter traffic than on I-20. The ambient decible reading outside was measured 72dbA. OSHA noise requlations then called for a maximum average noise level exporsure workers over an 8 hour period to be 80 dbA. Often the objectionable noise we hear are tones & tone frequencies. I would rather see those that like the thrill & feel of racing get their fix under a contolled enviroment rather than on the streets/roads of of Newton County - plus it might produce soem added revenue for NC and hopefully long term.

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mansfield 12 months ago

I'm ready to go for a go kart ride, we have no family activities in this county after hours. Put it in a place that won't intrude on others, let them go and start collecting the property and sale taxes. Its not rocket science.

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John 12 months ago

mansfield, You are right when the sun goes down ain't much going on in NC. Once upon a time (like 12-13 years ago), when Newton County was much smaller, population wise, there was an economical movie theater that was replaced by a fast food type establishment. Today we have none but NC can claim we do have an Whitman's Sampler style array of fast food places.

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dennistay53 12 months ago

No Brainer. Drop the green flag and get it going. There's more noise all over the county than these carts will create. Stacks blowing off at several of these industries are louder. Bet Baxter will create more noise. Time to race. Pigeon Forge Tenn has several tracks so we ought to be ok with the noise from one.

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