Originally created 11/07/02

Owners request longer race day



The operators of a Columbia County racetrack want the checkered flag to drop a little later on Saturday nights.

But Gordon Park Speedway owner W.O. "Catfish" Reese's request will need the approval of Columbia County Planning Commissioners tonight.

Mr. Reese is asking planners to amend the special use zoning for the property along Gordon Highway near Grovetown to allow racing to end at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

"They have asked to extend the hours of racing on Saturday night by one hour," said Columbia County Planning and Development Director Jeff Browning.

Mr. Reese also wants the commission to waive a provision in the zoning rules that requires the track owners to get permission from county commissioners 30 days in advance for Sunday races, Mr. Browning said.

The Planning Commission meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Evans Government Complex Auditorium.

The racetrack was the focus of several heated zoning meetings in 2000, when a different set of owners pitched Silver Eagle Speedway to planners.

Planning commissioners, besieged with complaints from those adjacent to the speedway, approved the track with a series of stipulations, including a requirement that races end by 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays. There were also noise limitations: Noise from the track could not exceed 60 decibels.

But since Mr. Reese began operating the track under the Gordon Park name, the noise limits have become an issue. During a test earlier this year, Mr. Browning said, noise from the track registered in the mid-70s for most of the race.

"We have had here at the county several calls (about the noise at the track)," Mr. Browning said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.

The Columbia County Planning Commission will meet at 6:30 tonight in the Evans Government Complex Auditorium.