NPR Radio: New Law Guts Tamworth Racetrack Regulations By Trish Anderton
Friday, May 7, 2004
Under state law, towns can regulate automobile tracks through what’s called a racetrack ordinance. But the new law excludes certain kinds of racetracks from those regulations. Specifically, it excludes the kind of private track that Club Motorsports International or CMI wants to build in Tamworth.
Below is a rough transcript. It is not word for word accurate.
Steve Gaal is a member of Focus Tamworth, a local group that’s pushing for more regulation of the CMI track. He says a town committee spent a lot of time and money last year drawing up a racetrack ordinance.
GAAL: When the committee goes through a democratic process as we did, and then sort of under cover of darkness in the legislature, there’s a bill that specifically excludes a development exactly like the kind CMI
wants to put in Tamworth, it’s very shocking.
The ordinance would have limited the amount of noise the track could make, as well as its lighting, operating hours and other details. But the new law's lead sponsor, Republican Senator John Gallus of Berlin, says towns don’t need special committees to control a project like this.
He points out they can use zoning, as well as state and local environmental regulations. Gallus argues racetrack ordinances were originally created to address facilities like the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, not the Tamworth track.
GALLUS: This is a private facility, member only racetrack, not a spectator sport kind of thing like loudon is so its not a burden on municipal services and so forth.
CMI spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne argues the town ordinance simply went too far.
TRANCH: It became a zoning ordinance that would regulate not just the operation but the very development of the facilty, and a very very restrictive ordinance.
But CMI’s critics reject those arguments. They say whether the facility allows spectators or not, it’ll still be just as loud as a public racetrack.
And David Little of Focus Tamworth says CMI had ample opportunity to air its concerns about the ordinance.
They were at every meeting. Its not like people who support the track didn’t have a chance to speak. It was a compromise. Nobody got everything they wanted in that ordinance. Little says local state representatives were never told about the bill, so they didn’t have a chance to weigh in on it.
Those representatives could not be reached for comment. The racetrack proposal is awaiting approval from state environmental officials.
For NHPR news I’m Trish Anderton