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City urged to take time on rezoning

County: No need to rush motorsports park

POSTED: February 11, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The Dawson County commission has encouraged the Dawsonville City Council to take a long look at plans for a proposed motorsports park.


In response to mounting public pressure, the commission voted on Thursday to send a letter to the council outlining its position.


The letter asks council to require impact, sound and environmental studies on the 152-acre Duck Thurmond Road site the developer wants to rezone for a driving facility and motorsports country club. The land in western Dawson County was annexed into the city in 2007.


Council will consider the rezoning request during a special called meeting, set for 6 p.m. Feb. 16 in City Hall. The city planning commission has recommended the request be approved with several stipulations, including professional sound and environmental impact studies.


The public hearing was rescheduled from Feb. 2 to give the applicant, Jeremy Porter, enough time to finish the required studies.


Porter’s project calls for a Le Mans-style driving course nearly 3 miles long with straight-aways nearly 2,000 feet in length, as well as garages and a clubhouse.


Plans also include shops and retail space, as well as bike, car and kart rental space.


District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon penned the letter, which acknowledged the council has a weighty decision that would affect not only city residents, but those in the county who live near the property.


“We understand that people of goodwill may legitimately arrive at different conclusions even after hearing and examining all the evidence,” Pichon said, reading from the letter to be presented to the council.


“The board of county commissioners does not presume to tell the city how to arrive at the final conclusion. The jurisdiction is yours. That burden and right is recognized as yours and yours alone.”


The letter went on to say the commission “considered the issues of noise, lights, hours of operation, fuel storage, water quality, the proximity of DNR land and soil erosion and we consider the potential of job creation and the possible tax revenues which may occur.”


The letter said commissioners agreed that “this project holds some very positive outcomes for the county and the city, but it may also represent real and substantial noise to not only those living in the jurisdiction of the city but in the county as well.”


The letter continued: “We believe that the necessary regulations and stipulations are in place to handle all the potential negatives except possibly excessive noise.”


E-mail Michele Hester at


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