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Motorsports park hearing Monday

POSTED: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Plans for a motorsports country club on more than 150 acres off Duck Thurmond Road will go before the Dawsonville Planning Commission on Monday.

  

Jeremy Porter, developer for Atlanta Motorsports Park, wants to rezone the property from residential to restricted industrial.

  

An appointed board, the planning commission makes recommendations to the city council, which has final say on such matters.

  

Porter’s plans call for a Le Mans-style driving course nearly 3 miles long, with two straightaways nearly 2,000 feet in length, with residential and retail components.

  

The park would also feature a members-only clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts, hiking trails and lodging.

  

The site, currently owned by Ernie Elliott, was annexed into Dawsonville in fall 2007.

  

Residents in the area, including members of a local activist group, have voiced concerns over noise, environmental impact and property values.

  

Porter said he has tried to address their worries, noting that the development would have 200-foot tree buffers and strategically placed buildings to reduce noise.

  

He also paid $3,000 for Atlanta-based Arpeggio Acoustic Consulting to conduct a sound study.

  

Porter will pursue a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green certification for the project, which could further offset the environmental impact.

  

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, has estimated the project could have a $4 million tax boost to the county over the next eight to 10 years.

  

The $20 million development could also bring 20 to 25 new jobs.

  

Porter has said the facilities would be available for community events, as well as road course driver training for teens, adults and law enforcement.

  

Bob Varsha, a Speed Channel commentator who endorsed the project last month, said the concept is a win-win for the community and speed fans.

  

“There are so many things that can be done to train young people to be better drivers, so that we can reduce the kind of carnage we see every weekend it seems on our highways,” he said.

  

“We can get kids involved not only in driving cars, but in working on them and opening up career paths for young people. It just seems to work on so many levels.”

  

Dawsonville Planning Director Steve Holder has said the staff plans to recommend approval with several stipulations, among them limited hours of operation, sound buffers, guest limits and a full-time, on-site medical technician.

  

E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.com.

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