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High court dismisses appeal

Nuisance suit still pending

POSTED: May 29, 2012 4:51 p.m.

Georgia's highest court has dismissed appeals filed by a local couple against the city of Dawsonville over a motorsports park in western Dawson County.

According to Tuesday's unanimous opinion written by Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias, West and Helen Hamryka failed to follow the correct procedure when filing their appeals.

Attorney Richard Wingate said his clients, whose home and horse farm sit adjacent to the Atlanta Motorsports Park on Duck Thurmond Road, are disappointed in the high court's decision.

"We believe that we followed the proper appellate procedure because the Superior Court had previously ruled that this lawsuit was not filed as a review of an administrative decision," he said.

Billed as a country club for car enthusiasts that features two miles of track designed for four- and two-wheel vehicles, Atlanta Motorsports Park has seen steady business since opening May 6, according to founder and CEO Jeremy Porter.

"This weekend, we were packed, slammed," Porter said Tuesday. "All of the locals seem to be very receptive and positive about AMP."

The Hamrykas filed suit in 2009 alleging the city violated zoning law when the mayor and city council approved the project without a regional impact study.

In March 2011, Northeastern Judicial Circuit Senior Superior Court Judge John Girardeau sided with the defendants and released the city from the lawsuit, sparking the appeal.

The suit against the city and Atlanta Motorsports Park in 2009 also claims the development would create a nuisance by disturbing their way of life.

"The underlying nuisance lawsuit against AMP continues," Wingate said. "The Superior Court issued a temporary stay on that case until AMP is fully operational."

Wingate said he will move to lift the stay and try the case for damages to the Hamrykas once the track is operating at full capacity.

City Attorney Dana Miles said city council members are pleased the nearly four-year battle is coming to an end.

"The process has been a long one and we're glad to bring it to a conclusion," he said.

Acting Mayor James Grogan, who was not on the city council when the initial lawsuit was filed, said he is proud of the ground work late Mayor Joe Lane Cox and the former council laid to bring the motorsports park to Dawsonville.

"The Supreme Court's decision is verification of what the mayor and city council did several years ago and we're pleased that all of this has been substantiated," he said.

While it's still too early to determine the facility's long-term economic impact, Grogan said he is confident the track will be good for Dawsonville.

"We're seeing a lot of cars at our restaurants that you can definitely tell are headed to the motorsports park to drive on the track," he said.

 

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