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EWSA plans expansion
Project allows strategic positioning
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The owner of a motorsports park in western Dawson County says he will drill his own wells to prepare for the development’s future water needs.


The general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, however, thinks that idea may be shortsighted.


“I don’t really think they currently appreciate their water needs,” Brooke Anderson said during a March 8 authority work session.


Anderson has recommended that the authority’s five-member board move forward with a $320,000 extension of water service on Hwy. 183 from Reece Road to Howser Mill, about one mile from the Atlanta Motorsports Park site.


“We would stop right there, and by the time we get close to that point, the motorsports park may know what they need ... or they may not,” Anderson said.


“We’ll stop at Howser Mill and wait and see what their needs are whenever they figure them out.”


However, motorsports park owner Jeremy Porter said he’s got it figured out.


“We’re going to use well water,” said Porter, adding that he would not enlist the help of the authority or any other entity. “It will be through us. We’re digging our own wells.”


According to Chairman Jim King, the authority wasn’t the only entity interested in supplying the park with water.


“The city [of Dawsonville] was going to build [the motorsports park] a well and try to serve them water,” King said Monday.


The site of the motorsports park and some surrounding property was annexed into the city in 2007.


Dawsonville Mayor Pro-Tem James Grogan said the city did not currently “have any plans as far as running any lines up there.”


He added that the city “[does] have some wells in the area, and we could produce water up there very quickly.”


King said water service available through the city would be insufficient.


“The water flows are going to be too small,” King said. “It’s not going to be sufficient to serve them.”


He added that the authority would in fact have the capability to serve the park.


The motorsports park’s seeming disinterest in working with the authority posed an issue for King at the March 8 work session.


“I’m a little hesitant about spending [this money] and not having a commitment,” he said.


King then asked Anderson what the proposed expansion would gain the authority.


Anderson replied: “Strategic positioning going forward.”


The authority’s board could vote on the expansion at its next scheduled meeting March 22.


Installation of the new water mains is part of a $2 million project that would extend the entity’s service area into northern and western Dawson County.


Currently, there are about 35 residential properties in the proposed $325,000 water service extension area along Hwy. 183.


To Anderson, however, there is “a lot of potential in the area. There’s a lot of large tracts out there.”


Grogan said that’s a gamble.


“We’ve wondered ... how can you put that much money into a thing when there’s only a couple dozen customers in that area,” he said. “That’s not going to cover it, so you got to be betting on something, and in this economy I’m not going to be a betting man.”


Grogan added that the city had not heard from the authority “in a while” regarding an ongoing water service area dispute.


The disagreement, which began last year, centers on which entity would provide water to the motorsports park site.


The city and authority, which have separate customers and service areas, met several times to discuss the matter. They also exchanged letters addressing the issue.


Located off Duck Thurmond Road, the motorsports park is a 152-acre complex with three miles of road course for two- and four-wheel vehicles. It also includes a members-only lounge, 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails.


The park has been involved in ongoing legal battles over the past couple years regarding the legality of its zoning by the city council.


The plaintiffs, who live beside the motorsports park, also have contended the park would create a nuisance by disturbing their way of life.


A senior Superior Court judge recently granted numerous motions in favor of the defendants.


He also ruled the city did not violate zoning law in approving the park’s rezoning request in April 2009.