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Judge allows work to continue at park site
1 Motorsports park pic
Jeremy Porter of Atlanta Motorsports Park, seated, testified before Senior Judge John Girardeau last week in a hearing aimed at stopping construction of the project. The motion was denied. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Construction of a motorsports park in western Dawson County can proceed following a judge’s decision last week.


Superior Court Senior Judge John Girardeau ruled Nov. 30 that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to halt construction of Atlanta Motorsports Park failed to demonstrate “reasonable certainty” the park would create a nuisance once it opens.


“It may turn out to be a noise nuisance. It has that potential,” said Girardeau, who added the evidence was not adequate to determine the nuisance would exist.


Developer and park president Jeremy Porter said he was “tickled” by the judge’s decision.


“We are continuing to move forward, and I just pray the facts of this case continue to come out,” Porter said.


Plaintiffs West and Helen Hamryka, who live and operate a horse training business on about 70 acres across Duck Thurmond Road from the park site, contend their business and lifestyle would sustain irreparable damage if work on the park continued.


A horse behavior expert, however, testified last week that noise from the facility “will have no effect on the behavior of the horses.”


“I cannot imagine any activity that could occur with motor vehicles that could have an impact on the behavior of the horses on the Hamryka property,” said Sue McDonnell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.


The Hamrykas filed the injunction in October, about 18 months after the city of Dawsonville approved the park’s zoning.


They have also filed suit, claiming zoning law was violated when the Dawsonville City Council approved the park’s rezoning without requiring a development of regional impact study.


Such a study is typically required for mixed-use developments.


Richard Wingate, an attorney for the Hamrykas, said his clients “are confident in the merits of their motions and believe that the law will prevail in this case.”


“If the court grants any of plaintiffs’ outstanding motions, then the rezoning action is void and all construction activities at the AMP property must cease,” Wingate said.


Porter said construction is about 75 percent complete.


“We’re looking at completing the project in March or April, depending on the weather,” he said.


Plans for the park call for about two miles of high performance road course for two- and four-wheel vehicles. Park features also include a members-only lounge, 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails.


Girardeau is expected to hear motions from both sides within the next few weeks. As of Tuesday afternoon, no date had been set.