The future of Iron Mountain Park was made clearer for Lumpkin and Dawson County residents after the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the project’s Special Land Use Application (SLUA) at its regular session meeting Oct. 1.
The status of the project was last discussed on May 7 when Lumpkin County commissioners voted to table the project until the Oct. 1 meeting in order for officials to gather additional information and for the proposal to address a “lack of specificity.”
Iron Mountain Park is a 4,300-acre ATV park and music venue located in Lumpkin and Dawson counties. Property owner and CEO of the park, Craig Stansberry, outlined his plans for a family-friendly destination at the May 7 public hearing, which included RV campgrounds, restaurants, a microbrewery, equestrian trails, rental cabins and a water park in addition to the racing trails and outdoor concert amphitheater.
Lumpkin County District 2 Commissioner Bobby Mayfield motioned to approve the SLUA with 12 conditions that address environmental, traffic, hours of operation and noise concerns.
According to the conditions approved by the board, hours of operation for ATVs, motocross and concerts are limited to no earlier than 7 a.m. and no later than one hour after dusk on Sundays through Thursdays, and no earlier than 7 a.m. to no later than 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Deviation of the operating hours will require approval from the Lumpkin County BOC.
All ATVs, motorcycles or dirt bikes operating on the trails are limited to a maximum decibel level of 120 decibels and are required to have spark arrestors.
Iron Mountain Park is also required to complete fencing per Lumpkin County land use regulations within 24 months, with an emphasis on completing the fencing adjacent to residential properties first. All trails leading off from the park must be barricaded or fenced both at the property line and at the 100-ft. buffer with appropriate signs posted to inform others of the park’s boundaries.
The park is not to allow ATV or motocross use of the former logging road behind Little Bear Trail or any other trail within the buffer zone. Quiet zones are also to be established in areas adjacent and within 300-ft. of property line of residential properties in order to limit the loud music and other noises not produced by the vehicles. Signs for the quiet zones must also be posted.
Since the May 7 public hearing when Iron Mountain Park’s SLUA was tabled, the property owners worked to address the public’s many concerns with the park which included numerous onsite inspections with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and several meetings with the Foothills Citizens for Smart Growth.
“We heard those community concerns too. We hear the concerns about noise. We heard the concerns about traffic and giving people access, especially on the local roads. We heard the questions about storm water and sewer infrastructure and the concern that way share about the environmental sustainability of this property for the next generations,” said land use and zoning attorney Kyle Williams, representing Iron Mountain Park. “Since then we worked diligently to address those. We’re not going to appease everybody who opposes us, but we wanted to work through those issues and talk to the experts.”
Williams said the park addressed environmental concerns by completing environmental studies, cleaning up the streams, removing the logging roads and trails out of the streams and replanting natural vegetation to stabilize the soil.
The park also conducted a noise study to assess the worst case scenarios which Williams stated the report’s findings said “all of the noise, even in the worst case scenario is well below any applicable standard whether it’s EPD, whether that’s HUD, or that’s a neighboring county’s noise ordinance.”
Williams said that the park is in the process of relocating trails, adjusting the hours of operation and installing the perimeter fence to address additional concerns of safety.
“Safety is our concern. This is a business. If our patrons don’t feel safe – for them, for their kids, for their friends and family to come – we won’t succeed,” Williams said. “It’s just as important to us as anybody else and to this county, and we will make every effort to make sure that we not only meet the best management practices of that but exceed that.”