Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dawson News & Advertiser: Motorsports park moves forward despite lawsuit

Plans for the future Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) continue to develop with the announcement of a partnership with Tilke Engineers & Architects for the redesign of the track. Tilke has been involved with nearly every modern-era Formula One track constructed in the last 10 years, according to AMP developer Jeremy Porter.

The announcement comes a few weeks after West and Helen Hamryka filed suit against Porter, Atlanta Motorsports Park, the City of Dawsonville, Dawsonville City Council, and EHK (Ernie Elliott) Investments. Elliot is the seller of the property.

The Hamrykas own a home and horse farm across from the 152-acre car park site on Duck Thurmond Road, off Highway 53 West. The Hamrykas say they will be negatively affected by the presence of the park."We are committed to fight and save our home and community from this loud and offensive racetrack," said West Hamryka. "We are disappointed that the mayor and city council betrayed their own citizens in favor of special interest groups, and
I am confident that the voters will remember them on election day."

The suit claims that the defendants are responsible "for the unlawful interference of [the Hamrykas'] right to enjoy the possession of their property and for the disruption of their business."

However, the suit filed in Dawson County Superior Court is looking to block the construction of the park and for $3 million in damages, plus legal fees. But Porter seems unaffected."

Our investors and members laughed when they heard about the lawsuit," Porter said Tuesday. "This suit is abusing and frivolous."

Porter also mentioned that AMP had yet to be served with the lawsuit as of Tuesday.

According to Porter, the organization has sold more than $400,000 in memberships in the last 35 days.

"We've continued to move forward and do very well on memberships," said Porter.

AMP also is planning an unveiling party for the redesign July 30. Porter has stated that he still plans to break ground later this fall.

"We're expecting a huge ripple effect in the community with the businesses that will come with this project," said Porter.

Earlier this month, AMP announced a partnership with HFD1Motorsports, which provides trackside services and shop performance services to motorcyclists. HFD1Motorsports also services the motorcycle enthusiasts with shop services and maintenance of the motorcycle.

HFD1Motorsports and Balance Motorsports are currently looking at locating their headquarters at AMP. Porter also mentioned that AMP has already declined eight offers from companies interested in locating at AMP.

Porter said he was excited that the Skip Barber Driving School, which is the largest in the nation, will be the official driving school of AMP.

The lawsuit against the City of Dawsonville is claiming that the city failed to follow Georgia's zoning procedure by not requiring a Development of Regional Impact study. The suit claims that such a is required for any "mixed use facility."

On Tuesday, Dawsonville City Clerk Kim Cornelison said the city could not comment on any pending litigation.

AMP plans to unveil the design for the new driving course at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at Hennessey Porsche in Roswell. According to Porter, the new track will be the only Tilke track in the U.S. and will help make AMP the only eco-friendly motorsports park in the world.

Speed Channel Commentator Bob Varsha will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Guests will have the opportunity to study three-dimensional images of the new course. Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Michael Jenkins and a number of other celebrities will be in attendance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stolen signs

So, we hear that the bandit is a 20 something year-old from White Co. that comes down to Dawsonville to steal signs. Comically, this bozo has been spotted in the act - license plate and all. But fortunately for him, Dawson County's finest won't do anything about it. Now act surprised!

Signs on private property are now okay to steal? So, if people steal other items from your yard, I guess that's okay too? The police reportedly said the signage owners needed to have "No Trespassing" signs posted in order to charge the brazen bandit. Nice, eh?

Now that I think about it, I need some new patio furniture, a new lawn mower and a few other items.

Move AMP recommends the following sign:

Lawsuit challenges motorsports park

From the Dawson Community News:

Defendants say case ‘frivolous and abusive’

The attorney for a couple attempting to block the construction of a motorsports country club in western Dawson County vows a lengthy legal battle.

“We are going to fight this all the way,” said Richard Wingate, who represents West and Helen Hamryka.

“The complaint speaks for itself. If build out and construction of the project is as planned, it’s going to just ruin my clients’ livelihood.”

The Hamrykas, who own a home and horse farm across from the 152-acre car park site, have filed suit against developer Jeremy Porter, Atlanta Motorsports Park, the city of Dawsonville, Dawsonville City Council, and EHK (Ernie Elliott) Investments.

The suit, filed last month in Superior Court, claims the defendants are responsible “for the unlawful interference of [the Hamrykas’] right to enjoy the possession of their property and for the disruption of their business.”

According to court documents, the Hamrykas seek an injunction to prevent construction of the motorsports park, as well as at least $3 million in damages, plus legal fees.

The suit, also claims the city of Dawsonville violated Georgia’s zoning procedure act and should have required a Development of Regional Impact study before approving the “mixed use facility.”

Several defendants in the civil case say the suit is frivolous.

“We think the lawsuit is an abuse of the process,” said co-defendant Jeremy Porter, founder of Atlanta Motorsports Park. “Four different attorneys are telling us they think this is a frivolous and abusive suit.”

Billed as a country club for sports car enthusiasts, the Atlanta Motorsports Park plan calls for nearly three miles of high performance road course for two- and four-wheel vehicles, a members-only lounge, 10,000 square foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails.

As of early this week, the defendants had not seen the lawsuit. Still, Porter said, he sees the filing as a scare tactic.

“We think that by filing a lawsuit they are trying to dissuade investors from buying into the park,” said Porter, adding that he has the opportunity to counter sue, but plans instead to take what he called the “ethical” road.

Porter said the suit has not hindered membership sales.

“The goal is to pay cash for the land, and we think we’re going to be able to do that,” he said.
Landowner and co-defendant Ernie Elliott said last week he is concerned for every property owner in the country if a lawsuit can be filed against a landowner wanting to sell his property.

“We’ve invested in the real estate for ages now with the idea that we’d sell it some day,” Elliott said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing now. We listed the property with a legitimate real estate agent, and now we have a legitimate buyer.

“If they think they can sue the property owner for trying to sell his property, every other property owner in the country should take a hard look at this. It’s going to set some hard precedent.”

Dawsonville administrator Kim Cornelison said the city does not plan to comment on the lawsuit, which it hasn’t received.

“Our attorney has a copy and has perused through it,” she said. “But right now, if we’re not served, as far as we’re concerned, there is no lawsuit.”

Because city ordinances are in question, Wingate said, there was a timeline to file the suit and “certified copies are required in the records.”

“We now have amended the complaint with the certified copies,” he said. “The defendants will be served soon.”

Regardless of litigation, Porter said he plans to break ground on the project this fall.
“We’re coming up swinging,” he said.

Preliminary estimates by the Development Authority of Dawson County have indicated Porter’s project could bring in as much as $4 million in tax revenue over the next decade.

The development could also attract dozens of new jobs to the county.

“We have nothing to do with the racing park,” Elliott said. “That can be verified by anybody. But that’s not to say I’m not for it. I’m for any business that will bring jobs and growth to this county.

“I want to know that if something happens to this business my employees can have the opportunity to go across the street and get high-paying jobs without having to drive to Atlanta.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dawson Community News: Porter in talks to lure businesses to car park

Porter in talks to lure businesses to car park

Negotiations between Atlanta Motorsports Park developer Jeremy Porter and a high-performance repair facility that wants to relocate to Dawsonville are in the final stages.

“I’m so excited about the new partnership to bring Balanced Performance Motorsports to AMP,” Porter said.

Billed as the South’s premier repair and performance facility, Balance Performance Motorsports plans to move its entire Sugar Hill operation, which includes maintenance and fabrications, to the motorsports country club site that is expected to break ground in western Dawson County by fall.

“We feel that AMP can offer us and our customers many opportunities not available at our current location,” said Chuck Ellis, co-owner and CEO of Balanced Performance. “We feel AMP can bring us not only an incredible sales and marketing team, but also a world class facility and location that is unmatched in the industry.”

Porter received final zoning approval from Dawsonville City Council in April for the project, which will sit on about 152 acres between Duck Thurmond Road and Hwy. 183.

Neighbors bitterly opposed the project, vowing to fight its approval in court.

According to city clerk Kim Cornelison a lawsuit was filed in Dawson County Superior Court May 7. She said the city has not yet been formally served.
The facility will include nearly three miles of high performance road course for fast, exotic cars, karts and bikes, a members-only lounge, 10,000 square foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails.

The Balanced Performance partnership will be an added bonus for club members, who will be able to receive free technical and track readiness support from BMP professionals and official tech inspectors for the National Auto Sport Association, said BPM co-owner Jason Plante.

“We want all AMP members to feel confident that their cars are safe and ready to drive,” Plante said.

Porter said other businesses, including a fine dining restaurant, and agencies also are looking at the site.

Among those interested is Track Chic, an organization that celebrates women involved in the racing industry through an online journal documenting their development.

“There is an impressive group of women on the AMP Team working hard to push this forward,” said Track Chic President Theresa Earnheart. “The online journal will go live within the next few weeks and bring an intimate, female perspective on all aspects of AMP’s development. Women who follow along will feel part of the AMP Family as we build momentum for the grand opening.”

Porter said he is awaiting a redesign of the driving course, as required by city council.