Friday, November 19, 2010

Smoke Signals: Nov. 30 hearing to determine if injunction will halt further AMP construction

Great story below. Thanks to Smoke Signals for publishing an excellent article about the lawsuit. Be there if you can, in red shirts, on Tues., Nov. 30 at 10 am at the Dawson County Courthouse to show your opposition/disgust for this future nuisance.
Will legal action put the brakes on Dawsonville’s proposed motorsports park?

With city cutbacks, Dawsonville mayor now responsible for oversight of zoning stipulations

By Lynda Zblewski

A November 30 hearing will determine whether a judge will approve an injunction to halt further development at the controversial Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) until all legal issues are resolved.

According to a statement issued by Richard Wingate, attorney for the Hamryka family (plaintiffs in this case), Senior Judge John Girardeau will hear the plaintiff’s motion for an interlocutory injunction against the proposed AMP at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30, at the Dawson County Courthouse.

The purpose of the injunction is “to preserve the status quo, so that no further degradation of the environment can occur until the Court has ruled on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.”

Following rezoning of 152 acres in April 2009, West Hamryka, who owns a 70-acre horse farm across from the proposed motorsports park, filed suit charging the rezoning action was illegal. The suit claimed the defendants—City of Dawsonville, its mayor and council, Atlanta Motorsports Park, LLC, Jeremy Porter (Forsyth resident and AMP developer), and EHK Investments, LLC—were responsible “for the unlawful interference of [the Hamrykas’] right to enjoy the possession of their property and for the disruption of their business.”

On November 12, 2009, Judge Kathlene Gosselin issued an order completely denying all of the defendants' motions to dismiss the suit.

Resolute and determined
In a recent phone interview with Smoke Signals, West Hamryka’s resoluteness was apparent. He stated emphatically that his “resolve is unrelenting despite the active construction.” When asked if any legal change had occurred since the defendants’ motion to dismiss was denied last November, he said EHK Investments, LLC had been dropped from the suit.

The Hamrykas have also filed several motions according to Wingate “which if granted, will dispose of the lawsuit and prevent the AMP project from being completed because of the illegal rezoning action by the City of Dawsonville.”

Hamryka also stated: “We look forward to our first true day in court. We hope this project will be seen for the nuisance it is and that the court will reverse the illegal rezoning.” This proceeding will be open to the public and he encourages concerned citizens to attend.

Although Hamryka’s suit continues to move forward, work on the motorsports complex has also been allowed to proceed. According to Dawsonville City Clerk, Bonnie Warne, the appropriate land disturbance and signage permits have been applied for and issued to AMP.

The AMP website describes current construction status, along with photos of the progress. Although no building construction has begun, much grading and track work is continuing. As of this writing the AMP website reports they expect to be “operational” by the end of 2010.

Oversight of zoning stipulations
When the rezoning was approved last April, it carried 22 stipulations, a number of which were to be overseen by the Dawsonville Planning Director but, at this time, that position no longer exists. In an interview with Smoke Signals, Dawsonville Mayor Joe Lane Cox explained the oversight of these stipulations was now the responsibility of his office. Cox says he personally visits the site approximately two times a week.

In addition, portions of the construction supervision have been contracted out to Dawson County, as no personnel are employed by the City of Dawsonville to carry out these responsibilities. According to Mayor Cox this oversight is primarily in the area of environmental concerns.

When asked whether there had been any environmental issues, he related that there had been one early incident with regard to silt fencing that resulted in a fine. Since that time AMP has been in compliance. Two Dawson County employees are at the site once a week.

Mayor Cox was asked about one stipulation in particular that pertained to noise monitoring of the decibel level when the track is operational. This stipulation states there are to be a minimum of four sound meters placed around the perimeter of the property that will enable the decibel level to be monitored. The Mayor indicated that he planned to have a person assigned responsibility for monitoring the sound levels by the time the facility opened.

There was brief discussion of the AMP Web site claim that they planned to be operational by year’s end; however, Mayor Cox felt that was quite optimistic. He feels the timetable for opening is more likely next summer.

In a proactive move, a spokesperson for the Big Canoe Company, LLC confirmed that they have completed a sound study within Big Canoe to measure current sound levels. The purpose of this study is to provide a baseline for comparison if noise from AMP becomes an issue within our community.

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