Thursday, December 30, 2010

Number of blog visits, etc. for the year

We started tracking the number of visits, etc. in March and since then we've had nearly 3,401 visits, 5,654 page views and we even reached readers in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. The most number of visits the site received in one day was actually yesterday - 136.

We'll keep posting AMP-related information when we see it and thanks for visiting this blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Email circulating the community about last week's court hearing

Read the below email we received about last week's court date. We'll post more when we have it.
Update on 12/21 hearing

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

It was a very interesting hearing. Although, the number of attendees was small, the Hamryka's appreciated the support of members of the community.

Judge John Girardeau heard oral arguments on three Motions for Summary Judgment filed by the Plaintiffs in Hamryka v. the City of Dawsonville, and one Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of the City.

If granted, any one of the Plaintiffs' three Motions would establish that the rezoning of the AMP Property was done illegally by the City.

The City attorneys requested two weeks to file additional briefs to which the Plaintiffs will respond. A ruling will be issued after the supplemental briefs are submitted.

The Hamrykas were very pleased with the hearing and believe the law will prevail in their favor and the AMP debacle will be stopped.

We will send an update as soon as new information or court date is available.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's court hearing

Once we receive an update, we will post it. Additionally, we will continue scanning the news for any applicable coverage or mentions.

Smoke Signals (Big Canoe): AMP construction given the green light. (Obstacles remain, though)

Interesting points discussed from last month's court hearing.
AMP construction given the green light

The next step in the process is the hearing on the outstanding Motions for Summary Judgment

By Lynda Zblewski

On November 30, 2010, Senior Judge John Girardeau denied a motion for Interlocutory Injunction that would have halted construction at the site of the new Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP).

Although the Court conceded the “potential” existed for the park to be a nuisance, the Plaintiffs (West and Helen Hamryka) had not shown enough of a current nuisance to merit an immediate injunction, according to the judge.

Porter “tickled” by decision

Following the November 30 hearing, Jeremy Porter, developer of AMP, was quoted in the Dawson Community News as being “tickled” at the judge’s decision (“Judge allows work to continue at park site”, by Michele Hester, posted December 8, 2010). He was further quoted as saying, “We are continuing to move forward, and I just pray the facts of this case continue to come out”.

The next step in the process is the hearing on the outstanding Motions for Summary Judgment. The attorney for the Hamryka’s, Richard Wingate, stated that the “plaintiffs are confident in the merits of their Motions and believe that the law will prevail in this case”.

The date for oral hearing of these motions was scheduled for December 21, 2010. At issue is the rezoning action by the City of Dawsonville, which ultimately permitted construction of the AMP facility. According to Wingate, “If the Court grants any of the Plaintiffs’ outstanding Motions, then the rezoning action is void and all construction activities at the AMP property must cease”.

During the November 30th proceeding, Wingate stated that the Hamryka’s had already suffered a significant loss in their property’s value. He also referred to their potential loss of business revenue in the training of hunter/jumper horses if clients moved elsewhere over concerns about their animal’s well-being.

Dr. Sue McConnell, a University of Pennsylvania professor and animal behaviorist was called to testify by Timothy Tanner, attorney for Atlanta Motorsports Park. During her testimony she stated, in her professional opinion, the noise from the operation of the AMP facility would not be detrimental to the horses and most horses would likely acclimate to the sounds over time.

During the hearing AMP developer Porter also testified. He was questioned with regard to current construction progress, the investment made to date and the future operation of the AMP facility.

As of November 30th Porter indicated that the AMP facility was 75 percent complete. The current target opening date is March of 2011. This date allows for 35 days of rain. If the rainfall is less, they anticipate opening sooner.

Porter also testified that approximately $4.8 million had been invested as of that date. This included, but was not limited to, expenses involved with tree harvesting, grading, infrastructure, concrete work for the entrance and signage. He also indicated that if work were to cease, five local companies would be adversely impacted. The five companies were not named.

When asked what type of vehicles would be using the facilities and course at Atlanta Motorsports Park, Porter testified that he anticipated about 75% of them would be standard production vehicles most likely of a sports car variety. The remaining 25% would be racing-type vehicles.

This response led to a question as to whether or not racing fuel would be stored at the facility. Porter believed that there would be some racing fuel kept on-site but was unsure as to how much. It was also unclear as to how the fuel would be contained and where on the grounds it would be stored.

A question was posed to Porter about the anticipated hours of operation of Atlanta Motorsports Park. He answered that hours of operation would be similar to that of a regular business day. According to the AMP website they indicate office hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and that “course hours” would be “determined upon scheduling”.

Following that line of questioning, Porter was queried at length about the decibel level monitoring that would need to be maintained. He indicated that the decibel level they must maintain is an average of 60 Dba. According to the stipulations of the rezoning agreement, however, that average is based on “hours of operation”, which will include ‘dead’ hours when the course is not in use.

Tanner, attorney for Atlanta Motorsports Park was contacted with a request for a Smoke Signals interview of Mr. Porter. In his response Tanner declined the interview citing the ongoing litigation. He did however acknowledge our request for a statement. At press time that statement and an additional request for clarification of some of Porter’s testimony had not been received.

Ed. note: Because results of the December 21, 2010 hearing will not be available before this issue goes to press we are not able to give you the Court’s decision. Please check Smoke Signals Online – --for any updates.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Court date set for tomorrow

Email we received this morning from residents opposing the park's development. Thanks for the forward.
Tuesday, December 21st, 10:00 am, the court will hear summary judgment regarding the City of Dawsonville's actions in rezoning the property for the Atlanta Motorsports Park.

This hearing is very important and we're asking those who are able, to show up at the courthouse wearing red.

We often hear defeatist talk: "You can't fight City Hall".

We simply must challenge that mindset, especially when officials abuse their authority for the benefit of a few individuals over the welfare of the larger community.

It's not representation to disregard an entire community by annexing property in the form of a slithering snake into the county to gain access to the property of an influential landowner.

There was nothing admirable about the annexation or the plans these people had.

Now, the papers and supporters of AMP are playing up the transient financial impact the construction AMP has had on tiny local businesses, some, businesses we're all too familiar with due to their previous ties to City government projects, yet the papers have not honestly or sincerely dealt with the type of noise and traffic this business will bring to our area, or the devaluation of property and enjoyment thereof.
A good suggestion for residents would be to patronize businesses and support business people that respect the people who are the backbone of a community -- the residents, and let the others fend for themselves.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Latest from Dawson Community News

Judge allows work to continue at park site

December 8, 2010

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.

Michele Hester

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Smoke Signals (Big Canoe): As legal gears grind forward, so will work on Atlanta Motorsports Park

As legal gears grind forward, so will work on Atlanta Motorsports Park

Judge concedes AMP ‘may well be a nuisance’

(A complete review of the Atlanta Motorsports Park case will be reported in the January Smoke Signals, available December 27, 2010. )

By Lynda Zblewski

On Monday, November 30, 2010, Senior Judge John Girardeau denied a motion for Interlocutory Injunction filed by the Hamryka family (Plaintiff’s in this matter) to halt construction at the AMP site.

Although the judge recognized that the project “may well be a nuisance” there did not appear to be enough evidence of a current nuisance to necessitate an injunction at this time.

In a statement from Richard Wingate, attorney for the Hamryka family he states that “the Court did agree to set all of Plaintiffs’ outstanding Motions for Summary Judgment for oral hearing at the earliest possible date. 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.”

Attorney Wingate further expressed that “Plaintiff’s are confident in the merits of their Motions and believe that the law will prevail in this case.”

There will be a complete review of the AMP case and the current status in the January Smoke Signals, which will be available December 27, 2010.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yesterday's court hearing

The court did not grant an injunction to stop construction of the park and motion of discovery of AMP's financials. However, several issues remain (according to the Hamryka's legal team) that could stop the racetrack... so the lawsuit continues.

There will be plenty of coverage about this ruling in the days ahead and we will post the stories to the blog as we find them.

Check back for the latest coverage and lawsuit updates.