County steers to­ward go-kart tracks

The Covington News - - LOCAL - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

Go-kart tracks will now be al­lowed in New­ton County, and an in­ter­ested busi­ness­man con­tin­ues to ex­plore pur­chas­ing land to open a lo­cal fa­cil­ity.

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers voted last week to al­low go-kart tracks in the county with a con­di­tional use per­mit, a move that opens the door for Mon­roe res­i­dent Dan Moore to build a fa­cil­ity.

Moore came to the board in April be­cause, he said, he had found an ideal spot near In­ter­state 20 in western New­ton County, but the county had out­lawed all race tracks in 2011 to stop a pro­posed drag strip near So­cial Cir­cle that faced sig­nif­i­cant op­po­si­tion from sur­round­ing res­i­dents.

The zon­ing or­di­nance change al­lows go-kart fa­cil­i­ties in gen­eral com­mer­cial, high­way com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial zon­ings with a con­di­tional use per­mit, which must be is­sued by the board be­fore an owner is al­lowed to build a go-kart fa­cil­ity.

Any out­door fa­cil­ity must:

• Be on a lot at least 5 acres in size

• Have a smooth track, such as as­phalt or con­crete (gravel is not al­lowed)

• Have its track at least 75 feet from any res­i­den­tially-zoned prop­erty line • Have min­i­mum buf­fers • Al­low only one-cylin­der en­gines

• Mea­sure sound at all times and not al­low karts ex­ceed­ing 95 deci­bels

The board could also re­quire a fa­cil­ity to have fenc­ing for noise and aes­thetic con­cerns.

In­door fa­cil­i­ties will have sim­i­lar re­quire­ments, though with­out re­stric­tions for noise or the size of en­gines.

Al­co­hol sales won’t be al­lowed, but food and drink sales will be al­lowed.

At the pub­lic hear­ing last week, res­i­dent Dennis Tay­lor said he sup­ported the zon­ing or­di­nance change be­cause the county needs more jobs and recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties. He said he hoped the county would do ev­ery­thing it could to ac­quire more busi­nesses.

Moore said Tues­day he has been im­pressed with the county’s work to cre­ate an or­di­nance to al­low gokart tracks.

“Now it’s up to me to ap­ply for a con­di­tional use per­mit,” Moore said Tues­day, not­ing he hopes to be in a po­si­tion to ask the county Plan­ning Com­mis­sion for a per­mit in Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber.

He con­tin­ues to look at lo­cat­ing the fa­cil­ity in New­ton and is con­sid­er­ing three dif­fer­ent spots.

Moore pre­vi­ously said he wants to build a 3/4mile, 27-foot-wide as­phalt track with mul­ti­ple con­fig­u­ra­tions, and in­vest be­tween $1 mil­lion and $1.5 mil­lion to­tal in a fa­cil­ity that would also sell go-karts and al­low the pub­lic to store go-karts in on-site garages. He pre­vi­ously said he was look­ing for in­vestors. The core cus­tomer would be busi­nesses that could rent out the fa­cil­ity for en­ter­tain­ment, team-build­ing or other events, but the course would also be open to the pub­lic. He said Tues­day he’s also hop­ing to have an off-road track for ra­dio-con­trolled cars, which is a grow­ing form of en­ter­tain­ment around the coun­try.

Metro Creative/the Cov­ing­ton News

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