By Jesse Wood
On Monday, the appeal challenging the legality of Mountain View Speedway’s operation at the High Country Fairgrounds under the Town of Boone’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) was dismissed by the Boone Board of Adjustment in a 6-1 vote, according to Brenda Henson, clerk for the Boone Board of Adjustment.
Last night’s meeting was a continuation of an appeal that was first held in late March, when Planning Director Bill Bailey reversed course and said that the Mountain View Speedway couldn’t legally operate under the town’s UDO.
The Mountain View Speedway had previously been closed for the past 17 years before starting up again last year off of Roby Greene Road – to the detriment of nearby residents who appealed to the town last summer because of impacts to their “quality of life.”
Bailey previously interpreted the speedway operation as a grandfathered use and based on this changing interpretation, the Town of Boone issued a cease-and-desist order to speedway operators on April 11 and motioned for the dismissal of the appeal by the Watauga Citizens for Local Control, a local chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, which represented concerned residents.
Paul Capua, attorney for the Watauga Citizens for Local Control, “indicated that his client was in support of the motion,” according to the Watauga Democrat.
However, attorney Nathan Miller, who is representing the Mountain View Speedway, issued a release on Tuesday morning that stated the dismissal was an “outcome that Mountain View Speedway had been hoping for and is a victory for race fans.”
While Miller stated that the issue of the Board of Adjustment appeal is resolved after the dismissal, the town now wants to “pick another fight.”
“Only during the hearing did it become apparent that Director Bailey changed his mind. Whether he was pressured by his employers or not to change his mind we may never know. The precedent this sets should frighten every business owner in Boone as now the Planning Department can be ordered to change their minds depending on the political whims of the Boone Town Council and shut down a business that has been operating with the prior approval of the Town,” Miller said in a statement. “Now the town has decided to do a little procedural trick to switch the burden of proof from the neighborhood to Mountain View Speedway. The Town’s decision is not surprising given their history of anti-business behavior.”
Miller maintained that the Mountain View Speedway will remain open as it fights the cease-and-desist order.
The Mountain View Speedway announced that next Saturday’s races will continue as scheduled on Saturday, April 23, at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday afternoon, Town Manager John Ward issued this statement to HCPress.com:
“The Town issued notice to the speedway operators last week that their use was unlawful because they had not obtained a permit or Certificate of Compliance (as required under the Town’s UDO) prior to proceeding with operation of a new speedway at the race track. The Town will be issuing a Notice of Violation under the UDO imminently. If the unlawful use continues, the Town will consider all legal enforcement mechanisms available to it under the UDO and state law.”