Town of Boone Dismisses Civil Suit Against Speedway in Temporary, Cost-Saving Maneuver

Published Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm
race-track

Images from a Saturday night of racing in April. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

In a temporary, cost-saving maneuver, the Town of Boone recently dismissed its civil lawsuit against the Mountain View Speedway, according to a statement Boone Town Manager John Ward provided to High Country Radio News.

“The town has dismissed the law suit involving Mountain View Speedway as a temporary measure to avoid unnecessary legal expenses while the matter is being heard through the Board of Adjustment process. The Board of Adjustment reconvenes on July 27th to hear the Speedway’s appeal of the notice of violation issued by the town,” Ward’s statement reads. “Once the Board of Adjustment process is completed, all options – including refiling the civil suit – will be on the table as we move forward with addressing this issue.”

Ward didn’t immediately respond to High Country Press on Thursday.

Conflict between the Mountain View Speedway and nearby residents began last year, when the Mountain View Speedway opened back up at the High Country Fairgrounds off of Roby Greene Road after a 17-year hiatus.

Prior to opening, Boone Planning Director Bill Bailey told a raceway promoter that racing was a grandfathered use in the fairgrounds, which is located in the town’s ETJ.

Soon after racing started up again, a Locust Hill resident, Annette Reeves, complained about the noise of the racetrack to both Watauga County Board of Commissioners and the Boone Town Council. Last summer, the Boone Town Council meetings were regularly attended by raceway supporters, who feel that racing is just harmless, family-friendly fun on a Saturday evening, and residents who feel their quality of life is negatively affected by the action at the nearby raceway.

Two groups – the Watauga Citizens for Local Control (WCLC) and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL)– then filed an appeal to the Boone Board of Adjustment regarding the legality of the raceway under town code. At a Boone Board of Adjustment hearing earlier this spring, Bailey reversed his interpretation and stated that racing was not allowed under the town’s ordinances.

The town subsequently issued a cease-and-desist order to the raceway operators, Mike and Cyndi Budka, in April, and the appeal by WCLC and BREDL was dismissed.

In May, the Town of Boone filed a complaint regarding the enforcement of the cease-and-desist order in Watauga County Superior Court. (Attorney Nathan Miller, who is representing the raceway, said that motions on this complaint will likely be heard in July.)

The Budkas and the Keller Brothers Inc., which own the property, responded by appealing the cease-and-desist order with the Boone Board of Adjustment, which meets in a couple weeks as Ward noted in his statement.

Racing continues during the Boone Board of Adjustment appeal process.

Read more about the conflict between neighbors and the speedway here.

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