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Things are far from smooth, even though NCM's Motorsports Park is busy constructing a $400,000 sound reduction berm. Here is the last incident on this issue, and unfortunately things are escalating.

CorvetteBlogger said:
NCM May Go to Court After Board Orders Fines, Closure of the Motorsports Park Over Noise

The Holley Performance Products LS Fest at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park can go on as slated this weekend, according to a ruling by the Warren County Code Enforcement Board.

But after that event, the park must shut down events until a sound study is finished and the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County has reviewed and approved a new motorsports park development plan.

The code enforcement board also levied a $100 a day fine against the park until it is in compliance with county zoning regulations.

Those ruling were the result of a four-hour-long meeting Wednesday during which the code enforcement board tweaked a recommendation by Steve Hunter, executive director of the Planning Commission, who issued a $100 fine to the park Aug. 20.

The ruling pleased Clark Circle residents, who have complained for months about the high noise levels created by events at the park.

“One more (event) will not make a difference,” said Walter McDavitt, 463 Clark Circle, expressing satisfaction with Wednesday’s ruling. “Some days (the noise) is OK and other days it is too loud.”

NCM officials weren’t as thrilled.

The park’s lead attorney Charles “Buzz” English Jr., said Thursday the NCM is “seriously” considering an appeal of the code enforcement board’s decision, adding that the park is “not simply trying to get through the track season.”

Some 130,000 people have visited the park, which opened in August 2014 across I-65 from the museum.

English wasn’t able to attend the meeting Wednesday because he was on vacation, and assistant attorney Kyle Roby unsuccessfully requested a continuance to allow English to be there.

Hunter defended the $100 ticket, leading the code enforcement board through more than 150 pages of a PowerPoint presentation outlining the case since 2007. He claims the NCM has not met the conditions originally set by the Planning Commission for the development, noting that it is not in zoning compliance and has no legal right to build on the property or operate anything on it.

“Clearly the property owner has no right to be on the property today or open its doors in 2014,” Hunter said. “We asked them to stop, and they didn’t stop.”

Park officials have said they will build a 1,600-foot berm along part of the Clark Circle property to try and cut noise levels, but Hunter said Wednesday he is worried that the berm won’t reduce noise below the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s standard of 65 decibels.

Museum director Wendell Strode, during the meeting, said he had been told by Hunter to build the berm to get the park into compliance. Strode pointed out that the berm will cost $400,000 and the museum doesn’t want to build it if it won’t do any good to reduce noise.

CorvetteBlogger.com reached out to Katie Frassinelli at the National Corvette Museum today regarding Wednesday evening’s Code Enforcement Board meeting and she provided the following statement:

"Last night, 9/9/15, the Code Enforcement Board held a hearing on the National Corvette Museum’s (NCM) appeal of the citation issued by the Planning Commission (PC). The decision of the Code Enforcement Board (CEB) was to uphold the citation regarding the opening of the Motorsports Park without a certificate of occupancy.

The Planning Commission Director then submitted his recommendation of what should be required of the NCM to address the issues in the citation. The CEB approved some of the PC recommendations. At this time the Museum has not received a copy of the specific action that was approved.

However, the main action taken was that the NCM is to cease construction immediately and cease future events after the Holley LS Fest this weekend until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission.

After discussion with our attorney, there is also some question as to whether the CEB has the authority to require us to cease operations. At this time, we plan to appeal the CEB decision to District Court. This will allow us to continue construction, continue with our scheduled events and continue working with all parties to resolve the issues. We are not trying to be defiant, but canceling events causes harm to our customers, their registrants and our reputation as a venue for recreational motorsports, tourism and educational events.

Appealing the ruling will also allow us to continue the sound study that was requested by the Planning Commission and approved by the Clark Circle residents. The agreed on timeline for that included data collection through this weekend’s event. The sound company will then analyze the data collected, finalize modeling and move toward specific options that could be implemented to effectively reduce the noise levels.

The noise continues to be a major emphasis for the NCM and NCM MSP. We are committed to resolving this.

The noise abatement berm being built at the Clark Circle property line will reduce the level of noise to some extent and will serve as a visual barrier. We, along with the sound engineers, have maintained that this is not the most effective sound mitigation. However, this was all being done at the direction of and a mandate from the Planning Commission. Construction is not something that can be started and stopped immediately. The construction is within two weeks of substantial completion. From talking with our contractor today, there are other issues that should be factored into any decision to stop construction (soil erosion, ponds, mosquitoes, weather, etc.). It is our position that it only makes sense to continue the construction of the noise abatement berm.

We have approximately 15 events scheduled for the remainder of the year. We have contracts in place that we intend to honor. Most of those contracts involve other contracts that are also in place (hotel rooms, emergency services, corner workers, etc.). A few of the events scheduled over the next few weeks include an automotive magazine photoshoot, a Chamber business event, Kentucky tourism industry event, a teen driver training school, educational driving schools, and a veteran’s recognition event. Many of the events at the Motorsports Park do not generate a lot of noise. Forcing the cancellation of these events would have a negative economic impact on our community."

We will continue to work toward a solution as we strive to be a good neighbor.
NCM May Go to Court After Board Orders Fines, Closure of the Motorsports Park Over Noise - Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle
 

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Have some mixed feelings about this whole situation, can empathize with NCM's position, money, time, the enormous investment, the corporate community involvement, the positive endeavors the track is promoting, however, there's the "I was there first" residential community that now has to endure the noise. Albeit that it may not be that much, but it wasn't there before. I'm sure the home owners signed off on it, of course that was with no noise, now that it's complete, apparently a different story now. Sticky situation to say the least. :confused:
 

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I don't get it. I was a participant in a two day DE at the Motorsports Park last week and we could barely hear the cars on track when sitting in the open air rest area next to the starting line. Granted, most of the cars were street legal at that DE, but many were Z06's and Z51's with the pipes wide open in track mode. The bull dozers were hard at work constructing dirt berms the whole time. Perhaps some events generate more noise, but legal measures should wait until the construction is completed in a few weeks and new sound readings can be recorded. My personal opinion is that the neighbors are thinking that a financial settlement is possible from a deep pockets organization. I also feel that the neighborhood should be careful what they wish for as they will benefit greatly from these events. I saw 100 guys and gals spending a lot of money locally around the track area for fuel, food, and lodging.
 

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The NCM is supposed to conduct a sound study in order to determine the best methods for reducing the noise levels. How can they complete a noise study if they aren't having events? I can't believe how ridiculous things are getting in this situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
NCM is currently spending $400,000 to erect a huge, earthen sound berm to block noise, and is only a week or two from completing this berm (and there are other measures NCM is committed to undertaking if/as necessary). Having spent years in sound measuring and deadening matters, nothing is better than a large, dense solid mass. And now the county wants NCM to stop construction of the sound berm mid-stream.

Think this is going to get even uglier in the near future, but have faith this will be resolved within the next six months to a year, however with many interim legal steps. I believe that the final outcome will be the Motorsports Park remaining in existence. Though between now and then, "UGLY" will not begin to describe what is unfortunately upcoming.
 

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The NCM, as part of the building permit process, agreed to build a noise barrier. They failed to do so, for reasons that I haven't seen adequately explained. The community is well within its rights to insist that NCM do what it said it was going to do. The NCM doesn't have a lot of high moral ground to stand on here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
NCM is busy building that noise barrier right now today, even though the county told them to stop. Keep on building it. Kept on building other noise reduction measures.
 

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The NCM, as part of the building permit process, agreed to build a noise barrier. They failed to do so, for reasons that I haven't seen adequately explained. The community is well within its rights to insist that NCM do what it said it was going to do. The NCM doesn't have a lot of high moral ground to stand on here.
In 2013, before construction on the track facility began, the NCM had a sound study performed by experienced acoustical engineers. Their report indicated that track operations would not cause a “substantial increase” in the noise as compared to the existing noise from I-65. As a result, the NCM did not feel that it was necessary to build a berm or noise abatement structure. The Binding Elements for the property indicate that the intent of the Binding Element was that the property not create a “substantial increase” in the noise. That said, the NCM has had some events over the last year that were racing events that cause a higher level of noise. This was not modeled in the original sound study. Outside of that, the NCM believes that all of their normal events are not causing a substantial increase in the noise.

The NCM had received only a handful of noise complaints prior to May 18, 2015. It appears that the neighbors had complained to local government officials, but the NCM was not made aware of that until May 18. As a result, the NCM hosted a neighborhood meeting on June 9 to help them understand the problem better. As a result, they hired a new, reputable, acoustic engineering company. This company met with them and with representatives of the neighborhood. They have been monitoring the noise 24/7 and are developing a sound abatement design to keep the NCM within the substantial increase levels based on the worst case racing event. The neighborhood representatives agreed at that time that the NCM did not need to close the park, even though they had received a notice of violation. They agreed that the NCM needed to take sound readings and develop the acoustical plan to resolve the problem, and that could not be done if they did not have track events to measure. The NCM expects to have the final report in mid September and plans to build the necessary sound abatement structures.

The NCM and Wendell Strode are genuine in their desire to be good neighbors and to address and resolve the noise issues for the neighbors. It is unfortunate that a handful of people have taken measures to try and tarnish the NCM's good name. The NCM is going to do their best to appease the neighbors, but as we all know, that is sometimes impossible.

As an update to this week's developments, the NCM plans to appeal the Code Enforcement Board's decision to District Court. This will allow the NCM to continue construction, continue with their scheduled events and continue working with all parties to resolve the issues. The NCM is not trying to be defiant, but canceling events causes harm to their customers, their customer's registrants and the NCM's reputation as a venue for recreational motorsports, tourism and educational events. Appealing the ruling will also allow the NCM to continue the sound study that was requested by the Planning Commission and approved by the Clark Circle residents. The agreed on timeline for that included data collection through this weekend’s event. The sound company will then analyze the data collected, finalize modeling and move toward specific options that could be implemented to effectively reduce the noise levels. The noise continues to be a major emphasis for the NCM and NCM MSP and they are committed to resolving this.

The Motorsports Park has approximately 15 events scheduled for the remainder of the year. They have contracts in place that they intend to honor. Most of those contracts involve other contracts that are also in place (hotel rooms, emergency services, corner workers, etc.). A few of the events scheduled over the next few weeks include an automotive magazine photoshoot, a Chamber business event, Kentucky tourism industry event, a teen driver training school, educational driving schools, and a veteran’s recognition event. Many of the events at the Motorsports Park do not generate a lot of noise. Forcing the cancellation of these events would have a negative economic impact on their community.

The bottom line is that the NCM is committed to working toward a solution as they strive to be a good neighbor.
 

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I been following this closely since I became aware of it.

The problem was the track was built next to the existing subdivision. They were there first.
But the sound studies that were assessed at the start didn't expect the noise to be an issue. Well I agree with that to a point.
But if full racing cars are allowed to run there, I can see the noise being a issue. Just go to a NASCAR race and it is loud.
But there never will be 43 full race cars running full tilt on this track ever.

This is far from over, and only the lawyers will make out over it. I feel the track will stay open, but the cost of the abatement will continue to rise.
They should build the 20' wall structures that line the I-94 corridor around the Indiana / Illinois state line.
The same thing is in place in Rochester MN, where US-52 runs though the city limits. Man, it does stop the noise of the daily traffic. I been on both sides of that wall. Except the subbies won't like it, as it will block their view.
They want their cake and to be able to eat it too, at the expense of the track, and the NCM.
It's going to take deep pockets to resolve this, as I see it nobody is the winner here.......but the lawyers.
 

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Here's an article from a few weeks ago that provides a little background: Enforcement officer fines Motorsports Park for noise | News | bgdailynews.com

This is obviously a sensitive subject here and we all want the NCM MSP to be a success. I don't doubt for a moment that The NCM and Wendell Strode are genuine in their desire to be good neighbors and to address and resolve the noise issues for the neighbors. Likewise, I have not read anything to suggest the neighborhood people are also not genuine with good intentions.

However, I'm with Bob here regarding a question that I've never seen fully answered. As a part of the approval process an agreement between the county and MSP was reached in February, 2014, that required certain noise abatement structures be in place before the track was to open. The MSP opened 11 months later in January, 2015, without the agreed upon structures and apparently without an occupancy permit. And even today, as I understand the facts, none of the previously agreed upon structures have been built.

So, yes, now the MSP is working hard on sound abatement with different structures, but I have yet to read an explanation from the MSP for their non-compliance with the sound abatement plan they agreed to in Feb 2014. They may have very good reasons and I don't want to suggest anyone is acting in bad faith.

In my professional past, I did some real estate development work and I can promise that had the MSP been in full compliance with the Feb 2014 agreement when they opened with an occupancy permit, they would be in a very different legal posture today even if they were still dealing with subsequent legal issues arising from track noise.

This is going to be a very expensive process and a real uphill battle for the NCM MSP.
 

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However, I'm with Bob here regarding a question that I've never seen fully answered. As a part of the approval process an agreement between the county and MSP was reached in February, 2014, that required certain noise abatement structures be in place before the track was to open. The MSP opened 11 months later in January, 2015, without the agreed upon structures and apparently without an occupancy permit. And even today, as I understand the facts, none of the previously agreed upon structures have been built.

So, yes, now the MSP is working hard on sound abatement with different structures, but I have yet to read an explanation from the MSP for their non-compliance with the sound abatement plan they agreed to in Feb 2014. They may have very good reasons and I don't want to suggest anyone is acting in bad faith.
Here's the best presentation of the issue that I've seen to date: http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/bgdailynews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/4e/04e8b8b6-37c1-11e5-a40e-87426c4c3bcf/55bbd7b3823d0.pdf.pdf
 

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It's interesting that on 9/22 the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has an event scheduled at the NCM Motorsports Park.
 

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The $100 a day fine would be $36,500 a year fine. If they could stay open that would be good for about 12 years vs the $400,000 that might not work anyhow.
 
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