Home News Local News Noise at motor speedway results in citizens’ petition

Noise at motor speedway results in citizens’ petition

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The Alien Motor Speedway owner disagrees with claims that racing occurs until 1 a.m., as a citizens’ petition states. (Daily Record File Photo)

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[Note: This post has been updated to correct a last name.]

Representatives say they will work to comply with required shutdown time

A speedway on the southeast side of the city has upset quite a few neighbors, leading more than a hundred to file a petition with the city of Roswell asking that the racing operations be closed until the noise problems are solved.

Representatives of Alien Motor Speedway at 1003 S. Atkinson Ave. appeared at a Feb. 23 meeting of the city of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission and said they would make every effort to meet the requirement to shut down activity by 11 p.m., a stipulation that is part of the conditional use permit granted by the commission in August 2016 that allows the business to hold truck, tractor, car and other motor vehicle races and events at the site.

According to the group’s website and social media pages, Alien Motor Speedway plans to start its 2021 season March 20, with practice sessions on March 13.

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City Attorney Parker Patterson brought the matter to commission members, asking whether they wanted to hold a public hearing to consider withdrawing the permit. Patterson’s actions were prompted by a petition with 169 signatures asking either the Roswell City Council or the Planning and Zoning Commission to take action to close the racetrack until “proper noise buffers” are in place.

Patterson said that apparently prior attempts to contact the owners about noise complaints were not successful. He also said the revocation of the permit might then be grounds for the city to revoke the business license.

The commission members chose not to schedule the hearing, but they cautioned speedway owner Steve Therrien and business representative Larry Marker about adhering to the permit requirements.

“I know you guys put a tremendous amount of money and time into this, and there are a lot of citizens that look forward to using it and going to it. It is something you can do outside,” said Jesse McDaniel.

He said he thinks the business is good for the city and doesn’t want the commission to reverse its decision. But he also said the city probably will feel compelled to act if significant numbers of people continue to complain.

“My advice as a commissioner is to start sticking to the 11 o’clock timeframe very, very strictly,” he said.

Located between East Bland Street to the north and East McGaffey Street to the south, the property is zoned industrial, but it is also not far from residences and schools. The stipulation of the 11 p.m. end time was made to assuage citizens’ concerns about noise back in 2016 when what had been an event site transformed to become a speedway, commissioners said.

A couple of members said they thought the problem was about enforcement. Commission member Steve Henderson was among those who said he didn’t want to revoke the permit, but that he wanted the 11 p.m. cut-off time enforced.

Therrien denied that races last until 1 a.m. He said races typically do end by 11 p.m., although vehicles might still be loaded onto trailers into the early morning hours. He also said that law enforcement officers are notified if any activities are running late.

Marker said that sometimes wrecks, muddy conditions or other factors can cause unexpected delays, but he said the business would work hard to comply with the 11 p.m. end time.

The citizens’ petition stated that sometimes the loud noises occurred as late as 1 a.m., noting that was the case during the 2020 Labor Day weekend, when for several nights, the “neighborhood’s peace and quiet” was interrupted.

“As surrounding homeowners and/or residents, we the undersigned have been negatively impacted by the Roswell Planning and Zoning 2016 decision, allowing the Alien Speedway to reopen without proper noise buffering,” the petition states.

A concluding section states, “We petition the City Council and/or Plan Commission to review this issue and rescind the business operating permit until adequate noise buffering has been installed. We also petition the City Council and/or Plan Commission to revisit the number of days per week they can operate.”

Commission Chair David Storey asked the city staff to keep commission members informed about what occurs at the speedway during the March races.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.