Updated: Debate continues over ordinance that could impact local speedway

Updated: Monday, February 11 2013, 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Debate continues over ordinance that could impact local speedway  story image
KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The Kalamazoo Speedway has been running car races in Alamo Township for more than 60 years, but now a new noise ordinance in the township is threatening to put the brakes on the business.

Monday night’s township board meeting was postponed since too large of a crowd showed up and the meeting had to be postponed until a later time.

The exact date of the new meeting has not been set, but officials tell Newschannel 3 that it should be held in the next two weeks and will probably take place at Alamo Elementary.

Newschannel 3 will update this story as that information becomes available.

The ordinance would put the allowable decibel level at 82, that is lower than what a garbage truck produces and even other traffic on the road, so it would clearly be impossible for a racetrack to stay under that level.

Ryan Bishop lives within sight of the Kalamazoo Speedway, but says he barely notices the noise.

“I love it,” said Bishop. “We enjoy it, we go to a few races each season.”

Bishop opposes the new ordinance.

“There’s a few people in the township that want the noise ordinance, there’s bunch that don’t,” said Bishop. “If the people voted on this and not the board, I don’t think it would pass.”

“We do not want a business in the community not to prosper, that’s our number one goal,” said Alamo Township supervisor Lou Conti. “We are very concerned about all the businesses in the community, they are a business in the community.”

Conti says he doesn’t want to see the speedway shut down, but hopes it will be toned down. He says he still hopes to negotiate a solution.

Kalamazoo Speedway owner Gary Howe says the track is usually between 85 and 92 decibels, which means the two sides aren’t far apart.

“We are a nuisance business, we make some noise like any football stadium or outdoor sporting event,” said Howe.

The debate is even getting national attention with race fans commenting on Facebook and Twitter. Even reigning NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski tweeted on Monday that “If the city were to force the track to be shut down, it would be a huge loss for auto-racing & the community.”

Even if the ordinance passes at Monday night’s meeting, township officials say they would be willing to write up an exemption for the track if they can negotiate terms that all sides can live with. Updated: Debate continues over ordinance that could impact local speedway
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