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Thread: Good definition for "race track"

  1. #1
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Good definition for "race track"

    Hey strangers.

    I'm working on a zoning ordinance for a rural township. They have an issue with atv/dirtbike race tracks popping up on AG properties. None of them are businesses (yet), but they are mostly a place where family and friends convene and race around for a good time.

    Some property is even owned by the family who owns Fox Racing (motorsports gear/appearal company) and they throw a big riding day to debut new stuff, but nobody is paying admission so they don't consider it a business activity, and so far its been allowed on AG land. The Board wants to put an end to that.

    Anyway, when I google "race track zoning definitions" I mostly get stories about definitions being challanged. Some say it needs to be a compitition with a start and an end and winners. Some say if they don't charge admission it is just a private recreational use that should be allowed.

    Anybody have a good definition? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Not sure if they're good or not, but...

    From APA's Planners Dictionary:

    racetrack
    • A measured course where animals or machines are entered in competition against one another or against time, including tracks used only in the training of animals. (Kent County, Md.)
    • A facility consisting of a paved roadway used primarily for the sport of automobile racing. A racetrack may include seating, concession areas, suites, and parking facilities, but does not include accessory offices, residences, or retail facilities. This definition shall also include any facility used for driving automobiles under simulated racing or driving conditions (test tracks, “shakedown” tracks, or other similar facilities), but which does not include seating, concession areas, or retail facilities for the general public. (Concord, N.C.)
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Many communities around here classify race tracks either under the "open air business" or "outdoor recreation" defs. I don't think whether money is changing hands or not should be a zoning consideration as any activity should be regulated in accordance with the type of potential impact the land use has. (i.e. motorcycle tracks can be noisy and smelly and have to accommodate parking regardless of whether admission is charged).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I concur with Maister...stay away from the "admission" trigger as you'll be surprised at the convoluted schemes folks will resort to plus as he suggested an ATV/Snowmobile course operated by a park district can be just as onerous as one run by a commercial enterprise

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Our code defines them as follows (they are grouped):

    Sports Assembly. Facilities for spectator-oriented specialized group sports assembly that includes: stadiums and coliseums; arenas and field houses; race tracks (auto and animals); motorcycle racing and drag strips; and other sports that are considered commercial.

    It is regulated this way:

    Commercial or public outdoor athletic facilities, amusement parks and public parks are subject to the provisions of this section.

    (a) Amusement Parks. Outdoor commercial recreation and entertainment facilities including but not limited to theme parks, permanent carnival-type rides, miniature golf, skateboard parks, go-cart and miniature auto tracks are subject to the following:

    (1) Location. On a collector or arterial; not closer than one thousand (1000) feet to a residential zone.

    (2) Minimum Site Area. One acre.

    (3) Site Design Standards.

    (i) Setbacks. All amusement park facilities are to be set back a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet from street frontage property lines and ten (10) feet from all interior lot lines.

    (ii) Landscaping. Twenty-five (25) percent of an amusement park is to be landscaped including all required setbacks which are to be provided with screening plant materials.

    (iii) Fencing. Amusement park sites are to be enclosed by a six (6) foot high fence.

    (b) Outdoor Athletic Facilities. The standards of this subsection apply to commercial, public or membership participant athletic facilities operated as a principal use. These standards do not affect swimming pools, tennis courts or similar facilities when accessory to an individual residence or group of residences and not open to the public or when accessory to a school.


    Interesting enough, we allow mini-bikes, motocycle, dirt bikes or similar uses as a residential accessory use . I think this might help out a lot actually:

    (c) Mini-bike, motorcycle, dirt bike or similar two (2) or more wheel motor vehicle riding is allowed subject to the following limitations:

    (1) No more than two (2) such vehicles shall be operating at the same time.

    (2) Operation is limited to a maximum of two (2) hours in a day.

    (i) This limit applies even if only one (1) such vehicle is being operated.

    (3) Operation is limited to a maximum of eight (8) hours in a week.

    (i) This limit applies even if only one (1) such vehicle is operated.

    (ii) A week shall be measured from Monday through Sunday.

    (4) Notwithstanding the above, no such use shall be allowed prior to noon on Sundays.

    (5) Any violations to the above-mentioned limitations are subject to cost recovery for responses to disturbances, as listed in Section 9-14.14.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    We were in a lawsuit over just this issue.

    The surrounding landowners insisted that we not allow a motorcycle race track in their area for all the items listed above.

    The Planning Commission agreed.

    The landowners had asked for 13 sactioned per year.

    So of course the neighbors thought they had a victory. Then the landowners decided to have friends over. The neighbors of course flew to my office.

    I told them I had no authority to do anything. If I had a CUP then I could put some pressure on them but I did not.

    Our issue was that everyone uses ATV's here to work on their farms.
    There is no limit of people that a landowner can invite to their property.

    They had 80 acres. On black top. It was a fighting mess for almost a year. The landowners finally just got tired of arguing and sold the property, thus ultimately ending the dispute.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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