Caldwell County may ease limits on racing

May. 29, 2013 @ 07:44 AM

The county is considering changes to an ordinance limiting the auto racing in Caldwell County, the subject of a lawsuit that was filed against the county two years ago.

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss Monday whether to rescind the limit on the number of permits that may be issued to noncommercial auto racing operators. Currently, the county allows only three racing events by each commercial and noncommercial organizer, and prohibits races from November to February.

If passed, the changes likely would not affect a lawsuit filed in June 2011 by Kim and Antonio Casola, the owners of Tri-County Motor Speedway, challenging the ordinance passed in December 2009 that set the limits. Commissioners cited “excessively loud and disturbing noises” heard by residents near the track as grounds for the restrictions.

Tri-County Motor Speedway, stretching four-tenths of a mile, was built in the mid-1980s. It staged races weekly, excluding Sundays, as the only established racetrack in the county. The owners still organize races there on an occasional basis.

In court documents, the Casolas called the county's actions “whimsical,” claiming the county did not adequately notify them of the meeting where the commissioners adopted the ordinance, which the Casolas said "destroys the business" of the racetrack.

Attorneys for both sides declined to comment, citing the sensitivity of the pending lawsuit.

A trial is tentatively scheduled in Caldwell Superior Court for August.