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Feelings mixed on speedway plan page 2
Feelings mixed on Thornburg raceway

 Jerry Sklar's farm in Thornburg offers panoramic views of fall foliage this time of year. He put a conservation easement on it to ensure the land will never be developed.
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Date published: 10/19/2012


Another area resident who wished to remain anonymous echoed similar thoughts. He said neighbors feel the same way and asked that Spotsylvania officials carefully consider all aspects of the proposal before giving it the green light.

Others who live and work in the area are more enthusiastic.

Brent Elam, who lives in Caroline near the Stonewall Jackson Shrine and commutes past the site daily, believes traffic from the raceway will be mostly during off-peak hours and thinks the facility could provide jobs for his friends and family.

Rusty Foley, a real estate broker trying to sell more than 1,000 acres in the area for the Orrock family, said he thinks the raceway will be good for the region, but is unsure what effect it will have on property values.

Nirav Mehta is all for it. He is a part-owner and general manager of the Quality Inn and Holiday Inn Express at the Thornburg exit and thinks the raceway would give the area in general and his properties specifically a significant boost.

W.J. Vakos & Co., a developer that owns much of the land around the Thornburg interchange, is supporting the tax-generating and jobs-producing project, said President Bill Vakos III.

Spotsylvania has designated that area--the so-called Jackson Gateway--for future office and industrial growth, not residential development. Britt picked the property in part because he didn't foresee large residential communities cropping up around the raceway.

That's what happened in Manassas, where the Old Dominion Speedway has been for more than 60 years. The track is now hemmed in by residents who frequently complain about the noise. Britt is under contract to sell the 40-acre Manassas site to a home developer. He believes that noise from I-95 will drown out some of the sounds coming from the proposed Thornburg raceway.

Charlie Payne, an attorney for Britt, is working on submitting the rezoning application to Spotsylvania officials. In the coming months, public hearings will be held on the matter in front of the county's Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, offering all sides an opportunity to voice their opinions in front of elected officials.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com

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