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The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will hold a joint meeting on May 28 to speed approval of a drag strip and race-track that will change the face of Spotsylvania. To our recollection, the only other joint meeting in the past 25 years was held in 1999 to expedite construction of the Capital One building. Like the drag strip developers, its proponents touted it as a major source of employment for the future. It closed less than five years later.
Why the rush? There are thousands of ways that the racetrack can negatively impact this county. A careful hearing by the planning commission first can give county residents a chance to ask for changes that might soften some of those impacts. The Board of Supervisors would have an opportunity to take those concerns into consideration before voting. This is the way things are usually done in the county.
If we take shortcuts, when the noise, the dirt, the choking traffic, and lawsuits occur, the board will have no cover. There's a reason no community wants these racetracks within their borders--and this drag strip has three schools and 4,000 homes within five miles.
Its time to exert due diligence. This racetrack is moving from Prince William County. Look at the police reports and community complaints from that county. Determine if there were documented economic benefits, not pie-in-the-sky promises. Take time to do an environmental impact study and try to spare historic resources in the area, including the Stonewall Jackson shrine.
If racetracks are so popular why can't they be located in open fields, instead of destroying the homes and well-being of families living in populated areas? Two things stood out in the developer's plans that hadn't been mentioned before: He is planning for a Spotsylvania Welcome Center to be located inside the track, and he is asking to erect a neon sign visible from Interstate 95.