Fair association, county closer on agreement

Noise study will continue at speedway, in surrounding neighborhoods
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The Placer County Fair Association will continue to study noise throughout the racing season at All American Speedway in Roseville as it grows closer to signing a new operating agreement with the county.

“I think the effort is to proceed as quickly as we can with other things that are not at issue,” Joan Bartosik, CEO of the Placer County Fair & Events Center, said, pointing to the overall operation of the grounds, including the fair and other activities.

What is at issue is noise emanating from the racetrack on Saturday nights and other days and nights. Residents near the speedway have filed complaints, and a Placer County Grand Jury report, released Feb. 1, claimed improvements made at the speedway in 2007 were never approved by the county and alleged the modifications were made so it could qualify for NASCAR-sanctioned events under the guise of “safety and maintenance improvements.”

The Board of Supervisors heard a presentation of the fairgrounds from fair officials, and it heard public comment from racing fans on both sides of the noise debate at its meeting May 24.

“The noise, if you heard some of the testimony, it’s a complicated issue,” said Mary Dietrich, assistant director for the Placer Co. Department of Facilities Services.

The recent effort by the Placer County Fair Association to reduce noise has included posting “Resident Parking Only” signs in neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds and replacing and redirecting the track speakers.

The track is open for testing and tuning predominately on Friday, with Thursdays available for private testing and tuning. Track officials continue to explore using FM band communications in the pits.

Fair officials also have sought to end the Saturday races no later than 10 p.m. One program, featuring the debut of a new traveling Late Model Series, had its main event cut short because of its late run, but otherwise, the races have been finishing earlier than 10 p.m., according to Bartosik.

“We’re proceeding in good faith in how we expect the final agreement to read,” she said. “We’re just going to be ahead of the curve. We have been ending pretty early.”

J.C. Brennan & Associates is doing the noise study, which has a target day of Saturday and will include sound readings during the next NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race in October, Bartosik said.

“That will take a little longer throughout the season and, in fact, the county will also enter into a contract with a sound consultant to address environmental concerns,” she said.

Said Dietrich: “Their association, in contracting the noise study, is going down a good path to try and get some measurements. We all have a hope there are other measures that can be taken that benefit the community and allow the racing to continue. From the county’s perspective, we’re trying to find a point where the long-existing speedway and fairgrounds can continue to operate and lead to a peaceful co-existence.”