SHARON SPEEDWAY Commission puts zone change on hold

The planning commissioners want more time to think.
WARREN -- The Trumbull County Planning Commission postponed making a recommendation on a zone change that would allow more events to be held at Sharon Speedway.
If a measure to zone the speedway property for commercial use is approved, racetrack organizers could open a retail store or restaurant and use the track for events besides car racing.
That's precisely the fear of some Hartford Township residents, who worry that events like rock concerts could bring more noise and people to the area.
"The feeling of the people about the racetrack is that they accept it, but they don't want to increase it," said commission chairman Lewis Kostoff, who lives in Hartford. "If you open it up to commercial use, then you got to open it up to everything."
But zoning commission member Ed Beil said he favored recommending the change, because it is consistent with the township's long-range plans.
Wants more time
Other members of the commission said they wanted more time to think about the proposal. A subcommittee of the planning commission had also failed to come to agreement.
The Hartford Zoning Commission is expected to re-convene at meeting Sept. 27 to form its recommendation on the zone change, which was proposed by racetrack owners.
The measure would then come to township trustees for a vote. Agreement by all three trustees would be necessary to overturn a recommendation of the township zoning commission.
The race track has been able to operate in an area zoned residential because it was there before zoning was introduced to Hartford, officials say.
There have not been any nuisance complaints about the racetrack in the last three years, said Atty. Tom Nader, who represents speedway owners.
"The most burdensome use for the property is what is there now," Nader said. "Whatever is done to the property, whether it is a restaurant or retail store, is less burdensome than what is there now."
Residents at the planning commission meeting reiterated Kostoff's feelings.
"It will open it up to whatever they want to do," said Donna Pavlik, who has collected about 70 petitions against the zone change. "Whatever they want to do, they will be able to do it."

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