The issue now goes to township trustees.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HARTFORD -- The township zoning commission has given the red flag to Sharon Speedway's plans to diversify its business.
Tuesday, the township zoning commission unanimously rejected the speedway owners' request for a zone change that would have allowed T-shirt shops, restaurants and additional types of events at the dirt track.
"Obviously the public didn't want it," said commission vice-chairwoman Janet Marsh-Lloyd, referring to the outcry against the zone change proposal at a previous public hearing.
The racetrack has been able to operate in an area zoned residential because it was there before zoning was introduced to Hartford, officials say.
What they want
At previous meetings, speedway owners have said they want to change the zoning to commercial for several reasons. The zone change would allow them to open a restaurant, sell souvenirs and use the track for events like carnivals and fairs.
"We don't want any more noise, we don't want any more traffic," said Donna Pavlik, a resident who circulated petitions opposing the zone change. "When I moved out here, it was a nice, quiet little community and the racetrack wasn't nearly as busy as it is now."
Other resident concerns include road damage from heavy traffic, dirt kicked from the track and the possibility of auto accidents caused by drunk track spectators, township trustee Randy Smith said.
The speedway does not have an alcohol license. However, it could apply for one if it were zoned commercial.
Atty. Tom Nader, who represents speedway owners, could not be reached this morning.
The zoning commission decision will now go to township trustees for approval. Reversing the decision would take a unanimous decision of the three-person board.
Speedway owners also have the option of pursuing the zone change through a ballot issue, officials said.
The zoning commission made its decision without any input from the Trumbull County Planning Commission. The planning commission discussed the issue but delayed making a recommendation after members failed to come to an agreement.