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First community meeting for raceway planned in Thornburg
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BY JEFF BRANSCOME
God put 160 acres in Thornburg to build a racetrack.
At least that's what Steve Britt--who hopes to build the Dominion Raceway on the northeast corner of the Thornburg exit off Interstate 95--told more than 100 people at a community meeting Thursday evening.
"It just wants to be a racetrack," he said to a packed conference room at the Ramada Inn off U.S. 1 in Spotsylvania County. "I don't know what else to tell you."
The current owner of the land even sponsored a car at the Old Dominion Speedway in the Manassas area, said Britt, who owns that racetrack.
Most of the audience, which included people from Spotsylvania, Louisa and King George counties--and from as far away as Waynesboro, which has a racetrack of its own--seemed to agree, applauding comments supportive of the raceway.
But Matt Jordan, who lives on North Roxbury Mill Road, wasn't sold. He called himself a neighbor of the proposed raceway and, during a question-and-answer session, asked what raceway officials would do to protect nearby property values.
Attorney Charlie Payne, who represents the raceway, told him the proposal is consistent with the county's plans for commercial development in that area. He said he hoped that property values would increase.
"That doesn't answer my question," Jordan shot back. He added later: "What are you doing about the sound? I'd like to see a 40-foot sound wall around the thing."
Britt, who called I-95 a "natural sound barrier," told Jordan he didn't think he would be impacted. Several people in the audience added that racing organizations have noise limits for cars.
A few other people voiced traffic concerns.
Raceway officials wouldn't provide specifics on potential road improvements, but said that information would be included in their application to the county for a rezoning and special-use permit. They hope to submit the application next week.
"I think priority one is to make sure I-95 doesn't get bogged down," said John Riley, a traffic engineer with a raceway consultant.
Britt said he hopes to have a building permit in April of next year and open the raceway the following spring.
"We really want to put this on the fast track, no pun intended," Payne said.