Focus:Tamworth Seeks Injunction Against Track Construction

Tamworth — December 13, 2004 — A group of Tamworth residents have asked the Rockingham County Superior Court to issue an injunction that would prevent Derry, NH-based Club Motorsports Inc (CMI) from starting construction until it has applied for and obtained several local permits. CMI wants to build a 250-acre private race track for fast cars and motorcycles on the north slope of Mt. Whittier in Tamworth.

The “petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief” was filed by lawyers for Focus: Tamworth on behalf of forty-six Tamworth residents and taxpayers. The documents were delivered to the court on Friday, December 10.

In the filing, the group of citizens notes that CMI has not applied for permits under Tamworth’s Wetlands Ordinance, Hazardous Waste Ordinance or Subdivision Ordinance, all of which clearly apply to the development.

The Tamworth Wetlands Ordinance, adopted in March of 1980, specifically forbids all but a few specific activities in town wetlands without a Special Use Permit issued by the Tamworth Planning Board, and requires a 25-foot buffer zone between wetlands and any construction. CMI’s plans indicate that many of the structures it proposes to build would violate the buffer zone requirement, and the proposed development does not fall within any of the permitted uses under the ordinance. That means CMI will need a Special Use Permit in order to proceed with its development as planned.

Tamworth’s Hazardous Waste Ordinance, adopted in March of 1981, requires a town vote at a special or regular Town Meeting to authorize any activities involving hazardous waste. Many of the products used by high-performance cars and motorcycles are highly toxic: antifreeze, gear lube, motor oil, hydraulic oil, plus a variety of other oils and solvents. CMI has said that it plans to store and handle these substances on the site.

The Subdivision Ordinance, adopted in May of 1976 and amended in October of 1990, requires the approval of the Planning Board when a land parcel is divided for any purpose. CMI’s proposed development requires the use of nine acres of land to be leased from Glen Davis of Lakes Region Fire Apparatus.

In June, CMI submitted an application for a Special Use Permit under the Tamworth Wetlands Ordinance. But two days before the scheduled Planning Board hearing, CMI suddenly withdrew its application, saying that “new information” indicated that the application “exceeds the permitting needs of the project.” Despite repeated requests, CMI has offered no further explanation of its withdrawal. Nor has it re-applied for a Special Use Permit.

Compliance with all local ordinances was a feature of the Racetrack Ordinance that Tamworth Town Meeting voters passed by an 84 percent majority in March 2004. But CMI-sponsored legislation has exempted this type of development from the Racetrack Ordinance.

“It was CMI’s history of avoiding local control that led us to take this step,” said Focus: Tamworth spokesperson Charles Greenhalgh. “The Hazardous Waste, Wetlands and Subdivision ordinances were designed to protect Tamworth, and we want to be sure that they are fully enforced.”

The court could issue a preliminary injunction in a few weeks. A ruling on the need for the permits, and a decision to order CMI to apply for and obtain them, could take several months. There are likely to be hearings at several points in the process.

CMI has received two conditional permits from the NH Department of Environmental Services; some major conditions of those permits have not yet been met. Focus: Tamworth has appealed the DES wetlands dredge-and-fill permit; a public hearing on that appeal before the NH Wetlands Council is expected early in 2005. A third permit from DES and one from the Army Corps of Engineers are under consideration, with a decision expected at any time.

CMI recently announced that a shareholder, Lloyd Dahmen, a venture capitalist from Massachusetts, has replaced Stephan Condodemetraky as president. Another shareholder, Andrzej Brzezinski, a Massachusetts high-tech executive, is now chairman of the board. Condodemetraky formerly held both positions.

Focus: Tamworth is a coalition of local residents who support careful and fair regulations that protect Tamworth’s economic and natural resources. More information on Focus: Tamworth is available at www.focustamworth.org.

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