Residents complain about track noise

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2018

For the second time in just a few months, the Escambia County Commission heard Monday about the loudness of a new race track in the Pollard-McCall area.

The Tri-County Speedway opened earlier this year and is located at the intersection of Hwy. 31 and Old Hwy. 31.

Even before the track opened in April, Bill Harris, who lives across the road from the track voiced his concerns about noise pollution.

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He asked for a noise ordinance in the county.

At the February meeting, commissioners cited there was limited action that could be taken at the local level.

Commissioner Larry White said that in 2005, a statewide referendum was passed and granted county commissions limited authority to pass ordinances involving seven issues.

Those issues were weed abatement, illegal dumping, criminal littering, junkyards, noise abatement, unsanitary sewage abatement and pollution abatement.

Then, the commission only passed ordinances for three – criminal littering, illegal dumping and abatement.

At Monday’s commission meeting, Harris, Dennis Fuqua and John Robert Fountain all expressed their concerns and frustrations over the noise from the race track.

Fuqua said the majority of the license plates are Baldwin County and Florida plates.

“If I decide to have a party and we are loud, the sheriff’s office is going to come and tell me to take it inside,” he said. “This is no different.”

Fuqua invited the county commission to his home on the next race night to see what he is experiencing.

All said the races were going past 12:30 a.m., on Sunday morning and said that after the races, music blared over the speaker system.

“This is not about racing,” Fuqua said. “I would love for NASCAR to build a track at 113 in Flomaton, and y’all would, too.”

County commissioners wish to help with the issue, but with limited powers, the race track owner could only be fined a $150, if the county adopted the noise ordinance.

“We want to help, but the authority granted to us is like have a 5-gallon bucket to put out a house fire,” Commissioner David Stokes said.

Sheriff Grover Smith agreed to go talk to the owner and see if a compromise could be reached.

Smith asked the trio to talk and let him know what a reasonable time for the races to stop would be before he sought to speak with the owner.

Smith also said that he has contacted the state attorney general’s office to try to find a mechanism so that they can move forward.

There was talk about seeing if the race track had a license.

If there is a concession stand, there must be a license in place.

The Brewton Standard reached out to Tri-County Speedway owner Chuck Day.

Day said that he has tried to work with residents around the track from day one.

“We just have to do what we have to do,” he said.