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    Thread: Racetracks, noise and their local residents - Is there any solution?

    1. Member
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      09-15-2020 12:08 PM #26
      I'm no fan of the NIMBY types, and racetrack closures are frustrating as !%#!.

      But also, no reasonable person needs to run straight pipes. It's not like plenty of categories don't' have a spec or inlet restrictor or something anyway. No reason there can't be a spec muffler that passes some uniform dB test. SCCA already has a max solo level of 100dB; IANAL, but if they made some uniform test (a la NIST or CARB) and level that passes at Laguna Seca and LRP, I think it would be easier to fight any additional noise ordnances that pop up. 100dB is too much, and some person holding a dB meter in a flag station isn't rigorous enough a measurement.

      Basically, we could throw the book at the NIMBY types...if we had a book to throw.

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    3. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 12:11 PM #27
      I bought a house last year. I saw a few interesting ones near a local dirt track. I elected to live elsewhere. Too bad more Karens can't just do that.
      I don't see a solution if the track is in the path of suburban expansion with the inevitable growing population who's happiness and tax money eventually outweighs the tax money from a local track that used to be the only thing around.
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      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    4. Member Harrison.'s Avatar
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      09-15-2020 12:18 PM #28
      My moms uncle opened a dirt track raceway up in 1956 and constantly battled local residents on noise, dust etc. until he passed away in the early 00's. He built it on farmland, it started getting developed in the 90's and soon after complaints started rolling in. The track finally closed and was demolished a few years back because of completely unrelated circumstances. But overall, I agree with your point of view.

      On an unrelated but related note, I work in construction/development and for some stupid ass reason everyone in my city has started building and moving into an industrial district. Most of the industry has since moved to other parts of town and cashed out on their real estate, but two large chicken processing plants remain. Literally every time I'm in the land development and permitting office I hear people bitching about the smell and when is the city going to make them move. They've been there for years, and most of their employees come from the nearby communities and rely on bus transportation. It kills me, people are so stupid.

    5. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 12:20 PM #29
      And an aspect that nobody really talks about...

      If you want to blame anybody for this happening, blame the city and county planning offices for zoning property the way they do. Allowing new residential zoning gives property owners residential rights, which includes a reasonable expectation of residential enjoyment of their property. It's a very unfortunate side effect of urban sprawl.

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      09-15-2020 12:28 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      And an aspect that nobody really talks about...

      If you want to blame anybody for this happening, blame the city and county planning offices for zoning property the way they do. Allowing new residential zoning gives property owners residential rights, which includes a reasonable expectation of residential enjoyment of their property. It's a very unfortunate side effect of urban sprawl.
      In Leesburg, there are new homes being built across the street from a rock quarry -___-

      I don't know if it's still in operation, but it doesn't look abandoned.

    7. Member Egz's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 12:34 PM #31
      I don't understand the residents. When I bought my new house, I had a disclosure stating that there was a rifle range 1 mile from my house, and an Army base 15 miles. (not to mention a train station and an EMS/Fire station across the street. No one can claim they didn't know. There should be zero Fuchs given to the residents when they move to an area with an established track, but sadly, courts always seem to side with them.

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      09-15-2020 12:50 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Egz View Post
      I don't understand the residents. When I bought my new house, I had a disclosure stating that there was a rifle range 1 mile from my house, and an Army base 15 miles. (not to mention a train station and an EMS/Fire station across the street. No one can claim they didn't know. There should be zero Fuchs given to the residents when they move to an area with an established track, but sadly, courts always seem to side with them.
      because cars are evil, duh

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    9. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 01:05 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Egz View Post
      I don't understand the residents. When I bought my new house, I had a disclosure stating that there was a rifle range 1 mile from my house, and an Army base 15 miles. (not to mention a train station and an EMS/Fire station across the street. No one can claim they didn't know. There should be zero Fuchs given to the residents when they move to an area with an established track, but sadly, courts always seem to side with them.
      That's because the law is on their side in most cases. If you don't like that, work to change the law.

      Again, it boils down to zoning property as residential that is close to property zoned as industrial. If a person buys property that is zoned as residential, they have a reasonable expectation that the property can be enjoyed as a residence.

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      09-15-2020 01:28 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      That's because the law is on their side in most cases. If you don't like that, work to change the law.

      Again, it boils down to zoning property as residential that is close to property zoned as industrial. If a person buys property that is zoned as residential, they have a reasonable expectation that the property can be enjoyed as a residence.
      At the same time if they are looking at a property they know FULL WELL is next to an industrial section and they are going to hate the noise, they can simply elect to look elsewhere. It's not that hard!

      Yes, the property might be a nice house at an incredible priced. But that incredible price is DUE to proximity to something not as desirable. Don't move in and then complain about something already there, regardless of zoning.
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    11. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 01:41 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      At the same time if they are looking at a property they know FULL WELL is next to an industrial section and they are going to hate the noise, they can simply elect to look elsewhere. It's not that hard!

      Yes, the property might be a nice house at an incredible priced. But that incredible price is DUE to proximity to something not as desirable. Don't move in and then complain about something already there, regardless of zoning.
      I fully agree with you. When I'm house shopping, I try to go at different times and listen to the sounds/sights/smells that are in the area. It's a due diligence thing for me.

      BUT...

      This isn't legally required, and a new property owner has just as many rights as an existing property owner. Very few things can get "grandfathered" into into compliance these days. It's a complicated situation.

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      09-15-2020 01:52 PM #36
      Quote Originally Posted by Karl_1340 View Post
      People will still move beside the racetrack and complain about the high pitched whining sound.
      Electric race cars generally are around 80 dB. Thats gonna still make people mad.

      We had a race track/drag strip here in Manassas that was around long before I was born. They built a townhouse community and the track moved within a decade. Its now down in Thornburg Va right off 95.

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      09-15-2020 02:02 PM #37
      Quote Originally Posted by Braga_Dub View Post
      In Leesburg, there are new homes being built across the street from a rock quarry -___-

      I don't know if it's still in operation, but it doesn't look abandoned.
      You should take a hard look sometime at how difficult it is to STOP a landowner from doing basically whatever they want to do with their property. The reason all those farms out there are now subdivisions is because is freaking impossible to stop them from a governmental level in Virginia. If you want a history as to why look at Cecil Hylton and Dale City, Va. I ain't typing it up here.

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      09-15-2020 02:11 PM #38
      Quote Originally Posted by Harrison. View Post
      On an unrelated but related note, I work in construction/development and for some stupid ass reason everyone in my city has started building and moving into an industrial district. Most of the industry has since moved to other parts of town and cashed out on their real estate, but two large chicken processing plants remain. Literally every time I'm in the land development and permitting office I hear people bitching about the smell and when is the city going to make them move. They've been there for years, and most of their employees come from the nearby communities and rely on bus transportation. It kills me, people are so stupid.
      They bought what they thought they wanted not what they actually wanted. And instead of taking responsibility for it, clearly it must be someone else's fault.

    15. Member Braga_Dub's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 02:26 PM #39
      Quote Originally Posted by BryanH View Post
      You should take a hard look sometime at how difficult it is to STOP a landowner from doing basically whatever they want to do with their property. The reason all those farms out there are now subdivisions is because is freaking impossible to stop them from a governmental level in Virginia. If you want a history as to why look at Cecil Hylton and Dale City, Va. I ain't typing it up here.
      Looked it up and learned a bit. Thank you!
      Also explains why EVERYTHING in Dale City ends in "Dale"

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      09-15-2020 02:26 PM #40
      When Byron (then Rockford) Dragway first opened in the 60s, nothing was around.

      The track closed for years until it was reopened about 30 years ago. However, a small city had popped up around the track. The track owner played nice by the rules the city laid out saying to be done racing by 6pm and no week nights. But the track was always allowed to race until 11pm on most nights but never put in lights.

      After a few run ins with the law about his races going past 6pm, he took them to court and won. They now have a select few Friday night races and some weekend races go until 10 or 11pm.

      Sadly, he passed away and the current owner wants to sell.
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      09-15-2020 02:52 PM #41
      I also believe its because people will just complain, with or without merit, and tracks are a very easy target. Gotta poop all over everyone else to feel better about yourself kinda deal.

      I have family that lives in the same general area (but not anywhere near) NJMP (which is also right next to an airport). The track closes at something like 7 or 8pm because of noise issues. These people know I go to the track, and I dont think it ever really bothered them, but one day while I was over they tried to convince me about how loud and disruptive it is. We are hanging outside at something like 10pm, and every time some bikers or fart can car blasted down the main road I would get "SEE SEE!!!! ITS SO LOUD, YOU CAN HEAR THEM ALL THE WAY OUT HERE!!!" "The track is closed. There is nothing going on over there, that is just street traffic." "But how do you know! Who is making sure they arent racing right now! Thats so much noise it has to be the race track! Someone needs to do something about it."

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      09-15-2020 03:19 PM #42
      Quote Originally Posted by Braga_Dub View Post
      Looked it up and learned a bit. Thank you!
      Also explains why EVERYTHING in Dale City ends in "Dale"
      Well....there is also this little bit of genius Cecil Hylton got added to VDOTs regulations:http://www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-2ndaryroads.aspHe sued them to redefine a secondary road and just like that VDOT was stuck having to update and upgrade every freaking mule path in the state.

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      09-15-2020 03:36 PM #43
      It's always chuckle worthy. I've seen Laguna Seca battle the encroaching McMansions around the track for years. People whine about noise, but they're the ones that built a house there. Not only do they hate the noise, but they hate the traffic associated with events. Well yes, you moved next to a race track. Both of my cars blow sound during normal events at Laguna too, and they're stock cars.

      There was a housing development that was built at the departure end of a runway at my airport in college. At the time, due to flight training at my school, it was the 28th busiest airport in the US. My school was also a massive source of income for the town. What did the homeowners lobby to do? Shut down the airport.
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      09-15-2020 03:54 PM #44
      The awful thing about this is that it just often takes one very committed squeaky wheel to cause havoc.

      Not car related but noise related, I operated a nightclub in Hollywood on Vine Street near Hollywood Boulevard with an outdoor patio. We were across the street from a live music venue that had been there since 1927. Because of the age, it did not have to meet many newer operating rules because it was "grandfathered in", and it was not fully enclosed. There were many other entertainment clubs, theaters and facilities in the area as well.

      An office building on the corner was converted to condominiums, and once some residents moved it took just two very vocal and selfish couples to wreak havoc for the entire block. ANY music that interfered with their perception of "reasonable" noise through their windows on the eighth and tenth floors resulted in immediate phone calls to police for noise, disturbing the peace, complaints to city council, you name it. Many people in the building aligned with the businesses in the district, pointing out the obvious fact that they *assumed* it would be lively, and that's why they lived there. The older music venue even wound up enclosing the live space to reduce noise, not because it had to, but as an attempt to work with new residents, but the couples would not stop calling and complaining.

      We wound up having the city councilman come to eat on the patio one night, with music playing in the background at below conversation level, and sure enough, the cops came as a result of a noise complaint. When the cops showed up, the couple came down to confront me and allege all sorts of illegal activity and noise from the music on the patio, and I had the pleasure of introducing them to the city councilman who got to see them lying to the cops.

      Right after that we had our lawyer send them a letter threatening a lawsuit for harassment, in addition to a possible felony charge for lying to the cops, and it *had* to go to that level to alleviate the situation.

      Long term, though, the newer residents on the block eventually resulted in no more loud outdoor music. All because people couldn't understand that moving smack in the middle of an entertainment district would mean dealing with, mostly, entertainment.

      Same kind of people that move next door to Fiorano, and complain about loud cars. Gee, what a shock.
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      09-15-2020 04:03 PM #45
      Did what my town did when people built and moved in near the track that has been there for 50 years, they told them to shut up.

      The track I refer to is a 1/8 drag strip and a dirt oval, that host outlaws and flat track motorcycles on the oval.

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      09-15-2020 04:16 PM #46
      Quote Originally Posted by ghost03 View Post
      I'm no fan of the NIMBY types, and racetrack closures are frustrating as !%#!.

      But also, no reasonable person needs to run straight pipes. It's not like plenty of categories don't' have a spec or inlet restrictor or something anyway. No reason there can't be a spec muffler that passes some uniform dB test. SCCA already has a max solo level of 100dB; IANAL, but if they made some uniform test (a la NIST or CARB) and level that passes at Laguna Seca and LRP, I think it would be easier to fight any additional noise ordnances that pop up. 100dB is too much, and some person holding a dB meter in a flag station isn't rigorous enough a measurement.

      Basically, we could throw the book at the NIMBY types...if we had a book to throw.
      As a long time track day driver and someone who deals with vehicle sound quality on a daily basis, I have some insight on this topic..

      I don't believe you can create a spec muffler that passes some uniform dB test for track driving. In the USA there's the SAE J1169 Standard @95dB(A) but that's a stationary vehicle test. Europe has a drive-by test but the speeds and rpm are too low for use in creating a track standard.

      Sound limit testing is difficult to replicate outside of a track venue. There are many variables that can affect the sound test in equipment, microphone distance, track gradient, weather conditions, etc. In other words you'll get different SPL(Sound Pressure Levels) readings at WTLS than Sears Point or SMMSP due to the differences of these variables and the proximity of equipment testing to the vehicles.

      I often get asked for a "Laguna Seca" muffler for a specific vehicle and reply with questions about how and when their vehicle was black-flagged for sound violation. I know some bone-stock vehicles won't pass 93dB(A) open track days at WTLS and have friends who were disappointed to find this out at the track.
      FYI: A simple modification upgrading to a CAI can increase SPL at WOT where the vehicle can exceed posted SPL limits resulting in a black-flag violation. Also pipe diameter can change the frequency of the exhaust note to higher frequencies where dB(A) weighted levels can result in a black-flag violation.

      For reference on sound testing at MRLS, I created this video back in 2012 when we were developing our Spec Miata race exhaust. There was no SPL target goal for a specific track but I was familiar with MRLS sound testing. I was hoping to pass @93dB(A) sound limits and thrilled that we passed the lower 90dB(A) sound limits..
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAMsNAHklbc&t=14s
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      09-15-2020 04:45 PM #47
      I think the only solution is quieter cars or electric cars unfortunately. I will say that back in the mid-00's I was able to attend a TDI Cup race at Lime Rock and several of us commented how eerily quiet the races were.

      The cars were still moving right along and the racing was good, but there was almost no sound compared to the regular race cars that followed. You could also hear the impacts really well when they crashed or made contact.

      As Pnuu mentioned, makes sense to do some research before you commit to buying a place. I'll admit I am guilty of not realizing that our road is a short cut on "dump day" in our town. The traffic is about 10 times a normal day on Wednesday and Saturday when the dump is open and many people are driving significantly higher than the 30mph speed limit.

      One of the neighbors has been complaining about volume and speed. I don't like it either, but it's two days a week and otherwise we have it pretty damn good.

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      09-15-2020 04:56 PM #48
      Quote Originally Posted by alvint_vw View Post
      As a long time track day driver and someone who deals with vehicle sound quality on a daily basis, I have some insight on this topic..

      I don't believe you can create a spec muffler that passes some uniform dB test for track driving. In the USA there's the SAE J1169 Standard @95dB(A) but that's a stationary vehicle test. Europe has a drive-by test but the speeds and rpm are too low for use in creating a track standard.

      Sound limit testing is difficult to replicate outside of a track venue. There are many variables that can affect the sound test in equipment, microphone distance, track gradient, weather conditions, etc. In other words you'll get different SPL(Sound Pressure Levels) readings at WTLS than Sears Point or SMMSP due to the differences of these variables and the proximity of equipment testing to the vehicles.

      I often get asked for a "Laguna Seca" muffler for a specific vehicle and reply with questions about how and when their vehicle was black-flagged for sound violation. I know some bone-stock vehicles won't pass 93dB(A) open track days at WTLS and have friends who were disappointed to find this out at the track.
      FYI: A simple modification upgrading to a CAI can increase SPL at WOT where the vehicle can exceed posted SPL limits resulting in a black-flag violation. Also pipe diameter can change the frequency of the exhaust note to higher frequencies where dB(A) weighted levels can result in a black-flag violation.

      For reference on sound testing at MRLS, I created this video back in 2012 when we were developing our Spec Miata race exhaust. There was no SPL target goal for a specific track but I was familiar with MRLS sound testing. I was hoping to pass @93dB(A) sound limits and thrilled that we passed the lower 90dB(A) sound limits..
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAMsNAHklbc&t=14s

      People don't realize how huge an impact weather can have on sound propagation. I live about 1/2 mile from a major freeway. If it's a warm cloudless humid day or raining, and the wind is from the South (freeway is to my North), I can't hear a thing. That's basically all the time in Summer here. If it's a cool day and the wind is from the North with a low cloud layer (often right after a winter cold front), it can sound like I'm standing right next to it. Certain frequencies can be particularly piercing. For example, a sportbike exhaust can carry for miles under the right conditions while it's rare to hear even very loud cruisers.

      So as applied to a race track: you could have the same car doing the exact same thing on different days an the nearby residents could experience completely different noise levels.

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      09-15-2020 05:11 PM #49
      Many people are bums who do NOTHING remotely interesting in their own lives, so the excitement comes from starting these skirmishes with others. A track is a tangible target that government can be sic'd upon by someone with an ax to grind and without expending many resources. Unlike, say, a highway, where the barrier to entry for bitching and moaning is going to be much higher and necessitate a legal tack.
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      09-15-2020 05:28 PM #50
      Moved to Flemington, NJ in 1986. Town had a little dirt track. Neat hearing the track at night on weekends.

      Paved in 1990. Shut down in 2002. Now a Lowe's.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemington_Speedway

      https://www.flemingtonspeedwayhistoricalsociety.com/

      http://www.speedwayandroadracehistor...-speedway.html

      Lots more and videos online.

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