POLK COUNTY, Fla. — In Polk County, dozens of neighbors made some noise of their own Tuesday after concerns that a proposed private racetrack in their rural neighborhood might be created.
The Polk County Planning Commission had narrowly approved the plan in October by a 4-3 vote, but people living in the area appealed to the county commission by asking them to kill the proposed project.
The private track project is what Gary Young calls his dream.
He bought land in rural Polk County nine months ago, aiming to build a private two-mile track where he and friends could race their private race cars.
“Not to say you can’t hear the car. I’m sure you can,” Young said responding to noise concerns. “But it’s well within the decibels of someone, anywhere.”
Young got initial approval, in part, by making all kinds of concessions. The track would only operate during daytime hours. There would also be no lights and it's only for the private use of the track.
Still, dozens of people appealed to the full county commission asking them to overturn the land's use.
Those living in the county said they were concerned about noise and pollution nearby Walk in Water Lake.
“And why should one millionaire have his dream come true and ruined all of ours? We were all there first,” Richard Haas said, a person at the meeting said.
Young’s lawyer pointed out existing noise sources already in the area. There’s a military explosive testing site, a nearby gun range, truck traffic, airboats and other watercraft.
But after several hours of comments and debate, Polk commissioners slammed the brakes on Young’s vehicular vision.
“Whatever you do to make this a very quiet, serene location, with race cars going around it, is not gonna work,” Polk County Commissioner Rick Wilson said.
There was no immediate word from Young or his attorney about what they plan to do next.
Records show Young bought the property in March for close to $3 million.
“I wouldn’t want Mr. Young’s dream to be the neighbors’ nightmare,” Commissioner George Lindsey said.