More About The Laguna Seca Noise Lawsuit Settlement

More About The Laguna Seca Noise Lawsuit Settlement

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Details of the settlement in the lawsuit brought by Highway 68 Coalition against the County of Monterey and Friends of Laguna Seca have been revealed.

In 2023, the County of Monterey entered into a long-term Concession Agreement with local non-profit Friends of Laguna Seca (FLS) for the operation of the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, which includes WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Under the terms of the deal, FLS will take over the commercial dealings for the track for a period as long as 50 years while bearing the cost of maintaining the property and making capital improvements and sharing a portion of its revenues with the County of Monterey. A&D Narigi, meanwhile, will continue to manage and operate the track under the stewardship of FLS.

But in December 2023, the Highway 68 Coalition, (a longstanding group of local residents and landowners), sued the County of Monterey and FLS claiming the County was wrong to approve the new Concession Agreement because, among other things, a state-mandated environmental study to consider the impact of noise produced by increasing activity at the racetrack had not been carried out.

Highway 68 Coalition asked the court to vacate the new Concession Agreement and order the County of Monterey and FLS to “cease and desist” from allowing activity at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to produce noise levels “in excess of the level of use and noise that existed at the time…when the applicable zoning was established” in 1985.

A hearing on the case was scheduled to be held June 20, 2024, but both parties to the litigation have agreed to a settlement that will end the lawsuit and allow operations to continue at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

In the settlement, FLS agrees that within 30 days of taking operational control of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca it will contract a third-party “acoustical consultant” to record ambient noise levels in the area around the track during periods of inactivity, during major motorsports events, and during track rental events and “identify feasible mitigation measures to reduce sound levels from the levels detected.” FLS also agrees to spend up to $2 million (including the cost of the noise study) to complete one or all of the proposed noise mitigation measures within five years. The County of Monterey also agreed to pay the legal costs of Highway 68 Coalition, which amounted to $75,000.

In return, Highway 68 Coalition agreed to file a dismissal of its lawsuit with the court.

FLS has not yet taken operational control of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but will “soon,” FLS President Ross Merrill said during a press conference on Wednesday.

A link to a copy of the settlement document can be seen below.

 

Hwy 68 v County Settlement Agreement Executed

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