Mahoning Township officials hope a pact can be ironed out with the owner of the Mahoning Valley Speedway.
After an executive session, supervisors on Wednesday voted to negotiate an agreement with the owner of the racetrack.
Last month, supervisors held a special meeting at the racetrack. They brought a DJ to the track to re-create the noise from a car audio show held at the track last year.
After last June’s Car Meet & Voceteo & Chipeo event, the township zoning officer gave the track a notice of violation, which was appealed.
While two hearings were held, the zoning hearing board never rendered a decision. Instead, supervisors asked them to hold off so the two sides could negotiate, provided loud car shows were put on hold.
Last month, supervisors walked around the speedway parking lot with neighboring property owners as Layne “The Doc” Roberts of Colossal Radio played songs from his public address system.
The zoning violation said that the Car Meet & Voceteo & Chipeo wasn’t permitted under the variances obtained for the property.
Board Chairman Robert Slaw told residents that he wants the track to follow the variances that were put in place regardless of whether they are holding a car show or a race.
The track’s attorney, Ron Corkery, said that the car audio event won’t happen again, but that car and truck shows generate much-needed revenue for the track.
Township solicitor Tom Nanovic and Supervisor Deb McGowan met recently with owner Calogero Carlino.
Nanovic said last month that Carlino indicated that he would still have car and truck shows, but was not going to have sound shows.
Slaw said if he’s able to hear the music where he lives, then Lehigh Valley Hospital and its patients will hear it when the facility opens.
Nanovic said it was McGowan’s idea to meet with a DJ at the racetrack, and noted how the sound dissipated as they moved farther away.
In November, the township’s zoning hearing board upheld two of the three zoning violations against Carlino before a standing room crowd at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Building.
The board ruled that using a portion of the building for an apartment (not a permitted use in the C-1 zoning district), and the Car Meet & Voceteo & Chipeo held at the track are not permitted under the variances obtained for the property.
The third violation, construction of a racetrack for radio-controlled cars or trucks without applying/receiving permit, was not upheld.
Several township residents who live near the racetrack testified to the extremely loud music that was played at the track events, sometimes going on all day long and into the evening.
Others testified on behalf of Carlino and the racetrack, defending the track and the events being held there.
The biggest issue is the car shows with the music.
Carlino testified, “It’s a good income for us, with the food and the service we provide at the track. It’s great money for us.”
He indicated that for the past two years, they have only had about 20 races per year, which does not bring in much money.
Carlino added, “With the property taxes and amusement taxes we have to pay, I don’t think we would survive.”
He is requesting a use variance for the track.