It is good that the Gordon Park Speedway dirt track will remain closed for the near future.
There are several issues involved with the racetrack that need to be
addressed. First, so that we will be talking about the same thing: Noise is any unwanted sound. Contrary to some people's ideas, the 60 decibel noise level was not arbitrarily chosen; it was selected because there is a considerable body of scientific data proving that high levels of noise is harmful, both physically and mentally. The 60 decibel noise limit is also recommended by OSHA standards. ... Federal Public Law Title 65-Noise Control states: "The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardized
their health or welfare."
Aside from health issues, a second concern is the rights of property owners. Of course, the racetrack owner has the untrammeled right to make vast levels of noise on his property. However, I have the right to say, "I don't want that man's noise on my property." This goes likewise for other local residents. They have their rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property.
The thousand or so local residents also have the right to enjoy their
property without restraint or being exposed to the physical and mental hazards of unwanted racetrack noise.
A good government is expected to make sound decisions, which will satisfy the largest number of its subjects. I ask, should the thousand or so local residents suffer the racetrack noise so that one many may increase his wealth? In my mind, it is better that one should suffer than the many.
The 60-decibel noise level is not an impractical goal. All that is needed is for the owner to put up sound-deadening materials, noise shields, reflectors or other noise-reducing devices. A noise-containment technology exists that can reduce noise to acceptable limits. But the racetrack owner has to want
to do so. Sound abatement is expensive, and prior owners decided against spending the money. They prefer the residents to pay the high cost of the effects of noise.
So, the fight goes on. Ace Elliott began the fight a long time ago. I joined Elliott in 1992, and I will fight racetrack noise until I die, and perhaps a younger man will step up and keep up the fight for the rights of others.
Richard E. Hogue
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