09/05/12  Region 1 ABATE will hold their annual Summer’s End Party September 14th through the 16th at a new location this year.  Plymouth Speedway on 12th Road will host the 2nd largest fundraiser for region 1after nearly an hour of discussion and the favorable vote of the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals Monday night.

An application was made for a variance of use by Thunder Motor Sports/Ed Kennedy and Pam McCoy representing Marshall County ABATE for a motorcycle event at the speedway with overnight camping.  The variance was necessary due to the fact that the speedway is located in a rural residential zoning.

Pam McCoy told members of the BZA that Summer’s End is “basically a membership drive.”  They anticipate 900 people with 50 to 100 tents, campers and RV’s weather dependant.  Their flyers boast bands, food, motorcycles, tattoo contest, bike show and fun with a party that starts at noon on Friday and ends at noon on Sunday.

McCoy said she personally talked with all but one of the adjoining neighbors and at that home she left information and her phone number with the grandparents.

BZA members had several questions including sanitation.  McCoy explained that the speedway will have their restroom facilities locked and LSTS Port-A-Pots will be used.  On security her answer was that 30 ABATE trained people will be on the site.  When asked if they have arrest powers McCoy said no.  She continued by explaining if there are problems they separate the parties and try to resolve the issue. If the problems continue they are escorted to the gate and removed from the property.

Two neighbors from the South Point Subdivision spoke of their concerns.  Kent Kimple said, “The speedway has been a good neighbor by and large.”  He talked about being able to hear the racing and music occasionally but “with no disruptions.”  He has done some internet searches of ABATE rallies and said, “It appears they are like Alice’s Restaurant, you can get anything you want.”  He was concerned about the noise and increased traffic.

Mark Owen who lives about 500 yards across the field from the speedway said he hears the race track and even sits on the deck to watch their fireworks.  He commented that he wasn’t sure he would attend the BZA meeting until he heard a couple Harley motorcycles drive by and he was concerned about the noise.

Next door neighbor Al Bustamante said he has attended the Summer’s End parties for 10 years. He spoke of the improvements made at the speedway by Irish Saunders and Ed Kennedy.   He was in favor of the event and said there should be no issue of camping because they have had overnight camping at the track for years.

Summer’s End has been happening in Marshall County for 32 year with the last 9 years being held on the Rick Vermillion property on 14B Road.  When asked why the rally wasn’t there McCoy said, “With his handicap he just can’t take care of it anymore.”

There was a discussion amongst board members on what the variance was really for…the rally and or the camping.  Bill Neal, the city’s planning director explained that camping is not allowed in a residential zoning district.  He said the raceway is a non-conforming preexisting use and grandfathered in.

Board member Phil Scott made a motion to deny the variance request but the motion died for a lack of a second.

Board member Keith Wickens then motioned to approve the variance request.  This motion was seconded by Allan Selge.  The vote was 3 to 1 with Scott voting against.