Connecticut Supreme Court To Decide Fate of Racing at Lime Rock Park
It's been a four year battle at Lime Rock Park that culminates with a State Supreme Court hearing this week on whether Sunday racing should or should not be allowed at the popular race track.
Here's what's been going on over the last four years: According to newstimes.com, Skip Barber, the owner of Lime Rock Park, the towns Planning and Zoning Commission, and a citizens council have been embroiled in a legal battle over whether racing should be allowed on Sundays, and whether the town of Salisbury improperly limited the days and hours of racing.
In 2015, the town approved regulations to continue the Sunday ban, however Barber came up with the idea to just stage races on two or three Sundays a year in exchange for more noise regulations. Then in July 2018, a Superior Court judge ruled to allow racing on Sunday, however the zoning commission and the citizens council are now appealing the Sunday races.
To understand why the battle has been continuing for four years, you have to go back and look at what's been happening since the park opened in 1957. The town of Salisbury zoning regulations were established after the track first opened, however the town passed noise legislation and a ban on Sunday racing in 1959.
For years, the battle continued back and forth heading to court to seek a reversal in the noise and Sunday racing rulings in 1966 and in 1988.
Skip Barber, who took over as the track owner in 1983, was able to work around the no-Sundays racing ban by holding professional events on Fridays and Saturdays, but told newstimes.com that
Racing has changed a lot since 1959, you could do half-hour races on Fridays and Saturdays, but now the races are much longer and you can’t get as many in in one day. The track is threatened to lose major races because we can’t give them enough time, we’re dealing with changing circumstances. Now it’s necessary to race on Sunday.
Barber also contends that the weekend racing brings in tons of racing fans to the area, who spend money in the town. He also added:
Without the professional racing, the track would only be used by car clubs who hold driver education programs, so you still get all the noise without the economic benefit.
If the citizens council and the zoning commission win their appeal, overturning his right to race on Sunday, it could mean the end of professional racing at the track. Barber said if that happens he’ll stop hosting races altogether.