Tuesday, June 17, 2008
sponsored by Lee's Home Furnishings Outlet

Noise causes noise in chambers

Council to make track pay for late nights

Send a link to a friend

[June 17, 2008]  Phones at Lincoln aldermen's homes were ringing late one Sunday night last month. It was after 11 p.m. and upset citizens who wanted to get some sleep were calling. They were residents living near the Lincoln Speedway; the races were still going on and it was past 11 p.m.

DonutsAn amended ordinance was brought to a vote Monday evening by the Lincoln City Council and passed. It includes penalties on the track owners for races running past the set curfew times.

Lincoln aldermen heard complaints on the matter during their council session on May 27. As a result of the numerous complaints, most associated with the particular night in May, a special ordinance committee meeting was called to discuss the matter further.

The Lincoln Speedway was established when "special use" was added to the C-2 zoning. It allows the use of the fairgrounds track for racing in accordance with regulations set by the city council.

Council members could not recall having any written agreements with the business owners on the yearly changing details.


Each year the owners have come before the council to negotiate terms for the next season. A number of changes have taken place over the years. This year and last year they were granted their set season with a choice between Saturday or Sunday events, with the only limit that there would be no Sunday races when there was school the next day. The cutoff times would be 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 p.m. on Sundays.

The sale of beer was added last year.

Last year the owners were granted one 30-minute extension to be used to finish the races if there were unavoidable disruptions. This year the owners requested and received three 30-minute extensions to be used as needed this season. It was not clarified if more than one extension might be used on one night.

The proposed ordinance that was read last week says in short that $1,000 would be assessed for every 15 minutes that there is racetrack activity past the agreed curfew times.


When the matter was opened for discussion Monday evening, Alderman Benny Huskins said he wished to clarify his position on the matter. "I'm not against the races," he said. "What I'm against is when the guys come up here and say 11 o'clock is 11 o'clock; [if]10:30, then it's 10:30." They should stay with the hours they asked for.

He also recalled that the track owners said they would do something about the dust, but it is still a problem. "What I'm against is when somebody gives you their word and doesn't stick by it," he said.

Huskins said he doesn't get calls about it on Saturday nights when they race. Other aldermen agreed that it is the Sunday race nights when people are complaining.

Some aldermen even said that they don't hear any complaints, but that they hear positive comments.

Marty Neitzel said: "I am not against the racetrack either. This ordinance is not against the racetrack. It's actually for the citizens of Lincoln; they asked for it."

She added that she didn't think the racetrack owners would allow what happened recently to happen again, but she felt that it is important to accommodate both sides.

[to top of second column]


City attorney Bill Bates said he received some questions about the ordinance. He said it applies to the racetrack at the fairgrounds. It does not apply to any other noise in the community.

The amended ordinance applies to any business conducting car racing at the fairgrounds, and includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Track racing

  • Motorcar racing

  • Demonstration laps

  • Courtesy laps

  • Or any other activity past the set curfew time

Penalty amounts are $1,000 for each 15-minute increment past the set curfew time.

The amendment passed 8-2, with Dave Armbrust and Jonie Tibbs opposed.

At the end of the evening, Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs said she had conducted an economic impact study of the races and wished to share her findings with the council.

Discussion ensued on whether it was allowable, or might even be the council's preference, to wait until the next meeting, which triggered a lengthy discussion that often became irate.

Tibbs was finally permitted to speak. She said she visited 25-30 west-side and downtown businesses and all said that the races were good for their businesses.


Past related articles


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor