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Old 01-14-2021, 09:36 AM   #1
Whoboy580
 
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Save Atco Dragway

The time has come to voice our concerns and save Atco Dragway. Please stay respectful and professional.

Beginning Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 at 7:00 PM, the public can access and participate in the meeting by visiting the following link:

https://zoom.us/j/8021658857?pwd=a29...9NeXpYdm1FZz09

​Meeting ID: [ 802 165 8857 ]
Password: [ 474199 ]
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:12 AM   #2
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I am interested in what is going on; I plan to race at Atco this year and hopefully for yeas to come.

however, it would really help if you told us more about the situation. I have heard a variety of different things about Atco and its current situation from different people. You seem to have a vested interest in this, so would you mind explaining to us what the situation is and what exactly you mean by "save atco"
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:40 AM   #3
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Hey Dave-

This is a scheduled township zoom meeting on 1/20 to:
I believe have a discussion and community feedback meeting in regards to proposed sale of and change of use of land that track sits upon.

I’m planning on joining in and see what transpires.

Joe
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:00 AM   #4
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yup, I wrote it on a post-it note on my desk.
If I am not busy at that time, I might tune in.
thanks!
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:24 AM   #5
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As I understand, much of the discussion and angle for the community pushing back to not allow the process to continue is revolving around the environmental impact of it becoming a salvage lot. Fluids that are supposed to have been drained, won't be, will leak into the ground contaminating the ground/water etc.
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:39 AM   #6
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Damn , I Grew Up pretty much at ATCO, This is sad to read, I had no idea that they were in trouble??
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:07 AM   #7
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i imagine the future use would generate a lot more daily traffic than Atco does, especially trucks. Locals can't like that either.

But its obvious the new owners dont want to operate a track, so I suspect if this falls through something else will come up. At least they didn't pull an e-town and stop racing just to find out they can't ever restart it after the deal collapses. lol
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:45 PM   #8
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Business is business
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:20 PM   #9
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Unfortunately this is likely going to keep continuing. Drag racing is declining, the cost to operate a track continues to go up, and Covid hurt allot!

And the cost to own a race car isn’t getting any cheaper. Summit series is going 1/8 just to help racers. 1/8 mile is easier of parts (doesn’t help the engine builders, you get twice the life out of your parts) .

There were tracks closed all last year and likely won’t reopen this year. Owners aren’t going to be paying for a track they can’t afford to just sit not making any money.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:26 PM   #10
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I also did hear about the summit series changing form 1/4 mile to 1/8th mile. jeez
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:03 PM   #11
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Meeting re-scheduled to February 17, 7pm. The initial zoom allowance was only 100 participants, which filled up quickly and many were not able to log in. They upped it to 500 but were afraid many were unaware after the initial lock out.

BTW, I agree “business is business” BUT we are dealing with The NJ Pinelands Commission (to help preserve the pine forests in central/southern NJ) with this deal here.

The track was built in 1959 and opened in 1960: approximately 14 years BEFORE the advent of the Pinelands Commission.

The auto auction co. (IAA) is looking for a “change of use”. My point of contention is: the track was there before the commission and if that or any company would want to build their business today (or even a drag strip) on that land, be it wooded or farmland, they would probably not be allowed to do so under existing Pinelands rules; so why allow them to “change of use” now? The track was there prior and it should be a track or go back to its natural state; nothing else.

Again, my 2 cents. Joe
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Old 02-16-2021, 11:45 AM   #12
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Is there a new link for tomorrow's meeting?
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Old 02-16-2021, 09:47 PM   #13
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Found this;

I’ll try to get more info on Wednesday.
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Old 02-18-2021, 01:36 PM   #14
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Was anyone able to attend? Know the outcome?
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:49 PM   #15
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Atco

This was posted on another forum.

I listened in for the last couple of hours. A lot of legal speak including liberally interpreting the use of the term "used car lot" vs junkyard. We all know what the majority of cars stored there are, totaled with salvageable titles. A couple of legitimate concerns were brought up including potential leakage(including overnight when, according to the IAA legal rep, there would be no employees present), and groundwater contamination. Another interesting point that was brought up was if employees needed to be OSHA Hazwoper trained(I am currently doing my annual 8 Hr refresher) in order to clean up any potential spills. Fire suppression in case of a large-scale fire was also mentioned, with the nearest hydrant over 2 miles away according to one commenter. As was preliminary ground sampling as well as environmental impacts to a local endangered tree frog and vegetation. The most contentious point of the night was the last one when one of the land use board members began grilling them on their application and how only a certain % of land in each lot may be changed and why they were attempting to do more than that. I may have the wording in that last part wrong, but that was the gist of it. In my assessment, the IAA team was not very well prepared for some of the questionings, stumbling around with some George Carlin-esque double talk, or just flat out not knowing the answer. It sure seemed to me that the land use guy is not a fan of this deal. Regardless, it went to 11 PM and it was adjourned until 3/1 at 7 PM. The public has not had a chance to comment yet and I hope that they make some impactful statements that have a negative effect on this deal.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:24 PM   #16
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I joined the zoom meeting. The prospective buyer laid out their plans for an auto auction facility (IAA) and answered questions from local officials. There’s another zoom meeting in early March, to continue answering questions from the public.

It seems the Pinelands Commission has already signed off on the proposal, so if the local twp. approves the change of use; it’s looks like it’s done as a drag strip.

It’s business and I imagine there’s a lot of money involved but I’m disappointed that the current owner, who is a long time drag racer, chose to sell to a company that will shut down the track.

He could have, IMHO, been a steward, an advocate for a sport he was involved in for 30+ years and maybe take less money but have the track live on; instead the sport suffers an immense loss. He had the power, even if he no longer wanted to operate the track, to preserve drag racing for current & future generations and chose not to.

This track is/was the THE go-to for the tri-state area; many New Jerseyans, New Yorkers and Eastern Pennsylvanians called this track, home.

Joe
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:40 AM   #17
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I am surprised the Pinelands Commission has signed off.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:07 AM   #18
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This really bumms me out.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:42 PM   #19
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I sat in on the meeting. I didn't get the impression the Pinelands signed off on this given some of the questioning and comments from the Board "Good luck getting that past the Pinelands".

The Board members had a good deal of concern and feedback spanning environmental concerns to zoning/planning interpretations of their local statute. Putting my tinfoil hat on, the Board member comments may have been for a bit of "showmanship" so if this goes through, they can say they put up a fight given they live in the area but blame it on their laws/statutes that wouldn't allow them to vote "No".

Next meeting is March 1st at 7PM and apparently the public will get a chance to be heard. The meeting ran until 11PM and the Board still had questions so we will see how it goes.

The chat was pretty wild and some Bounce House Pals made it clear they enjoy some good trolling.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:18 PM   #20
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It may also be possible that the county still has to get involved in regards to traffic flow etc. but it sounded like Pinelands was on board, at least with the “initial” application.

The Pinelands may still have more to review, when/if Twp. approves, not sure of the process, but this was posted from the December 2020 Waterford Twp. Environmental Commision Meeting:

“The Pinelands Commission approved the application for the Atco Dragway and it may be on the planning board’s agenda this week, although it will likely require a few meetings to take action on the application. Some local residents continue to lobby against the sale but it’s a private sale and the Township has no authority to deny a completed application because we may not like the type of business. The Mayor confirmed that the application has met the Pinelands Commission objections and the approval is no longer “inconsistent”. However, the Township will need to make sure that the new business will not cause any environmental damage, for example, from leaking automobile fluids.”

I’m also very surprised Pinelands didn’t seemingly put up more resistance, this is a big change of use with many possible ramifications to the environment etc.

I’m hoping the Pinelands has more work to do with reviewing this matter, again, not knowing how the process works.

Joe

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Old 03-01-2021, 09:56 AM   #21
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Some news from the FB Group, “Save the NJ Dragstrip”

I had an earlier post from the Waterford Twp. Environmental Commission in regards to PL initial approval; apparently this was a false statement on behalf of the WTEC. See below.

As to date on 3/1/3021 there is still an Inconsistent Certificate of Filing same state as of November 6th 2020.
Email Response from the Commission to me ((Greg Ericsen, FB group admin.)) on 3/1/2021:

“In response to your February 25, 2021 email, the application is currently inconsistent as referenced in the November 6, 2020 Inconsistent Certificate of Filing that was issued. Issuance of an Inconsistent Certificate of Filing allows an applicant to proceed to obtain all necessary permits and approvals required for the proposed development. As I previously indicated, in most instances, an applicant will resolve any outstanding inconsistencies during the local approval process.

The Commission has not received any permits or approvals regarding the proposed development subject of this application.”

So it does seem the Pinelands Commission still has to review this matter, if the Twp. does, in fact, approve.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:51 AM   #22
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Any updates?

It is crazy and incredibly sad to see drag racing slowly die before our eyes.
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Old 06-27-2021, 08:42 PM   #23
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There continues to be Twp. meetings; next one is scheduled for July 19. There has been a lot of pushback from residents and others. Also, IAA was unaware of many Twp. regulations in regards to storage of vehicles (Twp. says all fuel must be drained from stored vehicles), that threw IAA for a loop (they don’t normally do this) and they need “more time” to address these concerns.

We are, of course, all hoping this gets voted down eventually.
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