Laguna Seca – Latest Circuit to be Hit by Lawsuit Over Noise

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Sixty-seven years after it was founded, the Laguna Seca circuit is being sued by a group calling itself the Highway 68 Coalition over noise and traffic generated by the track.  The lawsuit, against the track’s owner, Monterey County, as well as the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and Friends of Laguna Seca, the non-profit organisation that signed a long-term concession agreement with the county last July, claims that the track is now used “340 days a year,” leaving the circuit rarely quiet and that the number of races and special events at Laguna Seca have increased “substantially” over the last two years compared with the use from 1974, when the county took over ownership of the track, until 2021.

Today, the racetrack is a major revenue source for the county.  Last January, a press release from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca announced that in 2022 events at the track had resulted in an “impressive total direct spend” of more than $246 million.

The lawsuit asks for a court order to ban racing events and rentals of the track “in excess of the level of use and noise that existed at the time the legal nonconforming use was established … which was in 1985.”  The track is currently in the process of handing over operations to a new non-profit operator, something that was supposed to happen on January 1.  An attorney representing that group told the Monterey County Weekly that the lawsuit has played a part in the delay.

Monterey County officials said the county does not agree with the lawsuit’s allegations.  “It is unfortunate certain individuals have chosen to file a complaint against the County concerning operations at Laguna Seca,” Nicholas M. Pasculli, Monterey County’s communications director, wrote to a local newspaper.  “The County does not recognise any merit to the allegations and expects a favourable legal conclusion.”

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