Laguna Seca Raceway Sued For Noise And Traffic Complaints

Motorsport / Comments

Monterey County is facing litigation from people who chose to live near the historic track, opened nearly 70 years ago.

A handful of residents along Highway 68 are suing Monterey County for excessive noise and traffic at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Laguna Seca circuit was opened in 1957, and residents knew the track would be graced by loud cars, so what changed? According to the group called Highway 68 Coalition, the number of races and events has increased "substantially" over the last two years compared with the period from 1974 until 2021.

"These increases include but are not limited to more racetrack event days, higher permitted noise levels, additional track rental days with intensified noise in excess of 100 dB, increased traffic, inadequate water supply and water quality, inadequate sewage disposal, and expansion of the camping grounds," reads the lawsuit.

And there's more.

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The lawsuit also takes issue with the track allowing rentals to happen "now 340 days a year," according to Richard Rosenthal, one of the attorneys representing the disgruntled residents. "It's a facility that's used almost every day," adds the attorney, complaining that allowing different organizations to rent the track creates "a nuisance kind of noise," whatever that means.

Again, the track existed long before most residents in the area were even born. But assuming they have a leg to stand on, what do they want to come of this? Well, it wants Monterey County to ban any events that exceed the noise limits established in 1985. As you can imagine, Monterey County doesn't see things the same way.

Track days remain a major revenue source for the county, with 2022 events seeing more than $246 million in total direct spending, according to track management.

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The County's communications director, Nicholas M. Pasculli, told SFGATE that Monterey "does not recognize any merit to the allegations and expects a favorable conclusion."

Monterey County's long-term concession agreement with the non-profit organization Friends of Laguna Seca would be impacted if the group were to win, but Monterey County says the scheduled activities and events for 2024 won't be affected by the lawsuit, including IMSA and its very loud machines. It also means we can look forward to yet another epic Monterey Car Week, another awesome Porsche Rennsport Reunion, and loads more Porsche 911 9,000-rpm songs of speed.

Some residents won't like it, but they should move. The alternative is an increase in street racing stupidity, and that's certainly a worse prospect.

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