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Posted: Tuesday, October 8th 2013 at 8:21pm

Go-kart track OK-ed by Planning and Appeals Board

By Marc Eggers Staff
click to enlarge
Debbie Lunsford-Love
GAINESVILLE – Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville is known for cars.

The Georgia Department of Transportation estimates that nearly 25,000 vehicles per day use that section of Highway 369 in the area of Dixie Drive.

Hundreds of new and used cars and trucks adorn showrooms and fill car lots at nearly a dozen automobile dealerships along the roadway.

And now a fleet of all-electric cars is one step closer to joining the entourage.

Tuesday evening the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board gave unanimous approval to a Special Use Request made by the owners of Funtastik!/Gainesville Bowl to build an electric go-kart track on their property.

Building plans submitted to the Planning Division show as many as 24 of the eco-friendly runabouts for the 500-foot pretzel-shaped race course which will be constructed at the end of their parking lot nearest – and below grade – Browns Bridge Road at Green Crest Drive.

Chief concern of the Planning Department, and by those living in the area, was potential noise pollution. But Bowling Center owner Debbie Lunsford-Love said the vehicles emit only 50-decibels, comparing it to the 60-decibels generated during a normal conversation between two people.

Board member Doyle Johnson said that he had seen the go-karts elsewhere and that they reminded him of the sound a golf cart produces.

But the request did not go without a measure of opposition.

Area residents Carolyn Sydney Wofford and Helen Shockley were concerned about the secondary effects the new amusement might create.

Wofford, who has lived on nearby Dixie Drive for 68-years, said that she felt the frequency of the noise produced by the go-karts would cause animals to react. "Just about every person on those two roads have animals," Wofford said.

"Have you ever heard a dog howl when a siren goes by? They’re not pleasant things to hear," Wofford said. "And when they hear that whining noise they’re going to howl."

Lunsford-Love responded by saying, "I understand about the dogs, but it is not a high-pitched sound like a siren. I have eleven dogs…and I’m very familiar with what makes a dog carry on."

Ms. Shockley has lived on Green Crest Drive since 1963 and expressed concern that an increase in traffic brought by the business would affect her safety and solace. "I don’t want to have a fight, but I don’t want no more traffic than what I’ve got on the end of my street."

"They’re my relatives," Lunsford-Love said, with a smile, as she followed Wofford and Shockley to the podium. "Cousins," she would explain later. But the difference of opinion on building the go-kart track was keen enough to possibly alter future Christmas card mailing lists.

Following the Board’s approval of the Special Use Request which now goes to the City Council for final approval, Lunsford-Love was conciliatory. “I wanted everybody to be happy. I’m very excited about it. But I think that…all the neighbors will be pleased with the results.”

Lunsford-Love said she hopes the attraction will be ready by late spring.

The Board did attach conditions to their approval governing the use and volume of onsite audio speakers used for music or announcements, and they limited the hours of operation, setting 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. as parameters.

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Gainesville, GA 30501
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