YORK COUNTY, S.C.— A local speedway is one step closer to getting the lawn mowers back on the track. For now, racing is still stalled at Phat Bottom Speedway in York County.
Phat Bottom Speedway opened back in 2009 on 16 acres of land off Jim McCarter Road, in the county between York and Clover. Lawn mowers race for a few hours, every other Saturday on the track.
Though races have been taking place there for five years, the land was actually zoned for rural development, which means race tracks aren't allowed.
"The county says it knew [the track] was here, but wasn't going to do anything about it unless someone complained," said owner James Saunders, who bought the property last year. "A little while ago, a couple neighbors decided it was too noisy. The track has been here five years."
Tuesday night, the York County Council voted to rezone the property as an agriculture conservation district, which means a race track is technically allowed to be there. However, the bi-monthly lawn mower races won't be back just yet.
York County's noise ordinance is subjective. It doesn't specify decibel levels or hours for noise, just that it can't be considered a nuisance by others in the area. Deputies were called out last Saturday and threatened drivers with $500 fines, if they didn't stop racing.
The only way for Phat Bottom Speedway to avoid additional noise complaints, and continue operating, is to get a Special Noise Ordinance Exemption. The council would not issue an emergency exemption Tuesday, saying it did not have the power to do so on the spot.
Saunders said he plans to request that exemption from the Zoning Board of Appeals.