What’s Happening with the

Proposed Motorsports Park in Oak Ridge?

(Conceptual Rendering of Proposed Motorsports Park)

Comments can be submitted until Oct. 21, 2020, via email to Katatra.Vasquez@science.doe.gov with the U.S. Department of Energy regarding the Environmental Assessment: https://doeic.science.energy.gov/uploads/A.0100.037.2683.pdf

Timeline of events:

2/10/2020: Oak Ridge City Council Meeting

  • Resolution presented to council expressing support and interest in the further development of the Horizon Center on lots 5, 6, and 7, containing approximately 327 acres, for a test track and research facility
  • Council approved amended version of resolution.
  • Resources: Meeting agenda; minutes; resolution as passed; video of meeting (discussion begins 2:05:00)

5/18/20: Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce hosts video presentation

8/11/20: Industrial Development Board (IDB) hosts Special Called Meeting

  • Industrial Development Board (IDB) heard presentation from developer H.E. Bittle, III on the overview of the Motorsports Park Project and its offer to purchase property.
  • Public was given the opportunity to make comment on the proposal.
  • IDB approved selling its share of the Horizon Center land to H.E. Bittle, III
  • Resources: Meeting agenda; minutes; resolution as passed; video of meeting

8/27/20: Oak Ridge Planning Commission Work Session

9/22/20: Oak Ridge City Council Work Session

  • Council discussed the process for moving forward on the development of the proposed Motorsports Park
    • The City of Oak Ridge does not own the land, has never owned it. It was transferred from the DOE to the IDB with several owners in between, so City Council cannot do anything until it comes back to City Council regarding rezoning
    • Note: The IDB derives its power from state statute. The City has no statutory control over the IDB other than to appoint its members
    • Watch the discussion here (42 minutes in)
    • Resource: Agenda

Where are we now?

  • The developer has up to 180 days, and two 90-day options, to perform due diligence as to whether they want to go forward with purchasing the property
  • United States Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a study stating the racetrack will have no significant impact to natural land; DOE accepting comments

Who do I send my comments to?

Regarding the U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Assessment, email Katatra.Vasquez@science.doe.gov 

When’s the deadline to comment on the Environmental Assessment?

October 21, 2020. It was initially Sept. 21 but the DOE extended it another 30 days

What’s next?

  • Oak Ridge Planning Commission will hold a work session on Oct. 15 to discuss creating a new zoning district for a motorsports park; no official decision will be made at the work session
  • To proceed, Planning Commission would need to create the new district and rezone the property. Recommendation would then go to City Council for two readings.
  • There is opportunity for public comments at each business meeting, and a formally advertised public hearing in front of City Council
  • The best way to learn about upcoming public meetings is to check the City's website. Agendas are posted online 5-7 days before each meeting
  • Resources: Planning Commission Agendas & MinutesOak Ridge City Council AgendasMinutes
  • If Mr. Bittle proceeds with the development of the motorsports park, the following steps are required:
    • Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to establish regulation for a motorsports park use. A text amendment requires a recommendation from the Planning Commission, a public hearing and approval from City Council.
    • Rezone property to establish the district and allowable uses. A rezoning requires a recommendation from the Planning Commission, a public hearing and approval from City Council.
    • Approve a Site Plan for site development. A site plan must be approved by the Planning Commission.
    • Resources: Development process flow chart