Lawmakers mull details of racetrack proposal

Details need discussion in order to lay the groundwork for the proposed Kitsap County NASCAR racetrack, independent of any financial or legislative considerations.

“There are key steps we need to take and key issues we need to face,” said consultant Hugh Spitzer, who was hired by Kitsap County to filter through the vast amounts of information generated by the proposal.

“Legislation is a big hurdle. After that point, we will need to create a new governmental entity, one that will determine how land-use and permitting will fit in.”

Spitzer was one of several speakers at a Monday meeting in Bremerton’s Norm Dicks Government Center, dubbed “Leadership Summit: Proposed NASCAR Speedway.”

The meeting, which attracted elected officials, county staff and local economic experts, was open to the public, but questions came from elected officials as opposed to members of the community.

County Adminstrator Cris Gears served as moderator.

Spitzer said the acceptance of the racetrack represents the beginning of the process, such as which requirements to impose and when to invoke them. Naming rights, profit sharing, wages and the disposition of media income are a few such issues.

“It’s important that you have a dispute resolution structure for when things go wrong,” he said. “There are several devilish details that you will need to consider.”

One such detail was brought up by County Clerk Dave Peterson, who questioned how the facility would accommodate the bodily waste generated by a crowd of that size.

Peterson estimated that the average bathroom break takes three minutes. Since each toilet could acommodate 20 people in an hour, more than 2,000 toilets would be needed for a crowd of 80,000.

Peterson said he “hesitated to ask this question” because, “I will always be associated with this.”

It didn’t take long, as 26th District Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) quickly referred to him as “Sani-can Peterson.”

Prosecuting Attorney Shelley Kneip discussed permit and land issues, which she said are uncertain until track sponsor Great Western Sports comes up with a final proposal.

There are several areas where permits could be required, including land use, zoning, utility access and environmental impact.

During the question-and-answer session, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan said his organization believes the track will not have any negative impact on the Bremerton Airport’s future development.

“I was glad to see this dialogue,” said Kitsap Economic Development Council Executive Director David Porter after the meeting. “We’re getting closer and closer to becoming an informed community.”

Gears said Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office has offered to hold a similar informational meeting in early February. He said Kitsap County will post several documents on the county Web site that contain transcripts from this meeting as well as ISC documents containing frequently asked questions and their answers.

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