Rezoning OK'd At Speedway

Crete Carrier Corp. to build trucking terminal at former racetrack site

KINGSTON - The future of Roane County's popular Atomic Speedway site is no longer in doubt.

Roane County commissioners voted 12-3 to approve a zoning change for the speedway property near Buttermilk Road at the Loudon County line Monday. With the change in zoning from commercial to light industrial, Atomic Speedway owner Ed Adams can finalize a sale of the property to Crete Carrier Corp., which is looking to consolidate its East Tennessee operations by building a $5.3 million trucking terminal on the site.

Crete and Adams have said a new terminal would create about 50 jobs in the county and the economic investment would generate an additional $42,868 in property tax over the current $7,588 in annual property tax it now generates.

Crete sought the property but needed the rezoning. The vote originally was to take place at the December meeting, but commissioners voted to delay the vote to study the effects a trucking terminal would have on the rural area.

Residents living near the racetrack asked commissioners to deny the zoning change, citing safety issues with increased traffic and health concerns. A new industrial park is located less than two miles from the track site. Residents expressed concern that the two-lane Buttermilk Road could see around-the-clock truck traffic if Crete bought the Atomic site.

In recent weeks, Roane County Chamber of Commerce members sent out letters to each county commissioner asking them to approve the rezoning. County leaders said the site would generate more tax dollars as a trucking terminal and would open the door for more businesses to locate in Roane County.

The commission meeting room was packed Monday with residents and race fans who hoped the zoning request would be denied. Following the vote, several of those in attendance voiced their disapproval of the commission's vote.

Commissioners who did not vote for the zoning change were Mike Hooks, Ray Cantrell, and David Courier.

The vote signals the end of racing at Atomic. The one-third-mile dirt track has hosted racing since 1970. Adams bought the track in January 2005 and citied poor attendance and lack of support for his reason to sell the property to Crete. The deal between Adams and Crete could be finalized within a week and demolition of the track could start as early as the end of this month.