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Rushland R/C Speedway seeks variance for racing


The operator of a dirt track for racing remote control cars in Wrightstown told the township’s board of supervisors on Monday that he’s willing to do away with night races, desist using a public address system, and limit race days to Sunday in order to keep the operation going.

The proposed compromises from Jason Smith come as Rushland R/C Speedway by Torodyne on the 1000 block of Swamp Road is currently under order from the township to not hold any races because the track violates local zoning, as it’s not a permitted use in the village residential zoning district where it lies.

Smith plans to appear before the Wrightstown Zoning Board on July 17 in the hopes of earning a variance – an exception from local zoning rules – that would allow the track to continue in some form.

Smith spoke before supervisors Monday about his potential compromises, which are aimed at showing a good-faith effort to operate reasonably and assuaging a neighbor that’s complained of noise and light intrusion.

Supervisors can take a position on variance applications, expressing support, opposition or neutrality. While the zoning board isn’t bound to follow supervisors’ position, the recommendation can potentially carry weight.

Ultimately, supervisors decided to remain neutral on the Rushland R/C Speedway variance request. They did, however, express a number of conditions they would favor, if the zoning board were to approve the variance.

Those include: use should be narrowly defined so that it’s crystal clear that the variance would relate only to the dirt track, not other “entertainment” operations; there can only be electrical remote control cars, not gas-powered ones; and no indoor races and no amplified sound. A preference for limiting races to Sunday was expressed, too.

“Seeing things from the neighbors’ perspective, having to deal with (races) every Friday and Sunday is a little much,” said Supervisor Jane Magne.

Sunday races have typically started with gates opening at 10 a.m., then races beginning at noon and ending around 4 p.m. A later starting hour could be implemented if the township desires, with races ending by 5 p.m., Smith said.

Smith told supervisors he’d be willing to complete a fence on the property and add additional buffering, within reason, to minimize any potential intrusion on neighbors. He said a typical race features eight cars on the track at once. The most people Rushland R/C ever had at a race is 35, Smith said.

The track is tied to Smith’s Torodyne business, which is on the same property. Part of that operation focuses on remote control cars. The track is 79 feet by 41 feet, with an infield of 49 feet by 13 feet.