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Judge says 'no' to residential race track

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STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Union Parish judge has muted the races at USA Speedway. Neighbors are relieved.

"I feel good about it. Actually, we can sleep at night," Delander Bowie-Clay said.

Racetrack announcer John Franklin believes the noise wasn't the issue. He believes it's just personal.

"Some of it was political," Franklin said. "Some people just had a vendetta."

Greg Horn is a member of the lawsuit with 59 plaintiffs and says he's thankful the keys are no longer starting up engines here after more than three years.

"As far as the noise, it's just unbearable. You can't carry on a conversation," Horn said.

Court documents show a Union Parish judge lists the racetrack's events became a nuisance. Track workers say the competitions were scheduled to kick-off in about two weeks. Neighbors say they won't miss the sound.

"Just a lot of noise, a lot of noise and it's very hard to get in and out," Bowie-Clay said.

Owners are hoping for another day in court. They're claiming no laws were broken, the track provided jobs, and every race is for the old and young.

"I don't know what the big deal was. We did our best to try to put on a good show," Franklin said.

Neighbors say their initial goal wasn't to put the brakes on racing. Owners are claiming not once did they receive complaints until they were handed the lawsuit.

ORIGINAL STORY

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Judge Wayne Smith ruled that the USA Speedway is now forbidden to operate its commercial racetrack across the Ouachita River from Sterlington.

59 neighbors of the track had sued, claiming "awful" disruption to the peace, comfort, and use of their homes, which they charged often continued until well past midnight on race nights.

Judge Smith, in his ruling said that he is of firm opinion that, "the racetrack is injurious and offensive to persons residing in the community and interferes with their enjoyment of their respective properties."

In addition, Judge Smith held that the racetrack owners are liable for any damages caused by the past three years of track operation.

He did say, however, that it's regrettable that the economic benefits of the track will be lost to the area, but added that the court is charged with the duty of dispassionately applying the law to the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

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