Fight over speedway in Osage County

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Updated: 2/29/2012 10:19 am Published: 2/28/2012 11:15 pm

Loud noise, dust and traffic could be coming to one neighborhood in rural Bartlesville.

"We are going to do everything we can to not have it rezoned commercial,” said Bartlesville neighbor John Shambles.

However, the owner of a proposed dirt track speedway wants to set the record straight before he goes in front of Osage County officials.

Tuesday night, Bill McMurtrie held a neighborhood meeting for the proposed Black Gold Speedway near Osage Casino in Bartlesville.

He and his brother started building the track on Bill’s 200 acres of land zoned as agriculture land in late December but the county put the brakes on the track.

"I’ve done this since I was 14 years old,” said Bill McMurtrie. “This is everything I've wanted to do."

McMurtrie and his brother Robert made a deal with they were teens to stay out of trouble.

"We wouldn't smoke, we wouldn't drink, and we would have race cars. It's turned into a life long passion and we know nothing but race cars,” said race promoter Robert McMurtrie.

Then last Christmas, Bill had a vision.

"Woke up one more morning and we decided it would measure out and build a race track,” said Bill McMurtrie.

Construction stopped about three weeks ago when the county said he needed a permit to keep building the track.

"It's been an ongoing battle,” said the owner.

Neighbors across the canyon and across the road are against the idea of a track on their street.

"It's going to be terrible for the neighborhood,” said Shambles.

Shambles also lives about a half of a mile from Osage Casino.

"It would be worse than have a casino,” said Shambles.

To set the record straight, the owner held a public meeting for neighbors and those concerned about the track.

"We feel like we are being judged before we have been given a chance,” said Bill McMurtrie.

The speedway would have races on Friday nights and till 11 p.m.  During a race McMurtrie says there would be 18 to 22 cars on the track.

In the crowd of supporters who traveled from Kansas, one person spoke out against the track.

Roger Walker is a neighbor and concerned about the noise.

"I like to listen to the birds. I like to watch the deer,” said Walker.

The owners said they measured the decibels from one hundred feet from the track.

It measured about 96 decibels, which is quieter than a law mower.

One neighbor who says he is one of the closest families to live near the track doesn’t mind the track being so close to his home.

“Since the casino is already there we got the track let's do it,” said Bill Thompson.

No matter what the owners do to keep the noise and traffic down, Walker said he still doesn’t support a track in his neighborhood.

"I knew I would be against it before I came and there was nothing said here that changed my mind,” said Walker.

The owner says even with opposition they will fight for their dream.

"We are not going to give up. That is not our attitude that is why we are racers,” said Bill McMurtrie.

A public hearing will be held at Osage County Board of Adjustments at 6 p.m. located at 628 Kihekah Avenue. Pawhuska, OK.

If the Board grants the conditional variance permit, the McMurtries are planning to have the speedway open by May.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

dc184 - 3/19/2012 5:26 PM
0 Votes
Deal with it? Says the person who doesn't live out near it, probably be a lot different if it was near your house.

t k 2k - 3/16/2012 6:36 PM
0 Votes
live with it

t k 2k - 3/16/2012 6:28 PM
1 Vote
hwo cares about the noise deal with it or put earplugs in an there ant that much dust one they water it an stuff.let it go on!!!!!!!!!!!! exsacly racefan.

dc184 - 3/11/2012 10:59 PM
0 Votes
Oh and Mitch, why should we move? Especially if we lived out here first...

dc184 - 3/11/2012 10:57 PM
0 Votes
The reason people move to the country is for the peace and quiet. Just going to add morepeople drinking and driving on the roads. And for those that think 20 cars or so won't be loud are ridiculous, you can hear everthing out here. I live a mile from the casino and can hear the cars just driving normally on the main road. And hear all the events the casino holds.

mitch6262 - 3/1/2012 11:00 AM
1 Vote
i hope it goes in ive been around racing all my life people now and days think they rule the world can tell people what they can do and can not do thats what happened at the fair grounds people threatend the people in office to get rid of the track or dont reelected just like broken arrow bunch of biggets if dont like it move somewhere else thats my oppion

racefan - 2/29/2012 12:17 PM
1 Vote
Countrygirl - I live "In the neighborhood" also and a part of the community I didn't hear a thing. If I am not mistaken there was a neighbor at the meeting who was asked directly if they heard the car and while they hated to admit it also didn't hear a thing when the car was on the track. I think somebody needs "get real" here but it isn't me.

racefan - 2/29/2012 12:08 PM
1 Vote
Maybe you should have came to the meeting and listen to the plans for the race track. The races will be over by 11:00 pm on Friday night. I am not sure how you could hear it 1-1/4 mile away when people who lived closer didn't hear a thing.

countrygirl - 2/29/2012 10:09 AM
0 Votes
County Girl, I live less than a mile from the race track. When I arrived home around 5:00 P.M. yesterday I was not able to hear anything except the car, I could not even have a conversation with my husband. Times that by 20 cars and tell me how that compares to a lawn mower. Get real. We are the people that live in this community and have to deal with all the noise, and traffic that goes by our houses everyday. Would any of you like to have this in your back yard? We should not have to listen to this noise at all plus 100 cars, trailers, and spectators. Take it to your neighborhood.

racefan - 2/29/2012 9:48 AM
1 Vote
I find it hard to believe that you could hear the one car 1-1/4 mile from the track when the decimal readings were lower than a lawn mower at 100 feet away. If you had attended the meeting to find out the specifics of what is going on then you would have known that there will be no races started after 11pm. I can't see how you living 1-1/4 mile from the track with 1 night a week for approx 4 hours interfers with your quiet life! Get a life, maybe you would enjoy them if you went to watched the races instead of sitting around complaining about them!
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