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Kalamazoo Speedway Fans Sound Off Against Noisy Track Debate

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ALAMO TOWNSHIP, Mich.-An estimated 500 people packed into Alamo Elementary School on Monday evening to voice their opinions about a proposed noise ordinance that could impact the Kalamazoo Speedway, a local race track that has been in business in the township for 64 years.

Public comment on the issue was supposed to take place in early February, but because of the massive turnout,  the Alamo Township Board of  Trustees had to reschedule it for a bigger venue.

On Monday, the board got an earful, mostly from residents who are worried about how noise restrictions could impact business at the local race track.

“The gas station is gone, the corner store is gone, what else do you want to shut down,” said resident Mark Witt.

Most of the public comments were in favor of the Speedway and against any noise restrictions.

The debate began about 14 months ago when the Alamo Township Board started looking into updating its 1974 noise ordinance with specific decibel restrictions after several residents complained about noise in the area.


Township leaders were looking at capping the track at 82 decibels for the majority of operations and 55 decibels after 11 p.m.

To compare loudness, normal conversation measures 60 to 65 decibels. A vacuum cleaner is between 60 and 82 decibels, according to noise comparison charts.

“It is my intention to come up with a fair solution that is a win for everyone,” said Alamo Township Supervisor Lou Conti.

After much discussion, the board agreed to table the noise ordinance until March.

“We kind of just wasted four hours and not a lot of has been done,” said Kalamazoo Speedway Owner Gary Howe, who has been working with the township to come up with a deal.

For now, the race track rules will not change. However, the Alamo Township Board has agreed on a six-step plan that would conduct research at the track and take decibel readings over the upcoming season.

“We take readings six times a year at our track and we are in the 85 to 92 (decibel) range at the property line, the main thing is semi trucks are much louder,” explains Howe.

He says 82 decibels is not a realistic number.

Howe has been working with the township to come up with a deal.

“We are just trying to compromise, so we can stay in business and hopefully logic will prevail,” said Howe.

The Kalamazoo Speedway season begins in April and runs until October with about 32 races.






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  • buffy

    i could not attend the meeting but i stand by my belief that those who have a problem with it knew the racetrack was there, longer most likely than they were and that they need to just shut up. or move. i am personally pointing the finger at them—->MOVE!!!! you are ruining other people's enjoyment and income. you have such small lives and nothing else better to do please take your whiny complainy busybody selves elsewhere. YOU are not welcome here as far as *I* am concerned! (i speak only for myself and not on behalf of or for the racetrack or other person or entity)

  • dan

    the biggest deal is gary howe begging for the dirt bag racers (not all the racers are dirt bags) to call thier dirt bag friends and flood what should have been a alamo township resident meeting after walking through the parking lot and seeing plates from IL and IN I wondered why are we opening our township meeting to outsiders. myself as a property owner in alamo township is not effected by any buisness from that track and so i could care less what the township comes up with. the cars dont bug me untill its turns into a late night of hearing them. my family has owned the same house for more years than the track has been there for. i am now the 4th gereration who owns and lives in the house so yeah i think i should have a say so in any zoning. what i have found to be real funny is how these people think that kalamazoo speedway is how the citgo and bp gas stations stay in buisness, damn good laugh there gary. i know the owners of american gas and oil and the riddleman family and they seem to do just fine every other day of the year that kalamazoo speedway is not open.

    • Dale

      dirt bag racers really , those people with the IL and IN license plates drive up here to race each and every week, and i know there is a handful of tracks closer to them but they choose to come here, and spend money in your township and state , they very well could keep the money back home , and trust me those people are far from dirt bags , they are probably first group of people to show up when someone needs a helping hand

    • Steve

      The Ridderman family is very interested in the business the Kalamazoo Speedway brings to our B P Store. We support Gary and his business activities in Alamo Township 100%. The idea that we need the speedway to stay in business is not really the point, the truth is Alamo needs to be focused on bringing business into the township in an organized way that brings more tax revenue, jobs and services to the local community. Small town government is a tricky business, and I admire anyone willing to serve. I hope Mr. Conti and his new group will be able to do good things during their term. I am also quit confident that all parties involved will be able to find a reasonable compromise.

  • thorninside

    it's ridderman, i know them too, but i know their actual name. and read open meetings act, anyone can attend, it's the law. ever heard of lansing?

  • dave

    Just remember that Gary Howe and those dirt bag racers you are referring too were also sticking up for the Alamo residents rights to vote on this ordinance. Name calling just shows your maturity level. The racetrack may not be what keeps the gas stations in business but it sure does bring them a ton of business. Also keep in mind all the charities these “dirt bag racers” have raised money for, they even raised money to help the Alamo fire department get needed equipment.



  • buffy

    @dan….you are a whiny busybody whose fun is taking away others fun. it's only a few months of the year, a few nights of the year and then you get your so called quiet back. i grew up across the street from a high school football track/baseball fields/fireworks location; I moved in to a home where M6 was being built not 300 yards from my bedroom window and they would start work at 6am and not finish until 8-830 if not later at nite, every day but sunday. your argument is INVALID!! the track was there before you were. i am sure you are not 80+ years old (and if you were i would be dollars to donuts you would have a hearing aid to where if you took them off this whole argument would be moot anyway) and i am sure you bought your property KNOWING (or should have known, if not then it's your own fault yet again) that a racetrack was nearby. and of course people from IN and IL would come; they probably race there or enjoy a nice clean night of family fun together at the track. Would you prefer them to go to a strip club or to a WWF fight? yeah probably cuz then they are AWAY from you and THAT would be all that matters to you. people come from far away because they may not have as nice of a track or a track at all to enjoy. ever think of that??? i am so sick of you and grinchy people like you…you honestly make me ill. please, get a life and get a clue. you are the minority and i thought this was America where majority ruled??

  • Dale

    This is for the gentleman ( Chief of Police in Otsego) that spoke last night that said when he moved in to his home 15 years ago there were no races during the week , i am about to correct you on that The First "Klash" was held August 18, 1993 in front of a record crowd. to my calculations thats 20 years ago this august , thats 5 years before you moved from the city out to the COUNTRY,


    1. Who paid for the jaws of life for the local fire department… Answer: Kalamazoo Speedway racers and fans. 2. Who supports the scouts of America in the area? Kalamazoo Speedway. 3. Who allows the fire department to come in and have pancake breakfast and keep all proceeds for the past 26 years give or take a year or two. Answer Kalamazoo Speedway. Hello people the township LOVES our money (racers and fans) they LOVE the donations, then get off your harper valley pta behinds and accept our noise. and for the last 4 yrs i believe the racers from this track and families has donated gifts to families at christmas time

  • Rand

    I assume that all of those who are in favor of the 82 db noise limit do not use any type of gas powered lawn equipment like mowers. Those easily exceed the 82 db limit and it is very hypocritical to operate one while also demanding that the race track not exceed the same limits.

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