It goes without saying that racetracks are loud, noisy environments where race-prepped cars, bikes, and other vehicles come to test, practice, and surprise, surprise, race. As such, what happens if you build your house near a racetrack? Well, you either did so because you’re a racing enthusiast, or you just accept that having a somewhat noisier environment is just part of the package.
As it would turn out, not everyone takes such a logical approach to things, as now, Monterey County, the proud owner of the iconic Laguna Seca racetrack, is being sued by a handful of residents in the area who’ve formed a group that calls itself the Highway 68 Coalition. The group filed a lawsuit against Monterey County, the Board of Supervisors, and the Friends of Laguna Seca (FLS), a non-profit organization meant to preserve the iconic raceway. Highway 68 Coalition cites nuisances for local residents during race weekends and track days, which supposedly disrupt the peace and quiet of their community.
The Laguna Seca raceway has been around for more than half-a-century. Constructed back in 1957, the 2.238-mile circuit was home to some of the most iconic races in the world of motorsports. Chief of which would have to be Valentino Rossi’s daring pass of Casey Stoner at the track’s harrowing corkscrew corner. For the 2024 racing season, Laguna Seca has a packed schedule, holding seven major racing events including the IMSA SportsCar Championship in April and the renowned IndyCar Series in June.
Following the lawsuit from Highway 68 Coalition, the Friends of Laguna Seca responded by saying that the coalition is aiming to disrupt the organization’s stewardship and improvement of the racing facility. FLS further emphasized that it has a strong commitment towards addressing noise concerns via sound mitigations studies. Ross Merrill, the President of FLS, told Motorsport, “We live here too and share the same concerns as our neighbors about noise and traffic.Our team of experienced business and community leaders are eager to move forward to revive this staple in our community for decades of future success and revenue generation for Monterey County.”
Meanwhile, Highway 68 Coalition, which is represented by lawyers Richard Rosenthal, Alexander Henson, and Greg James, claims that activity at Laguna Seca has increased substantially over the last two years. More specifically, the lawsuit states, “These increases include but are not limited to more racetrack event days, higher permitted noise levels, additional track rental days with intensified noise in excess of 100 dB, increased traffic, inadequate water supply and water quality, inadequate sewage disposal and expansion of the camping grounds.”
With that being said, an article from SFGate highlights that Monterey County doesn’t see any point in the complaints filed by Highway 68 Coalition, and that it’s unfortunate that some people have chosen to file complaints against the iconic raceway. Nevertheless, the lawsuit will result in no changes in Laguna Seca’s calendar for the 2024 racing season.