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New or expanding racetracks in unincorporated Cowlitz County will face great scrutiny to control noise and other problems.

Cowlitz County commissioners Tuesday unanimously voted to approved a 60-day interim ordinance that requires the tracks a go through a special use process.

This will allow the county land use regulators to address many concerns, including traffic control off-site; compliance with building and health codes; critical area protection; stormwater flow control and water quality treatment; fire protection; and any other impacts related to natural resources or noise. The new regulations will not impact existing raceways that have no plans to grow.

Up until now rural racetracks have not needed to undergo a county review process, said Elaine Placido, director of Building and Planning Department.

Commissioner Dennis Weber said after the meeting that the decision was made due to months of complaints from residents near a drift track in Toutle.

“We’ve been researching ways to do something about the incredible noise pollution that’s happening,” he said.

According to a county resolution on the subject, the new regulations are “critical to the public safety, livability and economic viability of rural communities of unincorporated Cowlitz County.”

During Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Placido explained that the county has 60 days to form a work group and hold a public hearing before turning these regulations into a permanent ordinance. The county may ask for a 60-day extension if needed.

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