Board Of Supervisors To Hear Update On Placer County Fairgrounds

At its upcoming May 24, 2011, meeting, the Placer County Board of Supervisors will hear an update on negotiations with the Placer County Fair Association, which manages the County fairgrounds in Roseville. At the meeting, staff expects to receive Board and community input. There has been significant progress made in crafting a new agreement between the County and the Association. The negotiations for the agreement are nearing completion with additional discussion continuing over the fairgrounds racetrack.

Any new agreement will reflect all aspects of fairgrounds management, including the speedway. The discussions regarding the speedway will address additional conditions and controls for the facility.

There have been a number of complaints about noise levels at the track. Because of that, a study is planned to collect data during the current racing season, the data will be used to assess noise issues and potential remedies and possibly lead to added conditions and restrictions in the final agreement.

“I’ve met with the Association and I’ve reached out to the neighbors and included the racetrack promoter in discussions,” said Supervisor Jack Duran, whose First District encompasses most of Roseville, including the fairgrounds and surrounding neighborhoods. “We want to keep everybody on the same page and moving forward towards a resolution. I would like to see if the racetrack promoter may be able to access racing technologies that may be helpful in terms of noise reduction and control.

“After the Board meeting on the 24th, there will be additional opportunities for the community to provide input. We’ll meet at each critical point, whether it is about a sound study or an agreement with the Association.”

The Fairgrounds complex, which covers 61 acres, has operated since the 1930s. Today the Fairgrounds annually hosts between 75,000 and 80,000 visitors at events including the Placer County Fair, Speedway racing, the Berry Fest, numerous shows and expositions, and community based local organizations. The annual county fair is typically held in June.

Permanent tenants include a community K-6 school, a preschool, and the Speed World track for radio controlled cars. Community groups that use the facilities include the Quilt Guild, Roseville Rock Rollers Club and the Roseville Roundhouse Model Railroad Club, which meet regularly in buildings on the Fairgrounds.

Based upon research from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), county fairs are economic engines resulting in sales tax, transient occupancy taxes, and local spending activities. CDFA estimated that in 2009, the Placer County Fair generated approximately $12 million dollars in economic benefit to the state and local economy.

The speedway, which was originally a dirt track, has been operated by the Association since 1955. The racing season, which begins in spring and continues into fall, generates 50 percent to 60 percent of the fairground’s operating costs.

During negotiations with the Fair Association, increasingly restrictive provisions are under consideration, especially with regard to the Speedway. Some of the issues that are open for discussion include limitations on operating hours and days of use for the Speedway and compliance with noise study requirements

The County and Fair Association are concerned by neighborhood complaints and are working to develop an agreement. That agreement will contain operating and management provisions that reasonably resolve outstanding issues and facilitate co-existence between all operations at the fairgrounds and surrounding neighborhoods.