NEW LEBANON–The town Zoning Board of Appeals has called on town officials to enforce regulations that prohibit camping on the site of the Lebanon Valley Speedway until Speedway owner Howard Commander obtains the required permit for a campsite.
The request for enforcement came in a letter dated June 3 from ZBA Chairman John Dax to town Zoning Enforcement Officer Stan Koloski and members of the Town Board. That was the day after a ZBA meeting at which Mr. Commander, representing Lebanon Valley Auto Racing (LVAR), appeared before the zoning board without the information called for on the application for a campground permit.
In a separate matter, the town has issued a stop-work order for LVAR’s construction of a go-cart track on the site. No permit has been requested for that facility, Mr. Koloski said this week.
Mr. Koloski also said that the work at the speedway may have involved an extension of the drag-racing strip. “Both items above will require the filing of an amendment to your special permit to operate the Speedway, as they are both expansions of the existing use,” Mr. Koloski told Mr. Commander in a letter dated May 28.
With hundreds of campers and motor homes parked at the raceway–parts of which are in a floodplain district–Mr. Dax told his board and Mr. Commander at the June 2 ZBA meeting that “there certainly still is a campground in operation at Lebanon Valley.”
Mr. Commander had appeared before the Town Board late last year to answer questions about his growing campground. He claimed at the time to have a long-standing campground permit from the county health department. He was apprised then that he must apply for a special permit from the ZBA and comply with town law pertaining to campgrounds.
Mr. Commander filed an application for a permit March 30 and submitted a hand-drawn plan to supplement it April 27. The ZBA advised him in a letter dated May 4 that his application was incomplete and spelled out what information he needed to provide to for the application to be considered.
Since then, Mr. Dax said at the meeting, the ZBA has received no further information from Mr. Commander.
“Are you intending to complete your application?” Mr. Dax asked Mr. Commander at the meeting. “Did you receive the letter?” Mr. Commander replied that he didn’t remember, but he added, “I probably have it somewhere. “
Mr. Dax said in his letter to Mr. Koloski and the Town Board that without enforcement, “LVAR will plainly have no incentive to pursue the application process or to comply with the requirements of our laws…”
Failure to comply with the law could lead to a fine of a “maximum of $250 per week of the violation or up to 15 days in jail or both.” At this point, Mr. Koloski said, “It’s all up to the judge when the trial occurs.”