Lawsuit vs. proposed Silo Speedway in judge’s hands

DOVER — The saga of a winery owner’s attempt to stop construction of an auto racing track next to his business is in neutral as a judge considers the matter.

No future court dates were scheduled as of noon Monday regarding a Pizzadili Partners lawsuit seeking to overturn a Kent County Board of Adjustment decision that the future Silo Speedway met zoning requirements at the site next to U.S. 13 near Peach Basket Road north of Felton.

15dsn speedway aerial shot by .

With the application for Silo Speedway, this aerial view represents in black where the quarter-mile racing oval is planned behind Delaware Auto Exchange on U.S. 13 north of Felton. Above the red bordering, the Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery is shown. The winery’s building and pavilion are the red rooftops. (Submitted photo/Kent County Department of Planning Services)

On Monday, Silo Speedway owner Ron Faison declined comment.

Last Friday he posted on his Facebook that construction was halted on advice of his attorney pending a future scheduled appearance in Kent County Superior Court.

Pizzadili Partners took the matter to court after the Kent County Board of Adjustment denied in February its appeal to overturn a decision allowing Silo Speedway construction to proceed. The petition was filed on Feb. 29.

Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. is reviewing the case.

A Pizzadili Partners reply brief filed Friday maintained the board errantly concluded that an auto racetrack is allowed in a General Business zoning district, and does not conform to expressed uses referenced in county code.

Furthermore, the reply brief stated, “The county is also wrong to suggest that the evidence presented to the board showed that noise and dust would not be significant factors and that somehow formed a basis for the board’s decision.

“There is no evidence that the board majority actually made its decision on that basis.”
Pointing to “ample” testimony at the board meeting that “noise and dust would be significant and would greatly harm the petitioner’s business, as well as other businesses.”

Pizzadili Partners claimed the board deferred to the county’s original decision while using “inappropriate — and almost resigned —” rationale.

Citing Kent County Code, Pizzadili Partners wrote that an auto racetrack is never referenced as a “commercial recreation facility” that is allowed in the General Business zoning district and is inconsistent with the intent.

“A stated purpose of the General Business zoning district is ‘to prohibit uses which may be detrimental to residential neighborhoods and communities for reasons such as odor, smoke, dust, fumes, fire, vibrations, noise or hazardous conditions,’ ” Pizzadili maintained.

Pizzadili referenced county and Silo Speedway ownership’s belief that the previously approved Fairlane Acres Speedway set an applicable precedent, and explained it as “also approved as a conditional use, with lots of conditions imposed on it. Here of course, the use was approved as a permitted one, with no conditions.”

Fairlane is a 1/8-mile kart track off Kitts Hummock Road south of Dover Air Force Base.

Pizzadili pointed to a board member’s dissenting vote that was based on the belief that a 2001 hearing considering the future Fairlane Raceway was “inappropriate.” County code was in place to protect nearby residential properties and surrounding neighbors but did not, the board member said, while considering the two situations as comparing “apples and oranges.”

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