Officials: Dover annexation of county land will smooth way for events at speedway

DOVER — The city of Dover and Dover International Speedway are continuing to lay the groundwork for the city to annex 260 acres from Kent County by early 2016.

Currently, 295 acres of The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway — which hosts events like Firefly Music Festival — sit outside of city limits.

The issue has come to light since the speedway began hosting Firefly in 2012. Organizers have had to fill out two sets of permits, one for the county and one for the city.

Dover International Speedway hasn’t yet requested the land to be annexed, but is getting everything in place for when that time comes.

“We’re working to get this done,” said Ann Marie Townshend, the city’s director of planning and inspections. “We’ve worked closely with each other throughout the year.

“There have been different ordnances and amendments in place that have been brought forward to council so they

27dsn dover Speedway Land mapA by .

The areas in blue are in Dover city limits. A joint effort between the city and Dover International Speedway proposes that Dover would annex the areas in yellow into the city limits, also.

can eventually annex the property,” she said.

“We’ve been taking the right steps so when that time comes to annex the property there won’t be any problems.”

Earlier this month city council discussed an amendment to allow temporary special events and temporary camping areas within the recreation and commercial zone.

The amendment proposes an activity and camping permit fee as well.

The ordinance would move auto, horse and motorcycle race tracks from the conditional-use section to the permitted-use section.

“It cleans up a couple of things in the recreational and commercial zone,” Ms. Townshend said. “It adds parameters for the temporary outdoor events and camping areas.”

Dover International Speedway would have to pay additional property tax to the city once the transfer is done, Ms. Townshend said.

“The costs would be taxes and possibly licensing fees,” she said.

Once the land transfer — which is arranged in an almost checkerboard pattern — is completed, events will require less planning.

“We’re pursuing this change because it allows the Firefly event to have long term approvability,” said Gregory Moore of Dover’s Becker Morgan Group, which represented the Dover International Speedway during the council meeting on Dec. 14.

“We’re in favor of it and we want to make sure everything is in order moving forward.

“We want to make sure that we have the right to have temporary water and sewer facilities like showers and bathrooms that are moveable,” Mr. Moore added.

“As our events continue to expand, we hope to have electric and water lines that would serve those facilities as they will move from venue to venue.”

While most of the Woodlands is set to be transferred to Dover, a 35-acre portion will remain the sole domain of the county.

Ms. Townshend said when everything is place the Dover International Speedway has to fill out an annexation and rezoning application.

“They would have to submit an overall plan for the area to show what they’re doing,” she said.

“It will show the layout of everything. But we’ve been making the necessary changes beforehand to get this done, so I think everything will be fine once it gets to that point.”

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