By Jessie Burchette
The restraining order against further grading at High Rock Raceway has been extended.
The new court order replaces the temporary order that expired last week.
Developers of the Spencer race track now have 45 days to submit a comprehensive erosion control plan which will also include the restoration plan for the stream and sludge removal required by the state.
Resident Superior Court Judge John Holshouser Jr. has signed a consent agreement between Rowan County and David L. Risdon, the developer of the two-mile-plus road course on the former site of of Color-Tex, previously the N.C. Finishing Co. The order was filed on Friday.
Risdon agreed to cease all land disturbing activities until his company, High Rock Properties, submits a comprehensive erosion control plan, or at minimum, a plan to deal with the areas already disturbed.
State law requires an erosion control plan for an acre or more of land to be used for non-agricultural purposes.
Failure to comply with the order can bring both civil fines and jail time under the contempt of court provisions.
The county initially went to court on Sept. 25 after grading continued at the site despite a stop-work order and repeated warnings by the county.
Since that time, the county staff has monitored the site on a daily basis.
County officials have also been in touch with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Army Corp of Engineers to coordinate the various interests in the site.
Risdon has said previously that much of the grading done on the site without a permit was to satisfy state environmental officials wanting a cleanup of a sludge spill that occurred nearly a year ago.
County Attorney Jay Dees said the county, the state and the Corps of Engineers are on the same page. No further grading will occur until the county receives the erosion plan and it is approved.
Although the site is within the town of Spencer, enforcement of erosion control is handled by the county's codes enforcement officer.
In a statement posted on the High Rock Raceway website, Risdon wrote that the comprehensive erosion plan will be submitted to the county within 20 days.
Due in part to the erosion control issue, Risdon wrote that the Spring 2008 opening is unlikely at this point. "We feel a Summer 2008 target opening date at this point is more realistic."
"We have overcome a number of challenges to bring our project to this point and we are more confident than ever of our eventual success," wrote Risdon.