Editor’s Note: With only a week until Election Day, Roseville Patch takes one last look at the seven candidates vying for three Roseville City Council seats by finding out their stances on one of the community’s longstanding hot button issues.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently voted to consider the continuation and the feasibility of moving the All American Speedway in Roseville, following resurgences in noise complaints at the site.
While the property near Washington Boulevard is within county limits, council members will likely need to work closely with supervisors as they decide whether to relocate the raceway and possibly the Placer County Fairgrounds.
Adding to the issue, community leaders have suggested the location could be a good site for a college campus if one comes to Roseville.
Other area leaders also suggest relocating the speedway and the Placer County Fairgrounds in or near Lincoln or Sheridan.
The raceway and fairgrounds pump revenue into Roseville businesses. And the fairgrounds represent a long history in the community.
Candidate Alvord is focused on the issue’s economic impacts and transitional accommodations. He also said if moved, then a university “could potentially fit that bill.”
“As president of the Downtown Roseville Merchants and a downtown business owner, I've seen the positive economic impact of both the speedway and fair events on our businesses and the surrounding hotels, ” he said. “If there comes a time where an accommodation can be made that meets the needs of the stakeholders (neighbors, the county, Roseville, racing enthusiasts, business owners, fair officials, etc.), then I'd absolutely be supportive of pursuing that accommodation.”
“However,” he states, “the site at which that facility currently exists cannot be left dormant during this transition. If the speedway is to be moved, the criteria must be replacement with a facility that can provide at least a commensurate economic benefit to the City of Roseville.”
Incumbent Garcia is hoping to find a balance on the issue. “I understand the issues expressed about the speedway and our staff has relayed them to Placer County officials,” Garcia said. “The intent is to find solutions that balance the residential and commercial interests.”
Garcia did not specify possible future uses. “When it comes to the future site, I’m interested in a thorough evaluation of all the options. It’s a bit premature to put answers out there without an analysis of the options,” she continued. “An analysis and open dialogue will help us determine the pros and cons so they can be weighed to determine the best approach.”
Candidate Gore said it is important to remember that the county controls the site. However, she said, “I think it is incumbent upon the council to voice the concerns of the Roseville residents who are experiencing increased impacts from the operation of the speedway.”
“There are many other potentially compatible and desirable uses of the site, which the county controls,” Gore added. “A robust planning process would be the best vehicle to determine the best use of the site ... My support would require that compatibility between adjacent land uses and property owners is achieved by a move to any location, whether that was in the city or in the county,” Gore continued. “A well-planned site could lead to increased tourism opportunities, which would be good for all the businesses that cater to the speedway.”
Candidate Mendonsa said he is confident the county and the All American Speedway will resolve any issues.
“I am against moving the racetrack,” Mendonsa said. “The price to relocate the track, the necessary resources required by both local city and county government as well as the All American Speedway doesn’t show that this would be a fiscally responsible move.
“I would like to see the racetrack continue to improve its relationship with the neighborhoods by making improvements to reduce noise,” he said.
However, if ultimately moved, Mendonsa is also against putting a university at the site.
“I believe that Roseville does need a university and if elected would work with other local leaders to develop the necessary plans and relationships between the university and the city to make the dream of a university, a reality for Roseville,” said Mendonsa. “I just don’t think that the current location of the fairgrounds would be the best choice. As a former college chair, I can tell you that universities impact cities on many levels and if clear planning and decision making is not present, opportunities for economic and community enhancement can easily be missed.”
For candidate Ozenick there is no question that both venues need to be relocated. The longtime Roseville activist and former mayor wants both moved to make room for a university.
“My position is we need to move the fairgrounds which includes the speedway,” Ozenick said. “And see what can be done to put a university there.”
Ozenick said there has been a noise issue from the location for more than 30 years. He said he is not worried about losing aggregate business in the community.
“I’m not worried about (revenues) because that’s Placer County not Roseville. Roseville doesn’t get any sales tax from that facility,” he said. “The land would be annexed by the city and a university would provide an educated force that would eventually add to the sales tax and income tax of California which would come back to the city in some amount.”
Mayor Roccucci said she is glad the county is taking a closer look at the land’s use and touched on the fair’s history.
“I think if they could have kept the measures they had in place that had been for there for years that would have been one thing,” said Roccucci. “If indeed they feel they need a bigger raceway and a different kind of venue then maybe they need to have it in a different place.”
“I think we just have to look at it all. A lot of people go to the Placer County Fair. The 4hrs go there… to make sure that we still keep part of that culture here,” Roccucci said. “But maybe we can do that in Lincoln. Those are all part of those pieces we are going to have to look at it.”
She also said other locales near the fairgrounds have to be considered including Roseville Community Preschool and the National Guard’s Armory.
On a university, she said traffic along Washington Boulevard and the Seawell Underpass would have to be mitigated. “No matter where we put our university we have to look and see if it fits there and it certainly is a good thing to look at it,” said Roccucci.
Candidate Schwartz said he has no opinion on whether the fairgrounds should be moved, but that raceway owners need to accommodate residents. “I feel the county has a good tenant with a noise problem,” Schwartz said. “If they can re-mediate the noise I would suggest they keep the tenant. If the noise levels cannot be resolved then the county should end the lease.”
He is not yet sold on the idea of a university locating at the site. “A university would draw a lot of daily traffic. Washington Blvd is not suitable for thousands or more cars a day,” said Schwartz. “Noise complaints must be resolved, or a new location is needed. Not sure there is another option, but am open to hearing one.”