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Neighbors raise concerns over proposed concerts at Santa Maria Raceway

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 00:28:13-05

Some neighboring residents are speaking out about the Santa Maria Raceway’s application to hold up to six concerts at the venue next year.

The raceway has been operating for more than 50 years and has held many non-racing events but neighbors say it’s become a safety concern as more concerts are being planned.

George Bomely says his concerns, along with others who live near the raceway, are only for non-racing events, specifically concerts.

"We didn't react and the neighbors didn't react to the speedway, we reacted to the start of the concerts. Not to the idea of the concerts, to the reality of the concerts," Bomely said.

Due to the pandemic, the raceway, like many other businesses, has been hit hard financially. The stadium's general manager says holding events like concerts are the only way to stay afloat.

"It's important that when we are able to go back into operation that we are able to go back in the way that we have done it for years so we can try to recoup some of the losses from 2020," said David Casteneda, Santa Maria Raceway manager.

He adds that he and his team understand the issues nearby residents have regarding traffic.

"You have a two-lane road without passing ability, people trying to get in and out of the concert, emergency vehicles won't be able to make it through either direction. I believe it'll be an impossible situation," Bomely said.

It's a tough situation the raceway team says they want to mitigate.

"So that's a problem for us and for the residents. They don't like people up there either so that's something we think we can work with them on," Castenada said.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to allow the venue to host the proposed concert series.