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Changes at Placer County Fairgrounds following Grand Jury report

Report recommends contract between Placer County and Placer County Fair Association be terminated
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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As All American Speedway in Roseville gears up for the new season starting Saturday, changes are in store for the Placer County Fairgrounds following a grand jury report released March 20.

The Placer County Grand Jury found the current contract to run the annual Placer County Fair between Placer County and the Placer County Fair Association illegal. The report found the county negligent in failing to terminate that contract.

The report recommends the contract be terminated and a new nonprofit agency be selected to oversee the fairgrounds.

According to the report, the county was also negligent in monitoring the association's compliance with the terms of the contract, which allowed the association to undertake major structural modifications to the speedway without getting approval from the county.

Roseville residents have been complaining of excessive noise from the racetrack for the past few years, following track expansions that allowed for NASCAR-sanctioned races, according to a previous grand jury report released in February 2011. That report revealed improvements made in 2007 were never approved by the county.

The association's CEO John Javidan, hired in late December, said he's disappointed with the grand jury's recommendations.

During last year's season, the association contracted with J.C. Brennan and Associates to identify noise control improvements to reduce noise impact on nearby residences.

"We never intended to negatively impact the community in any way," Javidan said. "Our objective has always been to encourage an atmosphere that the community could be proud of and we hope to once again be not only positive revenue for the community but a good neighbor as well." 

The speedway has reduced the overall number of days the track is open for business from six to four days a week. The association has also modified pit speakers, replaced grandstand speakers, installed a sound wall and established sound limits on individual race vehicles.

"We have voluntarily cut our hours of operation to stop all racing at 10 p.m. rather than 11 p.m. to show our intent on working with the community," Javidan said. "Over the past two racing seasons, all racing events have been scheduled to finish by 10 p.m. and we have done a very good job of keeping that schedule."

New speedway Manager Jeff Munro said they've made "great strides."

"Some simple, like caulking seams in the sound wall, installing clear panels over viewing ports (to be in place mid-April)," Munro said. "Minimal stuff, but stuff the report spelled out so we are in compliance. We have obtained most of the permits."

Munro said they also implemented more requirements on race cars, including mufflers.

"The drivers (and) cars will be monitored with penalties," he said.

The report also says the association has shifted the cost of environmental studies that should have preceded modifications to taxpayers. These studies still need to be conducted.

According to the report, the association benefitted from its wrongdoing.

"For nearly five years, the association has refused to sign a revised contract to incorporate additional safeguards, controls and oversight needed to remedy several environmental problems created when it modified the speedway," according to the report.

Yet, Placer County allowed the contract to continue.

Sports Editor Bill Poindexter contributed to this report.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.