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Sonoma Raceway to host music festival, tasting room?

Posted By Sun News On March 24, 2014 @ 10:29 am In News | Comments Disabled

Sonoma Raceway will apply for updates to its Sonoma County use permit, which would include the ability to host non-racing activities including a four-day music festival and a winery tasting room.

The new application will not propose any significant physical changes to the facility, but would redefine the raceway as a “special event and entertainment” facility. The current use permit and county general plan limit activity at the raceway to racing and related vehicle uses.

The most notable of the proposed changes would allow for a four-day music festival on the raceway grounds, utilizing existing seating and infrastructure, as well as the areas currently used for parking and camping. Although specific plans for the festival are not fully developed, the raceway envisions an event featuring nationally-recognized artists presented in an environment that showcases Sonoma restaurants, wineries, arts and culture.

“Our use permit reflects a snapshot of activity at the raceway nearly two decades ago,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “The professional sports and entertainment industry has changed dramatically in that time and our business model needs to change with it.”

The application, which will be submitted to Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department in the coming weeks, represents the raceway’s first effort to make significant changes to its operating conditions in 17 years. The raceway last applied for a major permit revision in the spring of 1997, which resulted in the entitlements for a $100 million modernization of the facility’s infrastructure and amenities.

“The revisions we’ve proposed will create a platform for the raceway to succeed as a business in the coming decades,” Page said, “and to continue as a major regional economic contributor, while maintaining reasonable limits on any disruptive impacts on the local environment.”

The application, which will be submitted to Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department in the coming weeks, represents the raceway’s first effort to make significant changes to its operating conditions in 17 years. The raceway last applied for a major permit revision in the spring of 1997, which resulted in the entitlements for a $100 million modernization of the facility’s infrastructure and amenities.

“Sonoma Raceway is one of the world’s premier centers for motor racing and automotive events, and that will always be our core mission,” said Page. “However, we also have the facilities and expertise to host a broader array of activities that can help grow our business and benefit the community at large.”


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