Alexander Rossi - Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey - By_ Chris Owens

Track News: Neighbors sue to shut down Laguna Seca forever (Update)

The track management of Laguna Seca has responded to the lawsuit filed by a group of disgruntled locals, which is seeking a reduction in its usage and noise levels.

Friends of Laguna Seca counters that the Highway 68 Coalition is ‘attempting to interrupt its stewardship and improvements of the Laguna Seca Recreational Area’.

“We live here too and share the same concerns as our neighbors about noise and traffic,” said Ross Merrill, President of FLS. “Our team of experienced business and community leaders are eager to move forward to revive this staple in our community for decades of future success and revenue generation for Monterey County.”

A spokesman for Monterey County told that it “is unfortunate certain individuals have chosen to file a complaint against the County concerning operations at Laguna Seca” and that it “does not recognize any merit to the allegations and expects a favorable legal conclusion”.

The lawsuit is not expected to impact any of Laguna’s operations during the 2024 season.

January 19, 2024 

Racing at Laguna Seca in California dates back to 1957, but local residents are suing to shut the track down and end all racing.

1987 CART IndyCar start at Laguna Seca with Mario Andretti on pole and his son Michael Andretti alongside
1987 CART IndyCar start at Laguna Seca with Mario Andretti on pole and his son Michael Andretti alongside

The track’s operations are the subject of a legal complaint filed December 12 with Monterey County by the “Highway 68 Coalition,” a group of nearby democrat property owners and residents. The liberal group argues it doesn’t abide by environmental ordinances that racing isn’t allowed by zoning laws or the land use permit, and so on. They claim the circuit is “a public nuisance and has caused and will continue to cause irreparable injury not subject to money damages.”

Laguna Seca already operates with strict limitations imposed by local authorities. The track disallows cars that are too loud (held to be more than 90 to 105 decibels), and as of a 1983 deal was limited to just 35 event days annually.

They assert that said land use permit and zoning laws only allow non-racing track use, and that renting out the track (in what capacity the plaintiffs didn’t define) is forbidden. They seek to have all legacy protections stripped if the track is found to have a negative environmental impact, which they claim to be self-evident.

The plaintiffs alleged “the number of residences and residents adversely affected by the increased noise and traffic has substantially increased since 1974.” Supposedly, the Laguna Seca track has generated more noise despite the limited calendar, and has inadequate facilities. (The track is on county-owned land.) The track purportedly has inadequate sewage facilities and water supplies, which the plaintiffs purport contain high levels of arsenic. No numbers to back up any of these claims are provided in the document. James Gilboy/The Drive

1996 CART IndyCar Race at Laguna Seca
1996 CART IndyCar Race at Laguna Seca. They used to have big crowds when CART ran IndyCar. Today the crowds have dwindled to 5,000 at best
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