Canterbury is getting its “ducks in a row,” readying for when New Hampshire Motor Speedway submits a site plan application for a three-day country music festival.
Planning board officials met Tuesday night to decide how the town would handle the potential conflict and controversy over the concert proposal and a two-decade-old warrant article put in place to mitigate the track’s “detrimental effects” on residents, including noise and lower property values.
Canterbury officials haven’t taken a formal position on NHMS’s concert proposal, yet, since everything has been conceptual up to this point.
But that could change soon. The Loudon planning board voted last week to accept such a plan from NHMS when it is submitted. In the meantime, both the town and the race track are talking with attorneys about the legal issue before them: a 1989 lawsuit settlement agreement that, depending how it is interpreted, bans concerts on the speedway property not associated with a race.
NHMS is hoping to find a way around this issue – as well as other land use considerations – as it tries to bring a new, large-scale event to the speedway in the summer of 2018 after it lost one of its two major races to Las Vegas.
The concert would bring in an expected 60,000 ticket holders and would allow people to camp out.
If it were approved, the proximity of the event would impact Canterbury residents. So Loudon officials decided that an application from NHMS would be of regional impact, according to minutes from a March 23 meeting.
This means Canterbury will have a seat at the table, and planning board began deciding how to proceed when that site plan application review does come.
Given that NHMS and Loudon are already involved with lawyers – and that Loudon’s lawyer is Bart Mayer, Canterbury’s usual legal counsel – several residents and planning board members suggested Canterbury find its own attorney.
Chairman Art Rose noted that the town didn’t want to take action too…