USA International Raceway loses appeal in parking dispute from last summer

The Shawano Leader/July 28, 2006
By Tim Ryan

Midwest Amusement Park and USA International Raceway lost an appeal in Shawano County Circuit Court Thursday over citations issued for unauthorized use of an off-site parking location.

Midwest Amusement Park manager Kal Gronvall had filed a special exception request to the city in July of last year to use a location at 1501 E. Green Bay Street for additional racetrack parking. The racetrack is part of the amusement park located at W5901 County Road BE in the Town of Wescott.

According to city codes, non residential off-site parking needs to be within 750 feet of the facility being served. The racetrack is about 1.3 miles away from the Green Bay Street location.

The Common Council at a meeting in July of last year voted against a change in zoning that would have allowed off-site parking beyond that limit if there was valet or shuttle service. That vote killed Gronvall’s request by default, despite a recommendation for conditional approval by the Plan Commission.

Midwest argued that because the racetrack was using the location as "the administrative and special events center of USA International Raceway," city permission to use it as off-site parking shouldn’t have been necessary.

Midwest was cited for using the location for off-site parking on July 25 and July 30 of last year.

Midwest’s attorney, John Wirth, told Circuit Court Judge Thomas Grover Thursday that he did not believe the city’s codes cover the situation, not only because the location is the racetrack’s administrative office but because the racetrack is located outside the City of Shawano.

Grover did not go along with what he said was a confusing argument.

"I’ve struggled to understand the contention of the defense," Grover said, but added that ultimately the facts were clear.

"The long and short of it is, they never got a special exception," Grover said. "I believe the code does apply and it’s obvious they violated it."

Midwest was ordered to pay $166 for each of the two violations.

Wirth told the court his client plans to appeal.

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