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Will new residents sound off about racetrack noise?

Two more housing developments are being proposed within a few miles of two racetracks in Manatee County.

The yellow outlines show the properties being proposed for two more housing developments along State Road 64.
The yellow outlines show the properties being proposed for two more housing developments along State Road 64.
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How far does sound travel?

It's a question for future homebuyers along the State Road 64 corridor in Manatee County as developments continue to sprawl east toward two racetracks — Bradenton Motorsports Park and the Freedom Factory.

Two housing developments are being proposed for the intersection of S.R. 64 and Lighterwood Trail. Bradenton Motorsports is 2.2 miles to the east of the intersection and Freedom Factory just beyond. 

If both projects are approved, another 918 units will be added to the more than 11,000 residential units already approved within five miles of the racetracks. 

Two previously approved projects, Taylor Ranch and East River Ranch, are being built close to the tracks, and east of the Future Development Area Boundary. SMR Taylor Ranch will build 4,500 homes just to the west of the racetracks, and Carlos Beruff will build 5,378 homes to the east.

The two new projects, along with Palm Grove by Neal Communities, are to the west of the development boundary. Palm Grove is under construction on the west side of SR 64 between Uihlein Road and Bourneside Boulevard. The project is adding 930 homes, townhomes and villas to the area. 

The first proposed, but not yet approved, project was submitted by SMR Northeast. It will be heard by the planning commission on April 11 and go before the Board of County Commissioners on May 2. 

The application requests a rezone of 85 acres to build 600 multi-family units, 84 single-family attached units and 75 single-family detached units. The property is located south of S.R. 64 between Uihlein Road and Lighterwood Trail. 

The second proposed development is on the other side of Lighterwood Trail, still south of S.R. 64. Arizona-based B2R Partners 2, LLC is the developer. 

The proposal is for 159 mixed residential units on about 30 acres. Of the total units, 97 are proposed as single family homes and 62 as “single family attached,” so the units could be either townhomes or villas.

With Lakewood Ranch schools like B.D. Gullett Elementary already are over capacity and with so many new homes proposed for the area, Manatee County is building a K-8 school to the south of the two proposed housing projects on Academic Avenue. 

The elementary school is expected to be open for the 2025-2026 school year with the middle school opening the following school year. 

A school being three miles from a racetrack isn’t as big of an issue. Tracks are typically active during the evenings and weekends when school is out. 

Homeowners need to decide for themselves if the noise will be a nuisance. 

When East River Ranch was approved in May 2023, Garrett Mitchell, aka Cleetus McFarland of the Freedom Factory, told commissioners that thousands of homeowners will likely be woken up every Sunday morning from the noise coming from his track. 

“Buyer beware,” Commission Chair Mike Rahn said. “The noise ordinance at the racetrack has been grandfathered in. So if somebody buys out there and complains about the noise, I’m sorry.”

Both Mitchell and Victor Alvarez, owner of Bradenton Motorsports, have been vocal for years that surrounding their tracks with residential development is a recipe for failure. 

“The homeowners complain until the racetracks are overrun (by local government),” Mitchell told commissioners during a December 2022 land use meeting regarding Taylor Ranch. “Having future homeowners sign a disclosure that the track is there is not enough.”

Both Taylor Ranch and East River Ranch must require buyers to sign a notice that acknowledges there is an active racetrack and drag strip in the area. 

Will that solve the problem? Time will tell.

A track in California, Laguna Seca Raceway, has been active since 1957, which predates the majority of homes that now surround it. Still, the track was sued in December 2023 for the noise it produces.

Neighbors formed a group called the Highway 68 Coalition and filed suit against the racetrack and Monterey County. The complaint wasn’t based on noise alone. The coalition complained about traffic and alleged that the track was violating zoning and environmental laws, too.

The lawsuit was settled in March. It cost Monterey County $75,000 in fees for the coalition’s lawyers and the track owner up to $2 million in sound mitigation.

Laguna Seca only operates 35 days a year. Between Bradenton Motorsports and the Freedom Factory, there are 30 events scheduled over the next two months.

In May 2023, then-Commissioner Vanessa Baughn said the Manatee County Commissioner was clear on protecting the racetracks.

“I thought we were pretty clear before, the board was, on how important the racetrack is in this situation. It’s been there 50 years,” Baugh said at the time. “This is in my district, and so I don’t mind the development being there. But I’m not going to take a 50-year-old business and just demolish it because of it.”

The notice to potential homeowners specifies that there is “an active drag strip and racetrack facilities that are producing noise,” McFarland told the commission in May 2023. "Even with barrier walls, it will probably be waking thousands of homeowners up every Sunday morning because of races.

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that Star Farms is part of Taylor Ranch.



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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