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Go-kart track speeding into county
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A go-kart track is coming to Newton County, a welcome addition for those residents who say they’re starved for local entertainment options.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit to allow Monroe resident Dan Moore to open his Atlanta Gran Prix Karting business at 350 Old Oxford Road, Covington, the former, 7-acre site of a commercial truck-driving school.

Moore is leasing the property and plans to add a quarter-mile go-kart track and rent go karts to the public, with a focus on recruiting corporate events.

A business partner, the owner of Conyers-based DC Hobbies, will install separate tracks on the other, dirt half of the property for remote-controlled car and truck racing, Moore said.

Moore estimated the investment in the site could total $150,000-$250,000.

Moore hopes the quarter-mile go-kart track will be paved in January. Half of the property is already asphalt, because it was used for truck-driver training, so Moore will actually have the portion of asphalt where the track will be located torn up, milled and repaved to create a smooth track. 

  The track will be 20 feet wide, and go karts will be able to run at speeds up to 50 mph. Moore plans to have 10 to 20 karts to rent.

The track could be open by January or early February, with a grand opening planned for April. Moore hopes to attract corporate clients for events during the workweek and to have more public rentals Fridays-Sundays; however, the track will be open to the public during normal business hours unless it is being rented out.

Moore called the site a test site, because it’s quite a bit smaller than his original plans for a .75-mile track and a facility that would also sell and repair go karts and allow the public to store go karts in on-site garages. If business is successful, he could look to expand in the future.

The remote-controlled vehicle portion of the site will have a rally track, a 300-foot drag strip, a rock-crawling section and a 600- to 900-foot-long, 10-foot-wide paved track. DC Hobbies will also have a shop on site to sell and even rent remote-controlled cars and trucks. Planes won’t be allowed, because they aren’t allowed to be flown close to an interstate, Moore said.

Newton County worked with Moore throughout the process, actually creating an ordinance allowing go-kart facilities in August, after Moore first approached officials with his plans.  The 350 Old Oxford Road property is ideal for a go-kart track, Moore said, because it’s directly adjacent to Interstate 20 and doesn’t have adjacent residential properties. It is next door to the Fieldstone Center, the rock and stone supplier, and behind Sunbelt Rentals. The only issue the Newton County Planning Commission had with the property was the fact it is across the street from St. Andrews Charismatic Episcopal Church. As a result, Sunday hours will be limited to 1-6 p.m. Hours from Monday through Saturday will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Moore accepted the Sunday limitations, but said he will ask church members after a couple of months if they believe the business is quiet enough to allow for Sunday-morning hours.

"I’ve been looking for six years all over Metro Atlanta and found a location in Covington 10 miles from my house … and (had an agreement) in eight months," Moore said. "I give God the glory."