17.63.005    Definitions

17.63.007    Purpose and intent

17.63.010    Application of chapter

17.63.015    Conditional use permit required

17.63.020    Applications for conditional use permits

17.63.025    Action on permit applications

17.63.030    Operational requirements

17.63.035    Amendment or modification to permit

17.63.040    Termination of conditional use permits

17.63.045    Appeals

17.63.050    Penalties and remedies

17.63.200    Nonconforming uses

17.63.005 DEFINITIONS.

(A)    For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:

•    “Commercial race track” means a race track where prizes, goods, or services are offered for sale or profit, including admission fee.

•    “Commission” means the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning Commission.

•    “Decibel” means a unit of measurement describing the amplitude of sound pressure waves, relative to the standard reference level of 20 micropascals.

•    “One-time annual race” means a race which occurs annually, but only once per year.

•    “Owner, operator or manager” means any natural person responsible for the actual operation and management of a race track.

•    “Race event” means a day in which a race track is open to the public for the purpose of holding a race.

•    “Race track” means a prepared route traveled by contestants to achieve goals of skill, duration, or speed, including practice for such events, also known as raceway or race course.

•    “Site” means all lots and parcels, any part of a lot, parcel, or water body which is occupied or used by a race track, or by uses that directly support or are ancillary to the use of the race track.

•    “Sound level” is that quantity measured by a sound level meter using A-weighting (dBA) and the “slow” setting. Lmax is the maximum instantaneous sound level occurring during a noise event, as displayed on a sound meter showing the Lmax parameter or by direct continuous observation of sound levels. Leq is a time-integrated summation of all sound levels as measured during the lesser of the period of the noise event or a three-minute period during the noise event. Leq is often referred to as an average sound level.

(Ord. 18-021, § 2, 2019; Ord. 13-144, § 2, 2014; Ord. 06-228(AM), § 2, 2006; Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    It is the intent of this section to allow commercial motorized race tracks to operate within the borough while minimizing negative impacts to the public.

(B)    This section is not intended to regulate race tracks that are solely for personal use.

(Ord. 18-021, § 3, 2019; Ord. 13-144, § 3, 2014)


(A)    This chapter applies in all areas of the borough except where the use is prohibited by ordinance within a special land use district. Where a special land use district regulates race tracks as a conditional use, the granting of a conditional use permit shall require compliance with the conditions of this section. Where this section is in conflict with the conditional use permit conditions of the special land use district, the most restrictive conditions shall apply.

(B)    This chapter does not apply within the cities of Houston, Palmer, or Wasilla.

(C)    This chapter applies only to commercial race tracks.

(D)    Commercial race tracks which host ten or fewer events per year are considered “small-scale” and do not require a permit under this section.

(1)    Small-scale race tracks shall comply with the requirements of MSB 17.63.020(I)(3), (8), and (10).

(2)    Small-scale race tracks shall register with the borough 30 days prior to operating and shall renew such registration every year. Upon registration or renewal the following shall be submitted to the borough:

(a)    location of the event;

(b)    anticipated number of events which will be held per year; and

(c)    signed acknowledgment that the responsible party is aware of, and will maintain compliance with, the requirements of this subsection.

(3)    If the owner, operator, agent or land upon which a small-scale operation exists is convicted of three citations involving a violation of this chapter, the small-scale designation is revoked and a conditional use permit under this chapter is required.

(E)    Commercial race tracks which host more than ten events per year are considered “large-scale” and require a conditional use permit in accordance with this chapter.

(F)    This chapter does not apply to events which are held on waterbodies.

(Ord. 18-021, § 4, 2019; Ord. 13-144, § 4, 2014; Ord. 06-215, § 3, 2006: Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)     No large-scale commercial race track used by motorized vehicles carrying people on land, ice, or snow may be operated or maintained in those areas of the borough described in MSB 17.63.010 unless a conditional use permit has been approved for that use by the commission.

(B)    A permit may be issued only for one race track business located at a fixed and certain place. Any person who desires to operate more than one race track business must have a separate conditional use permit for each race track business.

(C)    A permit issued under this chapter cannot be transferred to another location.

(D)    Amusement tracks which solely operate vehicles commonly referred to as “go carts” are exempt from the provisions of this chapter provided:

(1)    the vehicles are owned by the track business;

(2)    are speed governed, four cycle, muffled engines;

(3)    are rated at less than seven hp;

(4)    that off-street parking is provided, equal to one and one-half times the number of go carts.

(E)    One-time annual races are exempt from the provisions of this chapter, but may be subject to a special events permit as outlined in MSB 8.55, Special Events.

(F)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 5, 2019]

(G)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 5, 2019]

(H)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 5, 2019]

(Ord. 18-021, § 5, 2019; Ord. 13-144, § 5, 2014; Ord. 06-228(AM), § 3, 2006; Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    Applications for conditional use permits under this chapter shall be made on a form provided by the planning and land use department. Applications shall be dated by and filed with the planning clerk.

(B)    Applications for conditional use permits shall contain:

(1)    the name of the race track business and its address, the name of the owner, and legal description of the property upon which the business will be located;

(2)    the written authorization of the owner of the property, including land and buildings, for the applicant to use that property as proposed;

(3)    the application shall also identify a natural person as the contact person for purposes of the application and official communications from the borough;

(4)    the name, and current mailing address of the person or persons who will operate or manage the business;

(5)    if the applicant is a corporation, the name of the corporation, the date and state of incorporation, the name and address of its registered agent, and all officers and directors of the corporation;

(6)    a detailed site plan or as-built drawing prepared to scale which shows the location and dimensions of the real property used for the business, the exterior dimensions of existing and proposed buildings or structures to be used for the race track business, all points of pedestrian and vehicle access, buffering and landscaping, drainage, traffic circulation patterns, exterior illumination, location of employee and customer parking, location and orientation of public address system and loud speakers, and the general location of the race track itself.

(7)    a non-refundable application fee, established by the assembly, and made payable to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

(8)    a plan of operations describing the proposed use in detail sufficient to demonstrate compliance with all applicable borough ordinances, standards, and conditions. At a minimum this submittal shall also include:

(a)    evidence of compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws regarding the proposed use;

(b)    a detailed description of all major activity proposed to occur on-site, including motorized race track activity;

(c)    a generalized schedule of events indicating the days and time of days specific types of races and other uses of the property will occur;

(d)    a description of the security and safety measures proposed to protect spectators, participants, and the public;

(e)    such other documents, information, and materials as may be required by the planning commission or director of planning; and

(f)    a detailed description of the methods to be used to limit, mitigate, and manage the amount of noise generated by race track and other activities. The description shall discuss both vehicular and non-vehicular noise.

(C)    The applicant should demonstrate that the appearance, scale of operation, size, and types of activities proposed are reasonably compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and the requirements of the district in which the facility is located.

(D)    The applicant for a race track must demonstrate that the existing road service to the site is sufficient to facilitate access by patrons and participants without creating an unreasonable negative traffic load or a safety impact to the public rights-of-way and the neighborhoods affected by access to the site. As a condition of approval, the planning commission may require a traffic impact analysis be prepared by an engineer registered in the state of Alaska and mitigation of negative impact as reported in the traffic impact analysis and may require upgrades and other improvements necessary to minimize negative impact to traffic circulation in the vicinity of the permit site.

(E)     The property owner and the permittee shall be responsible for maintaining all aspects of the operation, improvements, development, and site in compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit and all applicable local, state, and federal requirements.

(F)    [Repealed by Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014]

(G)    [Repealed by Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014]

(H)    [Repealed by Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014]

(I)    In addition to all other applicable laws, rules, permit conditions, and standards, race tracks shall meet the following standards:

(1)    Race tracks may not generate traffic, light, glare, noise, odor, smoke, electrical interference, vibration, or dust that causes a nuisance off the permitted site.

(2)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 9, 2019]

(3)    The race track facility shall control adequate, convenient, and appropriate facilities, including parking and restrooms, necessary to provide for the needs of the participants, employees, and spectators.

(4)    Drainage must meet the following criteria:

(a)    Surface water, storm water, and other drainage must be managed to avoid pollution and damage in accordance with an approved plan.

(5)    Lighting sufficient to enhance public safety shall be provided as required and deemed appropriate for the season by the planning commission.

(6)    The planning commission may require the race track and associated facilities that are not located within a building to be contained within a continuous solid fence no less than eight feet in height, if such requirement is necessary to prevent the unsightly display of the yard or for public safety purposes. Fences may be of one or a combination of the following:

(a)    conventional solid wood or metal fencing;

(b)    evergreen or other natural planting sufficient to provide year-round screening; or

(c)    earthen berm for topography;

(d)    In all cases of subsections (I)(6)(a) through (c) of this section, the visual buffer provided shall be continuous and of sufficient density and height to provide visual screening required by this chapter during times in which the race track is in operation.

(7)    All race tracks and associated facilities shall be maintained in a safe, clean condition. Except as specifically authorized under this section, the storage, keeping, or disposal of junk or trash or hazardous material at a race track site is prohibited except for incidental amounts kept for no more than 30 consecutive days to facilitate recycling and proper disposal at an approved disposal site.

(8)    Racetrack operations, including practice and training, are permitted seven days a week, with weekday hours being any consecutive four hours between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. and weekend hours being anytime between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., except that weekend hours apply during weekdays for race events. For conditional use permits being approved by the planning commission, the commission may vary the hours and days of operations.

(9)    [Repealed by Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014]

(10)    Sound originating on the site may not exceed either of the applicable following limits when measured anywhere along the boundaries of the site:

(a)    when the site is within 2,000 feet of a residential district or a residential neighborhood containing one or more lots developed for or restricted to residential use at the time the application is made, 60 dBA Leq and 70 dBA Lmax;

(b)    when the site is within 2,000 feet of a commercial district or three or more lots developed for commercial use at the time the application is made, and none of the conditions of subsection (I)(10)(a) of this section exist, 65 dBA Leq and 75 dBA Lmax; and

(c)    when none of the conditions of subsections (I)(10)(a) or (b) of this section exist at the time the application is made, 70 dBA Leq and 75 dBA Lmax.

(d)    For any sound which is of short duration, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. the levels established in subsections (I)(10)(a) through (c) of this section may be increased by:

(i)    Five dB(A) for a total of 15 minutes in any one hour; or

(ii)    Ten dB(A) for a total of five minutes in any hour; or

(iii)    Fifteen dB(A) for a total of one and one-half minutes in any one-hour period.

(J)    [Repealed by Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014]

(K)    The applicant shall pay the costs of postage for all mailings to property owners, community councils, and other parties required for action on the permit applications.

(Ord. 18-021, §§ 6 – 9, 2019; Ord. 13-144, § 6, 2014; Ord. 06-228(AM), § 4, 2006; Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    The planning and land use director shall determine whether an application for a conditional use permit under this chapter is complete and meets the requirements of MSB 17.63.020. If the application meets the requirements of MSB 17.63.020, the planning and land use director shall forward the application and the director’s analysis and recommendations to the commission for public hearing under this section.

(B)    An application which conforms to MSB 17.63.020 shall be heard by the commission at a public hearing. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided under MSB 17.03, except that notice shall be published and mailed at least 30 days before the date of the public hearing to all property owners within at least one mile of the exterior boundary of the property described in the application.

(C)    After a public hearing, and upon review of the planning and land use director’s analysis and recommendations, the commission shall consider:

(1)    whether the proposed use, even with mitigation, would be incompatible with and adversely affect surrounding residential neighborhoods;

(2)    whether the proposed use would adversely affect property values of surrounding areas;

(3)    whether the proposed use would create unreasonable noise, visual blight, glare, obtrusive advertising, or dust;

(4)    whether the proposed use would adversely affect the safe and efficient flow of traffic on any highway, arterial, collector, or street from which access to and from the business;

(5)    whether there are adequate parking facilities to accommodate a reasonably expected increased demand for parking generated by the business;

(6)    the effectiveness of any measures proposed by the applicant or any other person to reduce any negative effect upon adjacent neighborhoods by property line buffers and roadway buffers, planted berms, landscaping, lowered building elevation, clustering with other commercial establishments, and use of frontage roads to reduce the number of entries and exits onto highways, arterials, and collectors, and, where surrounding area is predominantly residential in character, site, and building design features that contribute to the residential character of surrounding development; and

(7)    whether the proposed site plans and plan of operations, together with any amendments thereto, are consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(D)    Within 30 days of the public hearing on an application made under this chapter the commission shall render a decision on the application, make specific findings required by law, and grant or deny the application.

(E)    The commission may grant a conditional use permit under this chapter only if the applicant shows, and the commission finds:

(1)    that the proposed use is compatible with or will not materially detract from the value, character, and integrity of the surrounding area; and

(2)    that granting the conditional use permit will not be harmful to the public health, safety, convenience, and welfare.

(Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    Amplified sound shall be directed away from surrounding neighborhoods and shall be focused within the confines of the race track facility.

(B)    Conditional use permits and the terms and conditions imposed by the commission shall be displayed on the premises for which the permit is issued and in a location readily seen by patrons.

(C)    Every race track business shall require its operator or manager to ensure that no bottles, litter, trash, garbage, junk, or other refuse is stored or abandoned by any person on site except in sanitary, closed receptacles.

(D)    Every race track business shall ensure that the documents and information supplied to the borough in connection with approval of a conditional use permit remain current and are periodically updated where necessary.

(Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    Upon the request of the planning and land use director and with the same notice to the applicant and public as required under MSB 17.63.025 for consideration of new applications, the commission shall conduct a public hearing over whether a conditional use permit issued under this chapter shall be amended or modified.

(B)    No permit may be amended or modified by the commission unless the person or entity to whom the permit was originally issued and the legal owner of the real property upon which the business is conducted has been given at least 30 days’ notice prior to the hearing scheduled under this section, an explanation prepared by the planning and land use director of the reasons for the proposed action, and an opportunity to be heard before the commission.

(Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 10, 2019]

(B)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 10, 2019]

(C)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 10, 2019]

(D)    Except as otherwise specified by code, a conditional use permit issued under this chapter will become null and void under the following conditions:

(1)    notification of termination of the permit for failure to comply with an order to correct violations of a conditional use permit;

(2)    failure to initiate the use for which the conditional use permit was issued within five years of the date of the permit issuance; and

(3)    cessation of the use for which the conditional use was issued for a period exceeding five consecutive years.

(Ord. 18-021, § 10, 2019: Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)

17.63.045 APPEALS.

(A)    An appeal from a decision of the commission granting, denying, or modifying a conditional use permit under this chapter may be filed by any aggrieved party under MSB 15.39.

(Ord. 18-021, § 11, 2019: Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 12, 2019]

(B)    [Repealed by Ord. 18-021, § 12, 2019]

(C)    Remedies, enforcement actions, and penalties shall be consistent with the terms and provisions of MSB 1.45.

(D)    In addition to other applicable penalties, failure to correct the violation of code, after reasonable notice, may result in revocation of the permit.

(E)    Complaints received by the borough of violations of state or federal law will be forwarded to the appropriate agency for enforcement.

(F)    Authorized representatives of the borough shall be allowed to inspect the site and related records at reasonable times for the purpose of monitoring compliance with all permit conditions.

(G)    The permittee shall assist and cooperate with authorized inspections upon reasonable notice from the borough.

(Ord. 18-021, § 12, 2019: Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)


(A)    At the date of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter, or amendments thereto, uses and structures which were lawful before the effective date of applicable regulations, but which would otherwise be prohibited, regulated, or restricted under this chapter. Such existing nonconforming uses are regulated under this chapter.

(B)    Except as specifically provided for by code, this chapter does not require the relocation or removal of a nonconforming use existing or under construction at the time of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter if such use was lawful at the time of its construction. No nonconforming use shall be constructed or operated except in accordance with these regulations, except to the extent it was in existence or under actual construction as of the effective date of the ordinance codified herein or amendment thereto. “Actual construction” is defined as the substantial placement of construction materials and performance of labor for construction of facilities which cannot reasonably be used except in a manner which does not conform with these regulations.

(C)    Nonconforming uses under construction or in existence as of the date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall apply for approval of their use within 90 days of the effective date of such ordinance or of a later amendment which makes the use nonconforming. The planning director shall grant approval of the nonconforming use if it complies with the requirements of this chapter excepting only those facilities and improvement which were under construction or in existence prior to the effective date of the respective regulations. The nonconforming use shall meet all other requirements of this chapter within 12 months which are not in conflict with the pre-existing use or construction.

(D)    No existing nonconforming use shall be expanded to include an adjacent parcel or parcels unless the area of expansion meets the requirements of this chapter, except that contiguous, unplatted tracts constituting a block of land in the same ownership held for the same purpose on April 17, 1984, and containing a nonconforming use permitted under subsection (C) of this section shall be considered one parcel. No nonconforming use which is abandoned shall be used until it meets the requirements of this chapter. “Abandonment” is defined as a discontinuation of use of a nonconforming use, or a discrete portion or parcel thereof, or the failure to complete construction and begin use, for a continuous period of more than one year. If abandoned, the land shall not thereafter be used except in conformity with the requirements of this chapter.

(E)    A nonconforming use or structure may be modified upon a determination by the director of planning that the proposed modification renders the nonconforming use or structure more compatible with the surrounding land uses or reduces or eliminates noise, smoke, or dust.

(F)    A nonconforming use may be extended throughout the building or structure, or lot in or on which located, and the building in which it is located may be increased in size; provided, however, that any such increase in size of the building or of the use will not increase the lot area covered beyond 75 percent of the area covered by the use at the time the use became nonconforming and further provided that any such extension will conform to applicable height, side, front, and rear yard setbacks.

(Ord. 13-144, § 7, 2014: Ord. 01-118 (AM by SUB 2), § 3 (part), 2001)