Decade-Long Battle: Michigan Dragway Faces Another Lawsuit, Challenging Validity of Permit and Racing Activity

Onondaga Township, Michigan – For over a decade, the future of a ⅛-mile dragway in Onondaga Township has remained uncertain, as it has been entangled in a series of legal battles. The dragway, now known as Sloan’s Onondaga Dragway, initially opened its doors in the 1970s before closing down. However, in 2013, it reopened and soon found itself facing a lawsuit from local residents who claimed that the noise from the dragway negatively impacted their property values. The legal dispute has been marked by twists and turns, with the case bouncing back and forth between courts. Finally, in 2019, an Ingham County judge ruled in favor of the residents, declaring the dragway a nuisance.

Following the ruling, the previous owners stated that they had no intention of continuing racing operations. However, years later, a new owner took over the dragway, and racing activities resumed to some extent. Nevertheless, on November 6, a new lawsuit was filed, once again seeking to shut down the dragway. This time, the case brings forward different arguments, with Andrew Concannon, the attorney behind the new litigation, focusing on the local officials’ decisions that allowed the dragway to host races. The lawsuit names both the dragway and Onondaga Township as defendants, and Concannon is confident in the merits of his claims.

Concannon argues that the township should not have issued the special use permit in the first place, as the township’s zoning rules do not permit drag racing. Furthermore, he highlights a period of inactivity at the track, stating that no racing took place between 2019 and the new owner’s takeover in February 2021. Based on township zoning rules, this inactivity would render the special use permit invalid after a period of 180 days without racing.

As of now, the township and the dragway have been made aware of the lawsuit but have yet to respond in court. The fate of the Onondaga Township dragway rests once again in the hands of Michigan judges.