Formula One floated in San Juan Bautista

Track and amenities mulled for 550-acre ranch

San Juan Bautista planning commissioners will revisit an ambitious proposal to transform a nearby 550-acre ranch into a world-class car racing destination at its regular meeting next week. On August 1, the five-member board will hear from WY2M, Inc., a Los Gatos-based company that wants to bring Formula One Grand Prix and GP Moto Racing to San Benito County.

The proposal, which includes a raceway, convention center, eateries, luxury condominiums and hotel, as well as high-end shops and boutiques, was initially considered by the San Benito County Interagency Review Committee on June 15. The committee noted several potential areas of concern, including noise and traffic impacts and availability of water and sewer capacity, and directed the applicant, WY2M president, William Yao, to “formally engage the City of San Juan Bautista and its special service districts to see if such a proposal would be welcomed by them.”

The proposal, Motor & Technology Center of Excellence, is still in its very early stages of the preliminary review process, according to San Juan Bautista staff, and was initially heard at the city’s planning commission meeting on July 10 but was continued due to some of the commissioners not being available for the entire duration of the meeting.

The 550-acre parcel under consideration, property owned by the Nyland Trust, is located just outside the city across Highway 156 near Lausen Drive, and is currently for sale, according to San Benito Reality, which has the listing and describes the property as containing open grassland, some heavily wooded areas and two lakes. According to application documents, the $300 million proposal includes $4 million to purchase the property.

In a June letter to WY2M, Inc. President Yao, the San Benito County Resource Management Agency states such a proposal would be “character re-defining for the region, but many of the infrastructure and support utilities would need the corroboration from the City of San Juan Bautista, as well as the County.”

Already, San Juan Bautista residents are making their opinions heard about this ambitious proposal. In a two-page letter to the San Juan Bautista Planning Commission, resident Emily Renzel outlines her concerns relating to fuel and oil storage, garbage disposal, traffic and parking, water quality, noise and impacts to wildlife. “A picture is worth a thousand words. The Formula One track in Austin TX gives a pretty good idea of what we could expect with this proposal. It is built on 1500 acres and seems to have some parking/shuttle arrangement with downtown Austin. No such arrangement is possible anywhere near San Juan Bautista.

Please convey to the San Benito County Resources Agency that this proposal is completely

unacceptable to the City of San Juan Bautista,” she concludes.

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