Council Implements New State Law Allowing Historic Automobile Race Beach Events
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
Council Members amended the County’s beach code Tuesday, to establish processes to approve and regulate historic automobile race beach events.
The Historic North Turn Legends Beach Parade of vintage race cars is one event that has become increasingly popular in a local tradition that celebrates the county’s tie to motorsports and the historic NASCAR era of racing on hard-packed sand before the speedway was built.
The annual parade replicates the 4.1-mile course along A1A and then on the beach in Ponce Inlet. The same trek that the grand national race followed in the 1940s and 1950s.
The parade takes place in February on a stretch of the beach that ordinarily is off-limits to vehicles. The federal government allows driving on portions of the county’s beaches under a permit that requires the county to safeguard protected species like sea turtles from harm.
The event takes place outside of the annual season when sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand to hatch.
According to a release, the county has sought assurances that the parade won’t harm the federal permit that allows beach driving. State Rep. Tom Leek sponsored legislation in Tallahassee at the county’s request authorizing Volusia County to pass an ordinance allowing the reenactment of a historic automobile race event on a portion of the beach where vehicles have not been previously permitted.
On Tuesday the County Council unanimously adopted the ordinance as authorized by the new state law, which creates a process for approving an eligible event if it complies with the statute and the county’s federal permit and beach habitat conservation plan.
While council member Billie Wheeler has been vocal in her support of the Legends Beach Parade, she said Tuesday’s resolution was the result of a group effort.
“This took a lot of teamwork and a lot of work on the outside and inside and persistence,” Wheeler said. “It’s a victory for our entire council. We do this as a team.”