DEL MAR — City Council members took steps Monday night to stiffen the city's noise abatement ordinance in an attempt to prevent Grand Prix-type auto racing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Mayor Arlene Carsten, who proposed the new noise laws governing special events, said the city's present noise ordinance simply states that noise should not reach "unreasonable" levels. The ordinance the council directed its staff to draft would adopt the county's maximum noise level of 55 decibels.
Christopher Pook, spokesman for the auto racing group seeking a seven-year contract at the fairgrounds, said his organization could enforce noise limits on the cars of 110 decibels at a 50-foot distance.
Pook admitted to the council and to angry Del Mar residents that the two weekend racing events would be very noisy, but stressed that only daytime racing would be conducted for a maximum of five hours a day for the six days of racing between Oct. 27 and Nov. 10, 1986.
The Del Mar Fair board gave tentative approval to the racing event two weeks ago, contingent on approval by the California Coastal Commission and racing groups.
Pook, whose organization also conducts the Long Beach Grand Prix and races in half a dozen other cities, said the fair board contract is for seven years.
Former City Atty. Dwight Worden admitted that there is a question whether the city can enforce noise limits on the fairgrounds, a state-owned property. However, he said, the council probably has the power because the racing is an off-season event "conducted purely for profit."
The fair board, which operates the fairgrounds, announced earlier this year that it was seeking events other than the fair and seven-week thoroughbred racing season to boost fairground revenues.
But Del Mar residents Monday night let the race operators know that they didn't like the idea of "living next to an Indianapolis Speedway."
The council unanimously voted to have its staff draft the stiffer noise ordinance. It also approved formation of a council-fair board committee to review off-season events and attempt to avoid similar problems.