The Board of Aldermen moved the Lakeside Ashland project along Tuesday night, approving a conditional permit for an outdoor movie theater, stage, playground and lake near the airport.
Ashland Mayor Richard Sullivan noted, however, that the summer entertainment center on Log Providence Road cannot open unless fire safety and traffic conditions are met.
The entertainment center must also have approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee after the outcome of a traffic study by the Missouri Department of Transportation is submitted.
MoDOT governs the right of way to the 35-acre property, which sits at the corner of Log Providence Road and U.S. 63.
The Lakeside Ashland project plan includes a parking lot with a 200 to 250 vehicle capacity. Neighborhood residents are concerned that the narrow road will not be able to handle the volume of traffic expected when the entertainment venue opens.
They fear that cars heading to a concert or movie would block the road to ambulances and fire equipment.
“There can be no compromise about our fire safety,” resident Dennis Canote said.
Provisions in the Boone County fire code must also be met, providing two entrances and two exits to the venue before it can open, Sullivan said.
“Everything has to fall in line,” he said. “But the city is responsible for area roads, not the developer.”
Last week, the Ashland Planning and Zoning Commission tabled developer Nic Parks’ site plan based on the need to satisfy the fire safety and traffic issues. The site plan won’t come before the Board of Alderman for approval until it is passed by the commission.
At least 40 members of the neighborhood surrounding the venue attended Tuesday night’s meeting, many commenting that the noise, lights and traffic would negatively affect their quality of life.
“We had hoped that civic leaders in charge of such decisions would be mindful of our neighborhood, and they would consider how any development might impact families, home and lifestyles,” said Dan Zekor, a longtime resident.
“But alas, the doorbell never rang. A letter never arrived. There was no polling or survey.”
Several neighbors pointed out the unwanted consequences of “more lights, more noise, more people.”
Board members debated the merits of a decibel limit, which isn’t included in the city’s current nuisance ordinance.
City Attorney Nathan Nickolaus noted that Jefferson City has strict noise limits that apply to a new amphitheater. He suggested that the board consider requirements for noise and light abatement measures that have proved successful in other cities where neighborhoods are sensitive to these kind of annoyances.
Board members also questioned whether the number of concerts could be restricted. Plans are to hold concerts on Saturday nights from May to September and outdoor movies on Friday nights.
When the P&Z Commission approved the conditional permit for the project , a provision was added that entertainment end at 10 p.m. weekdays and midnight on weekends.