The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District has demanded a halt to construction of Lakeside Ashland because the development does not comply with the fire code.

In a letter to developer Nic Parks, attorneys for the Fire District said, “We write to clearly state that any further development of the Lakeside area has not been authorized or permitted by the Fire District.”

Parks is planning Lakeside Ashland to be an outdoor multi-entertainment venue off of U.S. 63. Phase One of the project includes an outdoor movie screen and amphitheater.

“We are still planning on opening in April. Nothing stopping that as of yet,” said Parks via text message.

Ashland Mayor Richard Sullivan said in a telephone interview Thursday night that the development will move forward.

“The (Planning and Zoning Commission) has spoken, has approved the site plan, and the development will move forward,” Sullivan said. “Anything between the Fire Department and the developer, that will have to be addressed between those two entities.”

The City of Ashland Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plan for the development, including a movie screen with a height of 53 feet, Tuesday night.

“Pursuant to the Fire District’s code, any such structure must have two access roads,” attorneys for the Fire District said in the letter. “As it currently sits, there is only one access road to that structure, a violation of the Fire District’s Code.”

The Lakeside Ashland site is located along East Log Providence Road. The road serves as the only entrance point to a community of about 57 homes that is outside Ashland in Boone County. Many residents have been vocal in their opposition to the development.

Ed Musterman, a Log Providence Road resident who opposes the development, said the city manager misrepresented the fire code before Tuesday’s vote.

City officials and county residents who live near the proposed venue have argued repeatedly over what fire code requirements need to be met and who is responsible for meeting them for the project to proceed.

In a letter to the City of Ashland attorney Nathan Nickolaus, Fire District attorney Clayton Thompson warned of potential public safety disasters if another access road is not built.

“The commercial use of the Lakeside Development — with the same access road used by the nearby residential subdivision — only exacerbates the potential harm to residents or attendees of events at the Lakeside Development should an emergency occur. Only one road in and out to both the neighborhood and the Lakeside Development is a public safety disaster waiting to happen,” stated the letter.

Sullivan said the city’s understanding of the fire code requires two entrances into the Lakeside Ashland property, not two entrances to the neighborhood.

MU operates Middlebush Farm adjacent to East Log Providence Road. The MU College of Veterinary Medicine website states that the farm “provides space and facilities for theriogenology instruction and veterinary medical research.”

Sullivan said the city has asked the university to allow emergency services to use that land for another access point but was denied.

Speaking for local residents in a letter to the university, Musterman said, “It is our opinion granting emergency access through Middlebush Farm simply to facilitate commercial development for the benefit of land developers, would be improper and unwise for MU as well as hazardous to our safety, health, property and lives.”

Parks said the community is excited about Lakeside Ashland. “I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community, and they can’t wait to enjoy movies there.”

Parks is CEO of The Pinball Company and Parks Amusements. He owns and operates Silverball in downtown Columbia and Level Up Entertainment in the Columbia Mall.

  • Public life reporter, fall 2021. Graduate student studying investigative journalism.

  • Fred Anklam manages city and county government reporters. He can be reached at anklamf@missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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