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$250M Taney County racetrack approved

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Developers of the Branson Sports Entertainment Complex received approval to build a $250 million NASCAR-style racetrack near Hollister, provided they can keep the noise down.

The Taney County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the plans with a 4-2 vote after adding a clause for penalties due to excessive noise during races. The property owners would be fined $5,000 for each noise violation. Four listening stations will be erected by BSEC a half-mile away from the facility. Violations would occur if noise from the track exceeds 68 decibels.  

Commission Chairman Shawn Pingleton suggested penalties for $5,000 per decibel above 68 decibels on the first violation, $10,000 per decibel point on the second and $25,000 for the third violation and beyond. However, commission member Ray Edwards made a motion to only penalize to the tune of a single $5,000 fine for breaching the decibel limit, and that motion was approved.

A crowd of about 100 attended the meeting held in Forsyth High School’s gymnasium, and cheers erupted both for comments from one commission member's opposition to the plan and for the final vote of approval.

Member Susan Martin, who voted against the proposal, said the commission had yet to receive the economic impact study it had requested, and she expressed skepticism about the 2,000 jobs developers say the project and complex would generate.

“You’re not going to have a racetrack in this part of the country that’s going to run 12 months out of the year,” commissioner Edwards countered. “It’s something we deal with every day with the tourist industry in this area, and I think we should appreciate the jobs this would bring in.”

Other requirements placed on BSEC include providing adequate infrastructure to access the 800-acre property in accordance with county and Missouri Department of Transportation guidelines, and the use of international building codes on the construction of the stadium's seating.

Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, previously expressed opposition to the construction of the racetrack. In an open letter written in early July to Hollister and Branson area residents, Morris cited race car noise emissions and BSEC developer Russell Cook's misleading reference to an affiliation between the racetrack and Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge. Morris said no such affiliation exists. The letter is available on the Web site of Springfield Business Journal's media partner KSPR.

For more on this story, look to the July 25 print edition of the Springfield Business Journal.[[In-content Ad]]

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