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Branson racetrack developers face suit

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Branson Sports Entertainment Complex LLC faces a lawsuit in Taney County Circuit Court after a party opposed to BSEC’s construction of a $250 million racetrack facility had its appeal thrown out at a Nov. 16 board of adjustment meeting. With the developers also losing two appeals to meet noise restrictions and complete infrastructure improvements ahead of starting operations, a hearing to reconsider those appeals has been set for Dec. 21 in Forsyth, the county seat.

Paul Vozar and Ozarks Extreme Sports Complex Inc. filed suit Nov. 17 against racetrack developer Russell Cook and BSEC for breach of contract. The suit claims that Cook, organizer of BSEC, entered into a confidentiality agreement with Vozar on Jan. 25, 2010, concerning Vozar’s business plans to bring a racing and entertainment complex to the land that Cook now owns and is actively developing for his racing complex.

Following a roughly six-month period during which Vozar tried to secure financing for his project, Cook established BSEC and moved forward with his own plans, which utilized confidential research and intellectual material from Vozar, according to the complaint.  

Calls to Vozar’s attorney, Grant Johnson, of Springfield, and BSEC officials were not returned by deadline. No hearing date had been set as of this morning.

In July, the Taney Court Planning & Zoning Commission approved BSEC’s plans for the roughly 800-acre racetrack complex near Ridgedale with a set of conditions. Five parties, including Vozar, appealed that decision unsuccessfully through the county Board of Adjustment.

On Nov. 16, Vozar’s appeal to the board to stop the BSEC development was denied. At that same meeting, BSEC had two of its own appeals related to noise restrictions and infrastructure requirements rejected, and now the company is asking the county board to reconsider its decisions for the Dec. 21 hearing.

Bob Atchley, Planning & Zoning administrator for Taney County, said only BSEC requested a rehearing on the Board of Adjustment’s decision concerning the appeals.

At the Dec. 21 hearing, the board will make a determination on whether BSEC would face substantial injury if its cases against noise restriction and infrastructure requirements are not heard, and if the developers have new evidence not presented at the original hearing that could impact the decision of the board. If those conditions are met, Atchley said a rehearing would likely be granted for the board’s next scheduled public meeting on Jan. 18.

Atchley said, historically, very few cases are reconsidered.

“There has really got to be some strong evidence brought forward that wasn’t available at the original hearing for whatever reason for a rehearing to be granted,” Atchley said.

According to the conditions set in place by the Planning & Zoning commissioners, four listening stations are to be erected by BSEC a half-mile away from the facility, and the racetrack owners would be fined $5,000 for each time noise from the facility exceeds 68 decibels. BSEC officials said at the board meeting that they are working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to enter into a cost-sharing agreement on improvements to the U.S. Highway 65 and Highway 86 intersection, according to Atchley.

Taney County has a performance-based system of zoning, Atchley said, which means that individual property owners submit an application to use their land for specific purposes to the planning body instead of having predetermined zones for certain uses. Planning & Zoning officials can place specific conditions on uses based on concerns or objections of other residents or the group itself.

For more information on this story, read the Dec. 12 print or digital edition of Springfield Business Journal.[[In-content Ad]]


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