ASHLAND, Mo. — With a packed room of concerned residents, the Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to approve a conditional use permit for an outdoor amphitheater, lake and playground on the Lakeside Development.
There were around 40 residents who attended the meeting, with many voicing concerns about traffic and noise that could come with the development. A potential problem, too, could be fire safety. A second way in and out of the area will be necessary, they said.
That's something on which "there can be no compromise," one resident told the board.
Ultimately, board members followed the recommendation of city staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission, both of which had reviewed the conditional use application.
Tuesday's meeting won't be the last time the board reviews plans for the Lakeside Development; it was the first of two readings for the conditional use permit, which is not an occupancy permit.
This approval, however, advances the project — with some caveats.
"I said to the developer this morning: 'We can continue to go down these paths and explore all these things that are being requested — including the conditional permit tonight,'" Mayor Richard Sullivan said. "'But if we get all the way to the end and you haven't filled your commitment, or we haven't figured out a way to get that second exit or entrance in there, then you're not going to be able to get an occupancy permit.'"
Among the commitments that come with the conditional use permit are time restrictions on when concerts and movies can be scheduled at the movie theater. It must be vacated by midnight Friday and Saturday nights, or 10 p.m. weeknights.
That fits within the business plan submitted by the developer, who said concerts would take place Saturday nights between May and October with two movies shown Friday nights in the same timeframe. All events would comply with the time restrictions.
In the staff analysis provided to the board, there is an "assumption that there will be higher than normal people density, more than normal brightness of lights and greater volumes of sounds" in the area around the development.
But the same recommendation asserts "this project will have a positive economic impact as well as make Ashland a destination that will bring visitors from all over the state."
The Lakeside Development property is a 35-acre lot on the southwest corner of the intersection between Log Providence Road and U.S. Highway 63 — on the same exit but across the highway from Columbia Regional Airport.
Twenty acres are included in the first wave of development, which would have parking spaces for 200-250 cars.
The site plan, which was tabled by the Planning and Zoning Commission, has not come in front of the Board of Aldermen. The board next meets Aug. 3, with the conditional use permit's second reading expected on the agenda.