CITIZENS AGAINST THE MOTORSPORTS PARK
After the EIS decision
May 18th, 2020 (Planning Commission Meeting) – Administrator Bromeland made recommended changes to the shoreland ordinance (included in EAW study area, but not addressed). Discussion included 550 feet setback from structures, cottages ( not allowed in the current code). Width of stairway to the water (Eagle Lake South). Current code limits width from residential but doesn’t limit commercial. It’s asked if the motorsports park will have stairs going down to the water. Administrator Bromeland hasn’t seen anything but will look into it. Septic systems and grandfathering in of existing properties were also discussed.
June 1st, 2020 – discussion on how a shoreland ordinance is needed, suggested changes and request for a public hearing to be held during July 6, 2020 meeting. DNR has given preliminary approval of draft ordinance. Council discusses cities looking into city code language for vacation rentals by owner (VRBO).
June 22nd, 2020 – (not MMP related, but nuisance noise concern) Discussion about ice cream truck being allowed to play music. City staff didn’t recommend amending code to allow music (by any peddler) as the intent of the code is to protect the public from nuisance noise. No complaint had been received, but exception was made for this situation.
July 6th, 2020 (Public hearing for Shoreland Ordinance) – He mentioned the creation of our GoFundMe account, but Mike in the meeting minutes was incorrectly quoted as asking residents to finance his legal fees. A public hearing was held to address the shoreland ordinance, with DNR rep Dan Girolamo present. Addressing the proposed ordinance: On the chart for land use for a natural environment lake Public, semipublic was changed from “Conditional Use” (allowed through CUP) to “Permitted” and Industrial was changed from “Not permitted” to “Conditional Use”. Human error was blamed and those would be changed back. Question as to whether there was intent to build anything there (no), but the ordinance would establish what, if anything, could be built there. Setback for fuel tank is 150 feet. Planned zoning is Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Guest cottages and vacation rental by owners was discussed – stated ordinance is to protect surface water quality and aesthetics. Stated that Eagle Lake is the city’s only designated public water way.
While not detailed in the meeting minutes, a councilman inquired about acquiring access to the pond west of Casey’s (accessed by using the trail) by way of a vacant property on CR17. That pond is not under the DNR, it is under MnDOT.
August 3rd, 2020 – Mike addressed the misquote from the July 6th meeting and asked for more accuracy when quoting residents in the meeting minutes. Approval was given for the planning and zoning services of South Central Service Cooperative in regards to the motorsports project – this was not to exceed $6,500. Additionally it is noted that the safety concerns regarding CR56/Hwy14 (by Caseys) will be addressed in the Sept 14 city council meeting with a presentation by Scott Thompson from MnDot District 7.
September 14th, 2020 – A presentation was given by Scott Thompson, Traffic Engineer with MnDOT in regard to the safety of the intersection of CR56 and Hwy 14 (by the Casey’s). **In 2016 the 3 intersections (CR56/Hwy 14, CR55/Hwy 14 and CR27/CR17/Hwy 14 [the one in the traffic study]) were given improvements. By CR56 a west bound acceleration lane was added. CR55 now only allows right turns onto Hwy14 and westbound left turns off of Hwy14. CR27/CR17/Hwy 14 also only allows right turns onto Hwy 14 and left turns off of Hwy 14 to either CR27 or CR17/Parkway Avenue. Traffic from CR55 or Parkway Avenue that want to head west need to go east and use the J-turn.** Since that time, CR55 and CR27 have seen a reduction in crashes. CR55 currently does not need any addition changes, CR27 still needs monitoring (illegal left turns/u-turns). CR56 continues to be an issue though, with 2 serious accidents and one fatal accident. There were 3 suggestions given: Close the median and convert to a right-turn only (this option had traffic coming all the way down to the J-turn east of CR27 in order to go west. Knowing most would take the illegal u-turn instead, Mike asked that they please reconsider that option. It was not one of the final choices in a given survey.) The second was to remove the acceleration lane and allow only right turns onto Hwy 14 and left turns off of Hwy 14 (like CR55. This one sent traffic through town). The third was to remove the acceleration lane, block left turns and construct a J-turn just east of CR56 (same as drivers coming off of Parkway Avenue and wanting to go west). In the meantime, a white “stop bar” was painted to encourage drivers to stop further out to improve their sight line before making turns. Additional discussion included that the intent of that road (CR56) is to be single lane, not a left-turn and drivers going right pulling up alongside (as most do to avoid waiting for the left turning vehicles – which can take awhile!)
September 30, 2020 – Work session to go over the draft of the developer’s agreement. This was the first time Mr. Bass participated (spoke) in a public meeting since July 1, 2019. The agreement (but no exhibits) was available for viewing before the meeting. No decisions were going to be made at this meeting. Public comments included concerns about additions of sanctioned/ticketed events (and the language used), residential condos, a viewing area for spectators, financial viability and other various changes.
Was designed to a private club for people to sign up and be members, built as a club “track”. Not a public arena for public to come in and view and/or pay for tickets to an event. It is private property and not open to the public without permission and being accepted into the facility. The debate over who will be allowed – members, public, or a combo of both – has been an ongoing discussion.
Viewing area. This viewing area is not to be a grandstand and will be for members families and some public to see what is going on. It has been said that there will not be a space for spectators.
Not designed as a racetrack, it’s designed as a road course.
While no concerts, or sanctioned, promoted, or ticketed races will be held (developer claims they are not licensed for it), other events the developer suggested this track could lend itself for would be Tator Days and the Mankato Marathon. Initial talks involved a driving school and emergency vehicle training (no longer). Throughout the meeting various suggestions were being brought up as possible uses for the facility.
Discussion about language regarding sanctioned races and not leaving it open to allow larger events down the road. Should the facility not be successful with it’s original offerings it may look to have larger (and financially beneficial) events be approved by the city council.
Motorcycles and snowmobiles. There is desire (by Mayor Auringer) to have wording that motorcycles will not be allowed, but the developer will not commit either way. He says “No” to snowmobiles. Initially all vehicles on the track were to be street legal and no motorcycles were allowed.
The clubhouse is now a “commercial strip mall” (as described by the developer) with a clubhouse on each end (one corporate, one members) and tire sales, brakes, etc. in smaller shops in the middle and trackside. While it may have been a part of the plan back in July 2019, it was NOT in the EAW. The clubhouse contained: spaces for classrooms, spectator locations, sports shop, food services and suites. (pg 3 of the EAW)
Limited residential units and the clarification for how many, length of stay, ownership and rental, etc. Residential units were in the original plan with surrounding the track. The plan was scaled back (not affordable) but the residential units were not a part of the EAW, it had been changed to all automotive.
Phases. With the hotel and golf entertainment center gone*, phases are back for “future development” and “First phase” was mentioned a few times. In the EAW it is stated that there will be no future development.
“At this time” there is no plan for a campground.
Discussion about water and sewer coming across Hwy 14. The developer will pay for what goes to his facility but “accommodating the piping” for future development will be something the city has to look at. He wanted it known (for the record) that they requested the city to pay for it so that it would be denied and understood who was paying for it. The financial responsibility was addressed in previous meetings.
Sound committee. As in the noise study, monitoring will be done ON the track and onsite. No sound testing has been done on the lake or areas beyond the facility.
Fuel storage will need to comply by the MPCA. This also wasn’t addressed in the EAW and with being so close to a lake, it should have been.
Shoreland ordinance. The city adopted a new one and some changes will affect the development as well. While in the study area the shoreland was barely addressed in the EAW, giving the impression they were going to leave it alone.
Winter driving. Developer envisions car manufacturers testing their new vehicles and their winter driving worthiness.
Drag racing. Developer says he has people calling all the time to ask if they will be able to drag race there. So now he says there won’t be “dragsters going down the racetrack every single day”. We were told no drag racing, no drag strip. Repeatedly.
Cemetery. Developer will work with cemetery committee to get their schedules aligned as to provide respectful accommodation during services.
The developer and a councilman agree that there hasn’t been any changes. Or if there was, it was to accommodate complaints. (In reality, those changes solely benefit the developer and still were not available for the public to review.) Councilman Ries expressed frustration that people were questioning the developer and “putting a bandaid on a cut that wasn’t there yet”. A resident commented to say that people getting involved and voicing their opinion should be embraced.
*The traffic study included in the EAW was done on the activity expected at the hotel and the golf entertainment center, NOT track and membership traffic.
November 2, 2020 – There was going to be a new work session planned for discussing the developer’s agreement but the council asked to receive more information from the developer before scheduling another work session.+ The city attorney, City Administrator and the developer will continue to work on updating language of the developer’s agreement. Updates need to be sent to Administrator Bromeland to be included in final draft. Larger venue discussed for next revue to allow for in person meeting. Councilman Terrell stated his opinion that the viewing area should not be restricted and that special events should not be restricted as long as the decibel limits are not exceeded.
November 3rd, 2020 - Councilmembers John Ries and Ryan Short do not run again for their seats. Beth Rohrich and Anthony White are elected to the city council.