ASHLAND — The Ashland Board of Aldermen approved a conditional use permit for Lakeside Ashland on Tuesday night.
The project planned by Nic Parks includes an outdoor movie theater, stage, playground and lake near the airport.
The entertainment center cannot open unless fire safety and traffic conditions are met.
The project must have approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee after the outcome of a traffic study by the Missouri Department of Transportation is submitted.
The location of the venue is off U.S. 63 on Log Providence Road. Log Providence Road is narrow and leads to about 60 houses.
Dozens of residents showed up to the meeting to voice their concerns. The two main concerns are safety and traffic.
Resident Ed Musterman said he is concerned there is only one entry and exit to the main road.
"The Boone County Fire requires two," he said. "So we certainty don't want to add another venue that will restrict the ability of the emergency services to respond to any fire, health, or safety concerns."
For Dennis Canote, safety concerns hit closer to home. He said that in 2013 his home had a fire that resulted in around $60,000 worth of damage. The firefighters told him that if they hadn't arrived when they did he would've lost his entire home.
The city said at the meeting that the Southern Boone Fire Department will have a meeting to discuss the safety concerns of the venue, including the issue of only having on entry and exit.
The residents are concerned about not only traffic and the ability to get to their homes, but also the traffic it might cause on U.S. 63. MoDOT is currently doing a traffic study, but it is not complete yet.
At the meeting Ashland Mayor Richard Sullivan said, "This is a long, drawn out process where you have many things that have to be considered and voted on... no doubt they'll be things that need to be addressed as we wait for the traffic study, as we wait for the city and county officials if they'll be able to facilitate some answer to solving this problem with a second exit.
"We have to remember is this property was listed as a commercial property and was sold to a private individual," Sullivan said. "He has a right to make plans to develop it how ever he wants to as long as it meets all codes and requirements and is passed through."
The occupancy permit will not be issued unless all conditions are met, Sullivan said.
Sullivan was optimistic about the project and its impact on the community.