A father and son investment team got a quick lesson Wednesday on Osceola County's noise ordinance when they met with the Development Review Committee about a possible UTV course on Kissimmee's W192 tourism corridor.
Utility Terrain Vehicles, also called side-by-side vehicles, can carry anywhere from two to six people and typically come equipped with a rollover protection system.
North Carolina native Mark Smith and his son, Jason, said they were pursuing a lease on an 8-acre vacant parcel on W192 near the Polk County line, and intended to build an off-road track on 2 acres at the front that aren't impacted by wetlands.
The land is owned by Argentinian real estate investor Alejandro Atar, who last year purchased the adjoining property for a total of 22.5 acres in the Four Corners area. It's across from a new hotel development on Bali Boulevard and about a quarter mile from The Grand at Westside apartments, which sold earlier this year for $67.5 million.
Smith said their company, UTV Rush, would utilize Polaris brand UTVs direct from the manufacturer without alteration. "We'll have a small, compact course on 2 acres with no competition or racing," he said. "We would have two, maybe three vehicles on the tack at any one time."
Senior Zoning Specialist Amy Templeton told the Smiths they should be looking for a larger site. The parcel in question, while zoned correctly, would be too small for that type of use without a noise variance.
"They're quite loud," she said. "We are aware of issues other jurisdictions have had with these because of noise."
Smith said the UTVs register 80 decibels "at the tailpipe." The county's noise ordinance permits a maximum 55 decibels at the property line during daylight hours.
"The biggest hurdle is we need to find out how far the sound carries," Smith said.
Templeton gave the duo a quick history lesson on the proposed Orlando Motorsports Park's attempt to get a noise variance last year for a racing attraction on the tourism corridor.
"I would highly recommend if this is a project you want to do in this county, hiring a noise consultant to help you determine the size of the site you need," she said.
The DRC quickly steered them away from another potential site on E192, across from Osceola Heritage Park and directly in front of NeoCity. They told the Smiths that such a use would never be supported at that location because of the strict design guidelines in the E192 CRA district.
The Smiths said they would continue looking for an appropriate site on the W192 corridor, and might consider offering electric vehicles to comply with the noise ordinance.