Orlando Motorsports Park (OMP) developer Andy Bardar said he wants to work with Osceola County's staff and its consultant to create a racing-themed tourist attraction that can co-exist with its neighbors.
Bardar spoke Wednesday morning to the county's Development Review Committee, which advises but doesn't vote on his application for a noise variance. Bardar said many of the concerns expressed by some neighborhood leaders are based on misconceptions and rumors.
"I want to encourage staff and the opposition to reach out and learn a little bit about the project and how it's going to operate to understand what we're bringing to the table," Bardar said. "There's been a lot of miscommunication out there and bringing up items like a drag strip and banking like Daytona and speeds of 207 miles per hour -- all that is just speculation on peoples' part and what they can learn on the internet."
Osceola County's zoning staff is recommending denial of a noise variance request for the proposed $100 million project when the case goes before Board of Adjustment on Sept. 19. Senior Zoning Specialist Amy Templeton said the staff may revise the recommendation after receiving a noise study from an independent consultant later this week.
"Our evaluation of this is premature in some aspects," she said.
She indicated the staff may recommend approval with some conditions based on the county's noise study. If approved, it would be the first noise variance issued by the county in at least a decade.
Bardar has a purchase contract on the 217-acre parcel at the southwest corner of W192 and the S.R. 429 beltway interchange. He is proposing a complex with a 1.5-mile "fun track" and go-kart track -- both aimed at tourists -- and a longer, private track for club members and corporate events.
The facility would operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. A typical event would involve 20 go-karts and 10 cars, but it could accommodate 20 cars on the two tracks.
Bardar is seeking a noise variance for up to 90 decibels during operating hours, although his consultants say those noise levels would not affect any residential or resort properties. Some communities along Secret Lake and Funie Steed roads would experience noise levels averaging around 60 decibels.
The staff recommendation follows a community meeting last week held at CLC Encantada Resort, one of the resorts that would be impacted by noise from the proposed racing-themed attraction.
During that meeting, representatives from Encantada and five other nearby communities officially objected to the variance request. Those comments factored into the staff's initial recommendation to deny the variance.
On Wednesday, Orange Lake Resort added its name to the opposition. "Our biggest concern is the noise levels," attorney Lawrence Akinhanmi said, noting that the resort is directly across from the proposed go-kart track, which is expected to create the highest noise levels. "We want to make sure that part is denied because, for example, Disney's Richard Petty Experience was two miles away and that caused a lot of disturbances."
Bardar's attorney, Wayne Rich, said they are open to negotiating some conditions that could make the project more compatible with its neighbors. "Everything's on the table," he told GrowthSpotter.
In the staff report, Templeton wrote that Bardar "has not demonstrated that there is an unreasonable hardship on the applicant, on the community or on other persons" because the site could be developed for other types of commercial development, including commercial recreation facilities that don't exceed the limits of the noise ordinance.
This article has been updated with details from the Sept. 6 DRC meeting.