The City-County Planning Commission approved a detailed development plan Thursday for the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park.
The motorsports park will be built on about 184 acres at Grimes Road and Porter Pike.
The plan comes with six conditions of approval, most of which will have to be fulfilled before a certificate of occupancy can be issued.
Those conditions include constructing a left turning lane from Porter Pike into Grimes Road, re-establishing some portions of a required vegetative buffer along Interstate 65, extending an earthen berm intended to mitigate noise, recording a plat to consolidate the tracts of land within the motorsports park and getting an approved variance for a proposed freestanding sign along I-65.
Proposed parking also needs to be shown with the application for a building permit, according to the conditions.
Wendell Strode, executive director of the museum, asked to eliminate the conditions requiring the vegetative buffer and extension of the berm.
Strode said he never felt like the language in the binding elements required the construction of berms to mitigate noise for nearby properties, only that the park wouldn’t create a substantial increase in noise.
A noise study concluded that the motorsports park wouldn’t create a substantial increase in noise over the noise already created by I-65, he said.
The berm was created because excess soil was available, Strode said. Other aspects of the plan – including a concrete wall and buildings – will also help mitigate noise.
“We feel like we have gone above and beyond,” he said.
Strode also said he doesn’t see the logic of a vegetative buffer to help screen the park from view from I-65.
“We’re certainly hoping that we can move forward without having to have a motorsports park over there that no one can see from I-65,” he said.
The detailed development plan eventually passed with all the conditions in place, but Steve Hunter, executive director of the planning commission, said that amendments might be offered to the existing binding elements at another time.
The planning commission also approved a change to binding elements on a piece of property at 603 Old Morgantown Road to allow the sale of alcohol by the drink.
It is the home of Gianni’s Restaurant and Store. Owners Redo and Rasema Salkic proposed language that would have allowed for the sale of package or by-the-drink alcohol sales, but changed that language during the meeting at the request of a neighbor to the property.
Valerie Sharber, who lives across the street from the restaurant, requested the change.
“I understand the problems that they’re having with the restaurant, and I understand the liquor by the drink,” she said. “I’m not opposed to the liquor by the drink because it is a restaurant and I understand who they’re trying to compete with. I do oppose package.”
Sharber said she doesn’t want packaged liquor to be sold at the store that is currently part of the restaurant or by anyone else who might take over the property in the future.
Attorney Robert Chaudoin, who represented the Salkics, said it’s natural for customers to expect to be able to order German beer and wine at the German restaurant.
“Their customers have demanded that on a routine basis,” he said.
He said that, without a change, the restaurant will likely go out of business soon.
The measure was passed by the planning commission on a vote of 9-1 with Commissioner Albert Rich voting no.
Redo Salkic said allowing the business to sell alcohol will help prevent him from going bankrupt and he said he appreciates his neighbors.
Senad Salkic, Redo Salkic’s son, said they hope to sell imported beer and wine that isn’t available at other dining establishments in Bowling Green.