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Lincoln County sports park rezoning request withdrawn

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday night to withdraw a rezoning petition to build an extreme-sports training facility on more than 100 acres on Whitehouse Drive.
However, the company asking for the rezoning expects to file a new rezoning request soon.
The decision came after the property owner, NFP Holdings, sent a letter Monday afternoon to the county’s director of planning and inspections, Andrew Bryant, requesting that commissioners either delay a decision on the petition until next month or withdraw the rezoning request.
The project had been spearheaded by former NASCAR team owner Brittan Schnell, who is under contract to buy the property from NFP Holdings. Schnell proposed converting existing buildings into a school and dormitory, an indoor sports area, and a hall for special events. Plans also included the addition of an aquatic center, running trails, and tracks for motocross and BMX racing. But the Lincoln County Planning and Inspections Department voted 5-2 this month to recommend against approving the rezoning request, finding that the petition was inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive land-use plan designating that the property be used for industrial purposes.
The department also cited concerns about noise coming from the proposed development. Local residents had raised the issue of noise from motocross events and the potential effect it could have on local property values.
The site currently houses the shuttered Natural Fruit Products Co. manufacturing plant, which closed in 2009. NFP Holdings sought a rezoning to planned development mixed use from general industrial for the tract, which is on the west side of Maiden Highway just north of Horseshoe Lake Road.
Schnell, the president of recently formed limited liability company Whitehouse Park, which submitted the rezoning application, said the company has performed sound studies to prove that noise wouldn’t be an issue. He said he plans to file a new rezoning request shortly.
“We’re going to resubmit an updated application that will focus on training hours, events, and other issues that relate to concerns about noise,” he said.
Schnell said his proposal is “a huge opportunity to have much more than a school,” where students would take online classes through Liberty University’s Online Academy.
“Yes, you’ll have sports training, but also meeting space to benefit the community,”  he said, including dedicated areas for basketball, volleyball and wrestling, tournaments, tradeshows, and other business events.
Commissioner Alex Patton cast the sole vote against the motion to withdraw the petition.
Zoning Administrator Randy Hawkins said that should Schnell file a new rezoning request, a community meeting and public hearing will be held on the proposal.

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