When members of the Hastings Planning Commission meet on Tuesday, they will act again on a request for a pair of features relating to a proposed racetrack and casino, northwest of U.S. Highway 281 and 42nd street.
The project includes additional development beyond what has been featured in a previous application.
Prairie Thunder Hastings LLC, along with West Fork Inc. and Gremco Inc., are requesting a rezoning application from agriculture to commercial businesses and a conditional use permit application for an outdoor entertainment and recreation business on nearly of 136 acres located northwest of the intersection of Highway 281 and 42nd Street.
CUP and rezoning requests come at the end of a busy agenda. Five other public hearings and the presentation of the 2023-2023 one- and six-year street improvement plan are also scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., in the council chambers of the City Building, 220 N. Avenue. Hastings.
The Planning Commission voted 4-3 in February to recommend denial of a rezoning and conditional use permit for a racetrack and casino.
Hastings City Council then voted 4-4 in March each on a rezoning and conditional use permit for the application. Approval required a qualified majority of six votes.
According to the latest request, the proposed development plan consists of phases.
After obtaining approval for the C3 commercial rezoning application and the conditional use application, the first phase will consist of constructing the racetrack, casino and administration building.
Phase two of the plan is to add retail to the southwest portion of the property near 42nd Street.
In phase two or phase three, depending on market forces and demand, the project would include the development of residential lots on the northern portion of the property. Next, a hotel would be developed immediately west of the casino, followed by an office/retail along the highway in the northeast portion of the property.
Applications to the Planning Commission on Tuesday are very narrow, however.
They need to consider rezoning a small area and considering a conditional use permit for a small area in the center of the 136 acre property.
Over 70 acres of the site are offered as open or green space.
The developers believe that their plans integrate well and complement the existing surrounding properties.
The property to the west of the subject property is zoned agricultural, to the north is an urban single family residence, to the south is a commercial business district, and to the east, across Highway 281, is there are agricultural and commercial businesses according to Hastings zoning designations.
Given the existing zoning for commercial businesses to the east and south, as well as the traffic corridor between the freeway and the newly expanded West 42nd Street, the developers believe that the rezoning and conditional use permits fit in well in the area and, according to the application, be “the impetus and springboard for positive growth in development and business activity in the future”.
Ten existing residences share a property line with the subject property and no residences border the project area. The distance between the southernmost point of the existing residences and the northernmost point of the project area is over 700 feet. Additional distance from the location of each residence and the southern boundary of each of their properties adds more buffer.
The 42-acre buffer zone will remain agricultural in the short term, and project participants will continue to cultivate this land.
There would be no change to the nature or use of the property bordering the 10 residences. Quarter horse racing will take place on the southernmost part of the track, more than 1,285 feet south of the nearest existing residential property.
The developers have featured in the app that very few races actually happen given that there are no overlapping races at times when other racetracks hold their events. The developers have a four-year plan to achieve a total of 12 racing days per year.
A typical quarter horse race lasts about 15 seconds.