Harvey County Commissioners discussed, during their Monday meeting, a request for a CUP (conditional use permit) to operate a horse racing track in Halstead on property located in the A-1 Agricultural zoning district.
The application was submitted by Espiridion Guevara (Speedy) and Adela Gutierrez. It was tabled by the Harvey County Regional Planning Commission during its June meeting, then taken up at its June meeting and approved, providing several conditions are met. There was a 7-1 vote at that meeting with planning commission member John Reed voting against the track.
Previously, the property was owned by John Stutzman. An April staff report from Harvey County
Planning and Zoning Director Gina Bell to the planning commission stated: "It has been common knowledge that the race track exists yet no one has ever required them to bring the use into compliance."
County commissioners discussed whether to give final approval for the CUP.
Commissioner Chip Westfall expressed concerns that there is no parking plan to allow emergency vehicles through the property.
There are eight porta potties at the site, four for each side. Westfall asked if one should be accessible to persons with disabilities under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) laws. The county fair has to follow ADA requirements, he said.
Westfall also expressed concerns that there would be no potable water for a handwashing station at a place where food is served and animals are handled.
"Does this put us in a liable position?" he said.
Commissioner Randy Hague expressed concerns that a buffer rail be placed on fences next to separate spectators and horses.
The commission ultimately granted the CUP with the stipulations that the owner find out if an ADA requirement is to be met with porta potties and if so, to meet it. The person directing traffic would have to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. The owner of the property will have 30 days to establish a parking plan and 90 days to place a buffer rail on the fences. If the conditions are not met, the facility will be closed.
In other business, the commission:
• accepted a budget proposal from the county extension council. • reappointed Tim Johnson and Rich Denno to the county Public Building Commission. • reappointed Ray Penner and Byron Warta to the county Economic Development Commission