A Special Use Permit was denied again by the Planning Commission, on July 7, regarding a request to operate a campground and vehicle park located at the Encore Theater.

The campground being referred to consists of two trailers behind the theater. They were to be used as sleeping quarters for the theater’s performers.

The ‘campground’ would not have been open for public use, but strictly used to house the show’s performers.

According to Mike Mairot, general manager of the Encore Theater, there were 12 performers living in the theater/trailers at the time of the meeting.

The Encore Theater reportedly has living quarters, bathrooms, a kitchen, etc. that are used by staff, while the trailers are specifically sleeping quarters.

According to Mairot, other methods of housing, both houses and apartments, had been looked into for the performers, but the sleeping quarters (trailers) were the best option in regards to cost and the number of people who would be using them.

Approximately two months ago, on May 5, a similar Special Use permit by the same entity was brought before the Commissioners and was also voted down. This original request was for four trailers, instead of two.

Several of the Commissioners continuously referred to how the passage of this item could lead to a precedent that could later lead to other theaters requesting to house their staff in parking lot based trailers as well.

However, City Attorney Chris Lebeck stated how the passage of this Special Use Permit would not set a precedent due to the fact that every Special Use Permit is unique to the situation, and that’s why each one is brought before the board separately.

“I’ll just answer from a legal standpoint. No. That’s why it’s called a special use permit, because each situation is absolutely unique,” said Lebeck, when asked if the passage of this request would create a precedent

“It would be, in essence, comparing apples to oranges if we were to say ‘hey what we did over here on Mel Tillis’ theater is something that we could roll out at The Duttons theater.’ So again, that’s why each one of these is reviewed independently by this board under the special use and special circumstances of that permit. So, again, precedent, I use that term in a different context, but this would not set up a precedence so that another theater can come in and say ‘hey well you did it over here, so you have to give it to us over here’.”

However, when asked if there are city rules against performers staying/sleeping overnight in commercial parking lots, Planning and Development Director Joel Hornickel stated staff can look into it and bring more information to the Planning Commission board at the next meeting.

The request failed by a vote of 2-7.

(1) comment

Branson4fun

I don't know how many Hotel-Motel rooms we have in Branson. I'm sure there are rooms available for these performers. But it seems ridiculous to ask City Hall, to allow you to Board people in parking lot trailers.

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