The possibility of a 2,000-seat amphitheater in Osage Beach edged forward Thursday night some nine months after the application by Arapaho, LLC, for rezoning was first submitted for consideration.

The possibility of a 2,000-seat amphitheater in Osage Beach edged forward Thursday night some nine months after the application by Arapaho, LLC, for rezoning was first submitted for consideration. The board of aldermen unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that would allow for rezoning of some 14 acres of land uphill from Backwater Jack's. That more than likely will lead to the construction of an amphitheater that would add to the popular entertainment complex.

The board will consider the second reading of the request at its Oct. 1 meeting. The request is to rezone the area from Commercial C1-B to Commercial C-1 with an E-3 overlay to accommodate an amphitheater/entertainment venue. The project must also meet current Osage Beach planning and development ordinances. The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed Arapaho's request at its July 14 meeting and forwarded its recommendation for approval on a vote of 5-2.

The board's action came after a public hearing that drew only one voice of opposition. Andy Prewitt, representing Arapaho, spoke in favor of the project and outlined initial plans for the facility. In a letter supporting his family's rezoning request, Prewitt said the property in question has remained vacant and wooded for at least the last 50 years. To help remediate noise concerns, the plan is to leave a 185-foot barrier of wooded hillside, install sound barriers and face the stage away from residential areas.

“We are working with the surrounding property owners and hope that this development will fit with the future development plans for the cove and create a greater tax base for the City of Osage Beach,” he said in his letter.

He noted the city had received an estimated 150 letters of support from various individuals and businesses. The theme of the letters was that the facility would provide additional jobs and revenue for the city and would bring more tourists to the area. The city was also in receipt of about 18 letters either opposed to the rezoning request/amphitheater or sharing concerns about the health, welfare and safety of nearby residents and the community in general.

Another issue raised during Planning and Zoning Commission meetings since the application was received Dec. 17, 2019, related to potential traffic flow issues in the area, which is served by Sunset Drive of Beach Drive. Two independent engineering firms found that there would not be any adverse impact on the traffic flow, and that no additional improvements to the nearby roads are needed to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic. A maximum of 12 events will be held each year at the facility, with all events ending by 11:45 p.m. Events will not be held concurrently with bands playing at the existing Backwater Jack's waterfront bar and restaurant.

Other rezoning

The board also gave second-round approval to a rezoning request from Kaiser Investment Partnership and Randall Kent. First reading was held Sept. 3. The request was to rezone about 2.8 acres of undeveloped land on Highway 42 from C-1 (General Commercial) to I-1 (Light industrial).