Planning and Zoning request heats up over amphitheater request in Osage Beach

Dan Field
Lake Sun Leader

It’s back to the drawing board – and a reprieve of sorts – for a rezoning request that could lead to a 2,000-seat amphitheater near Backwater Jacks in Osage Beach.

The Osage Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 Thursday afternoon, June 25, in a special session to rescind its decision of June 9 that recommended disapproval of the request to the board of aldermen.

The property would be accessed from either Sunset Avenue or Beach Drive.

The special meeting was called after city officials received letters from applicant Arapaho, LLC, and Tom Hand, a local citizen and owner of TNT Solutions, LLC, asking the P&Z Commission to reconsider and rescind its original vote based on two points:

•Poor acoustics and sound system in the Board Chambers that possibly prevented commissioners and others in attendance from hearing all of the dialogue.

•Possible conflict of interest by two of the P&Z Commissioners. 

The vote restarts the public hearing process on Arapaho’s request to rezone 14 acres of land up the hill from Backwater Jack’s from C-1/C1b (Commercial Lodging) to C1 (General Commercial) with an E-3 overlay. A notice of public hearing on the rezoning request will be published, followed by the public hearing at a date to be determined. 

Arapaho, LLC, is owned by the Gary Prewitt family, which also owns Backwater Jack’s. 

Voting to rescind and send back for reconsideration were P&Z members John Olivarri, Susan Ebling, Nancy Viselli and Tony Kirn. Voting against were Richard Ross and Alan Blair.

Kirn, who voted not to recommend reconsideration at the June 9 meeting, made the motion to rescind that original decision. Michelle Myler seconded Kirn’s motion.

At the start of the June 25 meeting, Olivarri announced that P&Z member Don Sturn had resigned earlier in the day. Sturn was among those who voted not to recommend rezoning June 9. The vote June 9 was 5-4 to recommend to the board of aldermen that the rezoning request be denied. Voting not to recommend rezoning were Tony Kirn, Don Sturn, Michelle Myler, Don Chisholm and Alan Blair. Voting to recommend were John Olivarri, Kellie Schuman, Richard Ross and Susan Ebling. 


In his letter to city officials dated June 11, Hand suggested that Commissioners Don Sturn and Alan Blair should recuse themselves for possible conflict of interest. Hand claimed that Sturn had “obvious bias” toward the applicant based on a decade-long grudge related to no-wake and commercial enterprise issues of the applicant. Hand said he believes Blair has a conflict because his family owns a business (Main Street Music Hall) that would be in competition with the amphitheater.

Hand threatened legal action on behalf of “disenfranchised taxpayers of Osage Beach for economic damage caused” if the sound system and recusal “deficiencies” were not corrected.

In a June 12 letter to city officials, Rachael Orr of Armstrong Teasdale attorneys also claimed potential conflict of interest on the part of Sturn and Blair for reasons similar to those offered by Hand.