HOBART — Plans for the proposed Ride, Rage and Escape business haven't completely wiped out, but they appear to be heading in that direction.
The Board of Zoning Appeals sent a use variance request to the City Council with an unfavorable recommendation after numerous residents and the panel expressed several concerns about the proposed project.
The council will make a final decision about the matter during its March 20 session.
Siblings Glenn and Karen Miller purchased the 7-acre property near 49th Avenue and Liverpool Road and developed a concept to create an amusement facility with an outdoor ATV track. A rage room and escape room also are proposed for an existing building there.
“We think this is a great place to have something like this,” Glenn Miller said.
Glenn Miller said a 6-foot chain-link fence would surround the track, and a 25-foot vegetated buffer area also would be in place to help reduce noise created by the ATVs and keep the vehicles from leaving the track. He said the track also would be watered at least once a day to prevent dust from spreading.
Nearby property owners and city officials said those efforts wouldn't be sufficient to address the noise and dust issues.
Prior to voting on the matter, BZA member Jason Spain said he appreciates the Millers' desire to build a business in Hobart, but the concept they created would have a negative effect on the surrounding properties.
“I'm opposed to this,” Spain said.
City Councilman Dan Waldrop said sound from the track easily would be heard by surrounding property owners because the 25-foot buffer area doesn't have enough vegetation to absorb the noise.
“It's going to be very disruptive for them,” Waldrop said.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources nature preserve adjacent to the site has rare plants and animals, and a passive recreation trail was created there in 2016, said Derek Nimitz, of the DNR.
He said noise from the ATVs could decrease wildlife use and reduce public activity at the nature preserve.
BZA president Stuart Allen said the dust stirred up by the ATVs would spread to several properties, including an adjacent solar farm. It's necessary to keep solar panels clean so they can produce as much energy as possible.
The majority of concerns about the project involved the ATV track, but several also questioned the need for the rage room.
That part of the business would involve customers paying money to have a certain amount of time to break items in a room as a way to release stress.
Resident Jen Woronecki-Ellis is concerned of what could happen if a costumer's “rage isn't gone in the allotted time.”
If that happens, it's possible destructive behaviors could extend outside of the business, she said.
“It's just such a concern in so many ways,” she said of the proposed project.