Due to previous discussion on the topic, a survey was requested by Branson city staff to get more information regarding theater performer parking (regarding recreational vehicles/buses) on theater property.
At a Nov. 3, 2020 city Planning Commission meeting, the topic of use/storage of buses, motor homes, recreation motor vehicles or other similar type vehicles on a theater property officially began.
The survey went from Dec. 9 to Dec. 21, 2020 and requested the participation of 35 theaters in Branson.
According to the survey, out of the 35 theaters (with active business licenses) that were invited to participate, only 14 theaters responded to the 11 possible questions that varied based on responses. The answers to the survey were taken anonymously.
The following results were recorded:
- 57 percent of the theaters have been in operation less than 30 years;
- 36 percent have 500 or fewer seats;
- 64 percent have had the need for overnight performer parking;
- Based off of the nine theaters that needed overnight parking for a performer, 56 percent average three or fewer overnight parking occurrences;
- Based off of the nine theaters that needed overnight parking for a performer, 78 percent average seven or less days for each overnight occurrence;
- Based off of the nine theaters that needed overnight parking for a performer, 78 percent average one vehicle that was being parked overnight;
- Based off of the nine theaters that needed overnight parking for a performer, 56 percent know about the performer’s need for overnight parking less than two months in advance and 100 percent know less than a year in advance;
- Based off of the nine theaters that needed overnight parking for a performer, 36 percent do not currently have a need for overnight performer parking, while 14 percent will never have a need for overnight parking;
- 86 percent support overnight parking;
- Out of the 14 theaters who responded, the majority preferred the options of ‘no change, no permit/approval’ or a ‘Special Use permit’ instead of ‘do not allow overnight parking’ or a ‘Temporary Use permit’;
Out of the 14 theaters who responded to the survey:
- Five: most desired regulation by special use permit, maximum number of days or other conditions for stays longer than seven days;
- Four: said the city should not regulate theater/private property;
- One: said city regulation should only occur if parking affects neighbors or other;
- Four: chose no comment
“One thing we also learned through this process is all the different classes of motor vehicles and motor coaches and caravans and what have you,” said Planning and Development Director Joel Hornickel. “A lot of these theaters that’s probably the one question in retrospect that we didn’t ask that there would have been an opportunity to ask about: ‘what is the type of vehicle that people are parking on your property?’ because my sense is, more often than not, it’s the tour buses that are well equipped to allow people to stay in them. They have facilities, they have restroom facilities that are probably better than some people’s homes and so that may be something we look into further on this topic as well if there’s an opportunity to better define what type of vehicle as opposed to just generalizing it.”
Based on the results of the survey, city staff recommended the modification of BMC Sec. 86-353(c) of the Branson Municipal Code to allow overnight parking at theaters when less than seven days per year. As well as the creation of supplemental use standards when overnight parking at theaters exceeds seven days per year.
“I like the recommendations there because it looks like they could do seven days, five times a year but we do have No.2 which allows us to customize it if need be,” said Alderman Jeff Seay. “I know it’s a small sample size but it seems like there’s an appetite for this kind of thing. But we would really want to focus on the definitions as everybody has said here ‘cause you know it should be Class A’s or Class C’s, which are Motorhome Chassis types of things. I would hate to see fifth wheels and bumper pulls and things like that, I mean they’re not as well, some of those fifth wheels are pretty fancy and they have generators and you can dry camp for awhile but I don’t know because they would want to unhook it, like a trailer sitting in a parking lot. Those are just my thoughts and I’m sure you’re going to refine that for us.”
This string of events stemmed from two previous requests from US Flanson Cultural Entertainment, LLC on May 5 and July 7, 2020 to operate a campground and vehicle park at the Encore Theatre at 2527 State Highway 248.
Both requests were voted down when presented to the Planning Commission.
The Special Use permit, if it had been approved, would have let them keep two-to-four high-end trailers/recreational vehicles on the property that were being used as sleeping quarters for the performers of the Encore Theater (formerly known as the Mel Tillis Theater).
This topic was simply a discussion and no official decision was made at the Nov. 3 Planning Commission meeting.