317-acre recreational retreat proposed at DEI

UPDATE Despite opposition from neighbors concerned about traffic and noise, Teresa Earnhardt, wife of the late racing great Dale Earnhardt, received a permit this week to create a 317-acre outdoor activities center on rural N.C. 3 in Mooresville. Dick Brolin of Piedmont Design Associates in Mooresville spoke for Earnhardt at an hour-long public hearing in Statesville Thursday night called by the Iredell County Board of Adjustment. Earnhardt sat in the audience but didn't address the board, which approved the permit 6-0. Brolin said the site has nearly 5 miles of trails — basically "farm roads" used for existing farming operations on the property. Parking for 300 people is planned, with overflow parking available on numerous grassy areas, he said.

Charlotte lawyer Ben Ellis, also representing Earnhardt at the hearing, said the site would be available only to those with memberships, who would then have to make reservations. Activities also could be made available to horseback riding and fishing clubs and such non-profits as schools and the Girl Scouts, he said. Charlotte Observer

12/19/12 Teresa Earnhardt is hoping to transform 317 acres of wooded land at Dale Earnhardt Inc. into a private recreational retreat offering horse-riding trails, archery, rodeos, paintball and fishing ponds to companies, weddings and educational groups.

A public hearing for a special use zoning permit will be held by the Iredell County Board of Adjustment on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Iredell County Government Center in Statesville.

According to documents filed with the county, Earnhardt wants to turn 317 acres behind her sprawling Dale Earnhardt Inc. race shops on N.C. 3 into a facility that caters to “environmental and farm educational outings, wildlife observation and tent camping."

Along with horse trails, an archery range, rodeo, paintball and fishing, proposed uses for the land include an endurance course and “live outdoor theatres."

In her application Earnhardt wrote, “One of the aims of (the) project is to enhance awareness of nature and natural settings."

It is unclear when construction would begin and when the facility might open. Efforts to reach Teresa Earnhardt or DEI officials for comment were not immediately successful.

Rebecca Harper, a county planner, noted that use of the recreational facility would be “by appointment and not open to the general public." Any fees for using the facility were not disclosed in the filing with the county.

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