With hundreds of comments to wade through, Rice County officials asked for and got the board of commissioners to approve a 30-day extension to determine whether an in-depth environmental review is needed for a proposed car club.

About 76 different people submitted comments during a month-long comment period on a document known as an environmental assessment worksheet. The worksheet, completed by county Environmental Services staff, looks at possible impacts the project would have on water, soil, flora and fauna, and area residents. If approved, the project, called Wolf Creek Autobahn, would be set on 466 acres west of Interstate 35 off County Road 1.

In total, Environmental Services Director Julie Runkel told the commissioners Tuesday, the county received 300 comments from the 76 commenters.

The developer, Runkel said, has offered to provide additional information that will help the county respond to the comments and questions it has received.

While many of the comments came during an Aug. 8 public hearing, others came directly to the county.

The vast majority of speakers during the public hearing felt the environmental review was insufficient and failed to adequately address the project's impact. Several said that the review's section on noise didn’t take some of the club’s amenities into account.

The car club, as now proposed, includes 300 garage villas, a 5.6-mile road course and 1-mile kart course, a 150-site RV park, a 32,000-square foot clubhouse, 4-acre event area, convenience store, an auto sales/service shop and possibly a “high-turnover sit-down restaurant.”

Runkel said she'll be back before the board in a month to discuss the need for a more thorough environmental review unless developer Neal Krzyzaniak agrees to further extend the comment period.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy. 

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