Great Escape battles planning board over ride placement

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Great Escape has given up its effort to place a 165-foot-tall ride in Ghost Town. The amusement park withdrew the proposal from the town Planning Board, and park officials will resubmit the plan with the same ride, but in a new location.

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Jeff's avatar

That's some pretty unprofessional behavior on the part of the board, and the kind of thing that gets municipalities sued. Zoning enforcement can be a delicate balance between enforcing standards and preventing a land owner to build something just because.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I read it as unprofessional behavior on the part of the park; those meetings are run by Robert's Rules of Order.

Yeah, I started to think it was NIMBYism just for the sake of it, but it looks like the applicants had the option of simply moving the location once the agreement issue was identified, prior to it escalating, so I don't really feel sympathy.

This previous article certainly makes it seem like the board is within their rights. According to the story, 19 years ago the park agreed that rides over 135 feet cannot be built in certain sections of the park including Ghost Town. Jump to 2019, and they want to build a 165 foot ride in Ghost Town. The planning board initially recommended they build it elsewhere and the park declined. If they want a new agreement, they will need to satisfy the board's demands.

My interpretation as an outsider is that while there is certainly some muscle flexing going on by the board, they are within their rights to simply say, "no" based on the height and move on.

If I were the park, I would read the tea leaves here and plan a reset with the local community. Build some relationships, offer big discounts for educational physics days, tout the economic impact you bring through tourism, taxes, local jobs for teens. Then come back in a few years and try to negotiate a new agreement that allows for some reasonable growth that benefits all.

Jeff's avatar

onceler said:

I read it as unprofessional behavior on the part of the park; those meetings are run by Robert's Rules of Order.

I'm no stranger to those rules, and you're not wrong. But when you require ridiculous conditions to meet non-codified requirements to get approval, you're asking to get sued.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I don't think they are non-codified requirements; I would assume everything is spelled out in that 700 page document mentioned. I read this as "if you want to change our predetermined agreement on this, here is what we need from you."

Granted, my view on this is a little skewed as I sit on a board that deals with different types of issues.

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