Cleetus Fights Back in the Battle to Keep the Freedom Factory Open
One of the country’s most popular motorsports destinations is under fire and a large contingent of the racing community has been stepping up to have their voices heard.
Housing developments and race tracks seem to be mortal enemies at this point. As popular YouTuber, Cleetus McFarland (real name Garrett Mitchell) puts it, “homes being built next to race tracks is a classic way they fail.” Mitchell continued while speaking in a hearing about canceling nearby housing development plans, that “homeowners complain until the race tracks are overrun in local government.”
This was in response to plans for a developer to convert 2700 acres next to Mitchell’s Freedom Factory and Victor Alvarez’s Bradenton Motorsports Park into a neighborhood densely packed with homes. The idea comes along with a plan to rezone the area which would allow the developer to build three houses for every acre of land.
Mitchell says that the issue won’t cause any issues with his Freedom Factory in the short term. However, within 5-6 years, he projects that there will almost certainly be issues if the developer in question proceeds with plans in the way that they currently exist. While there are plans to create some sort of sound barrier to block noise from the track, the counterpoint says that these barriers are designed for highways and not much can be done about the sound of the screaming race cars roaring down the track. Long story short, there will most definitely be complaints that could snowball into the doors closing on the motorsports facilities.
While the Freedom Factory lost its first battle as voting for rezoning was approved by a vote of 5-2, the community’s voice wasn’t lost. Instead, with Mitchell’s approach along with 15,000 people who watched Manatee County’s live stream of the proceedings and an estimated 15,000 emails sent to lawmakers that crashed the county’s servers, the issue has gotten the attention of those in power as they have pledged to do all they can to support the track. While this might not mean that the development plans get blocked, hopefully, it sets a positive precedent that other jurisdictions might be able to follow to protect those trying to participate in motorsports in a safe and productive way.