Future Of Cleetus McFarland’s ‘Freedom Factory’ At Risk Due To Nearby Housing Development


A pair of successful racing facilities owned by Garett Mitchell, better known as “Cleetus McFarland” thanks to his popular YouTube channel, has lost a bid to prevent a housing development from being built next to it.

The tracks, known as the Freedom Factory and the Bradenton Motorsport Park, have been on a parcel of land in Manatee County, south of Tampa, Florida, for nearly 50 years, and in that time have become premiere locations for drag racing and oval racing.

A neighboring property, though, is being developed for housing and could become the location of roughly 4,500 homes. Mitchell, though, argues that this development puts his racetrack at risk, as homeowners are likely to complain about the noise of the racetracks. He, therefore, asked for the support of the racing community in order to fight the development.

“These tracks run all the time and if you put a standard neighborhood next door, you are going to be waking up babies, you are going to be causing problems and a lot of these people who are going to move in aren’t going to understand they are moving next to a racetrack,” Mitchell said. “It is a classic case of how a racetrack dies, it has happened time and time again around the country, and we don’t want our racetracks to die.”

Read: Cleetus McFarland Feeds Random Items Into A Turbocharger

While the developers of the land claimed that they would build a berm up to a height of 25 feet (7.6 meters) in order to help muffle the sound of the track, McFarland claimed that such efforts have not prevented homeowners from demanding that racetracks in other parts of the country be closed down before. As a result, he felt that the land should not be rezoned to allow houses to be built next to his racetrack.

“If I came to you commissioners today and asked you to rezone some of my land to build two massive, loud racetracks right next to 4,500 homes that stood there for 50 years, would you approve it?” Mitchell asked at a Manatee County Land Use Meeting on December 15. “And if the answer to that is no, then this is not a compatible use of the land.”

Unfortunately, the committee disagreed with him, and he reports that he lost his case 5-2. The decision now moves from the county level to the state level for final approval, which Mitchell says he has no hope of overturning.

He says, though, that every county commissioner has said that they will work to protect the racetracks. He also says that the developers are now required to work with him and the racing facilities to ensure that the needs of both parties are considered. Although he’s disappointed by the overall result, Mitchell says that he still has hopes for the future of the racetracks.

“The Freedom Factory and Bradenton Motorsports Park, in the short term, will be just fine,” said Mitchell following the vote. “This stuff’s going to start affecting us in five to six years from now, but if we start to make the right actions over the next couple of months we may be able to save ourselves some headaches, or even having the track shut down.”


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