Baseball Fields Will be Built on West U Rec. Center Fields
Construction will move forward on two little league baseball fields at the West U Recreation Center despite opposition from one resident.
The West U City Council unanimously approved three variances request Monday night from the West University Tri-Sports Association to allow them to build two baseball fields and four batting cages on city property.
Tom Pielech, who lives in the 4200 block of Ruskin, asked council to vote against the variance requests, saying that Tri-Sports was taking away green space that families enjoy.
He also asked council how they would feel if they had a 40 ft. fence running along their property and said that if a property owner came to council with similar requests they would most likely be denied.
City Manager Michael Ross said that the fields were built with the intention to turn the space into ball fields.
Councilman Ed Heathcott said the community can still use the space when the fields are not in use.
“I’m highly prejudiced on this one,” said Mayor Bob Fry, adding that he served as president of Tri-Sports. “I want to see it go through.”
The council had to approve three variance requests that vary from city codes before Tri-Sports could move forward with the project.
Council approved the following requests:
– Baseball fiends and dugouts – requesting approval to exceed the 35’ height requirement, the maximum height allowed in a single family district zone, by 5’, specifically in the construction of a 40’ high foul ball safety fence along the southern and eastern portion of the ball fields.
– Total fixed structures allowed – based on the single family district zone requirements, a maximum of three accessory structures are allowed on this property. The four dugouts and the four batting cages would exceed this maximum by six structures. Requesting a variance to allow for the construction of six additional accessory structures.
– Setback variance – in order for the four batting cages to be constructed without impeding on the existing ball fields footprints and the walking/jogging trail, staff is requesting a variance to the 5’ setback requirement for structures located in a rear yards, on the west side of the property by granted, if necessary.
The city and Tri-Sports negotiated phasing of the improvements in 2009 with the understanding that all costs associated with the project are paid for by Tri-Sports.
Tri-Sports will also maintain the field improvements.