By Karen Daniels
For the past 35 years, AMF Stafford Lanes has been on Highway 90 at the Southwest Freeway. Leagues, lessons, celebrations big and small, have been attended by millions. At the November Planning & Zoning meeting, in construction and facility issues, John Isbell, project manager with AMF Stafford, made the request for a Specific Use Permit so that they may add twin sand volleyball courts in front of their building. Isbell stated that the company is looking to “diversify the customer experience” and “give young adults something else to do.”
In addition to the courts, decking with tables and chairs, landscaping and lighting for added safety, and the possibly of an awning for hot summer days was discussed. Added revenue is another reason for expansion. Since Main Event opened their doors in The Fountains, the public now has a choice of two places to bowl within two miles.
The Committee Members and Mayor Leonard Scarcella asked many questions about the potential distraction a volleyball court might cause to traffic driving east on Highway 90. Due to the current zoning ordinances, fences cannot be added to the fronts of any property on the Primary Corridor in Stafford.
However, like a batting cage, if the fence completely surrounds the dwelling it would then become an enclosure. The placement of landscaping was talked about as ways to deter balls from going onto the highway. Stafford City Attorney, Art Pertile, explained that if there were an auto accident in front of the bowling center because of a run-a-way ball or distracted driving “the City would not be liable.”
The Planning & Zoning Commission seemed open to the idea, but needed exact parameters before they could make a recommendation. The mayor said, “This is conspicuous. There should be some way with plants to mitigate any visual negatives” and “strongly encourages esthetically screening the activities” from the drivers. A motion to continue the public hearing next month, December 10, passed.
The public is encouraged to attend.