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Approval sought for indoor batting cage facility

batting cage by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--Bill and Kathy McLean have been in the baseball and softball business for a while now, following their children through school leagues and coaching on the side. Now they want to open some indoor batting cages in Woodinville.
   In order to get a building large enough for six cages and four pitching lanes, the McLeans looked at the city's industrial area and approached the Planning Commission in order to get the use added to the list of conditional uses in the industrial zone.
   The City Council approved first reading of an ordinance two weeks ago allowing just that. They will be considering second reading on May 28; however, some of the industrial zone is also the sexually oriented business overlay district (SOBOD), which is where the McLean's problem lies.
   The building they're looking at right now is the old Greenbaum's building, located within, though on the edge of, the SOBOD. Because the McLeans have yet to apply for the Greenbaum's site, or any other specific site, tweaking of the SOBOD has not been scheduled to date. While the council is in favor of the zoning amendment, they also are considering tweaking the SOBOD so kids can more safely use the batting cages.
   The SOBOD covers 4.92 percent of the city's area, which reflects, according to City Attorney Wayne Tanaka, a range that has withstood or avoided constitutional challenges for allegedly banning sexually oriented businesses and thereby violating first amendment rights. But he added that the 4.92 percent does not preclude or prevent such a challenge.
   The council could cancel outright the overlay for any particular parcel; they could also leave it intact and require a release form be signed by the business owner recognizing the potential risks and impacts.
   Other options include assigning the SOBOD designation to an additional parcel elsewhere in the city or industrial zone, thereby maintaining the SOBOD's 4.92 percent of the land area, or, amend the zoning code to allow a 330-foot cut-out, much like for churches and schools, prohibiting the locating of a sexually oriented business within that radius.