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Council says 'no' to batting cages in industrial zone

batting cages by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The City Council voted 3-2 on May 27 on second reading of an ordinance to allow batting cages as a conditional use in the industrial zone, failing to get the necessary four affirmative votes for passage of the ordinance.
   The proposal was complicated by the SOBOD (Sexually Oriented Business Overlay District), which covers parts of the city's industrial area. The development conditions state, "Facilities open to youth under the age of 18 shall not be located in SOBOD."
   Deputy Mayor Don Brocha and Councilmembers Art Saulness and Scott Hageman voted in favor of second reading; Councilmembers Marsha Engel and Barbara Solberg voted against; and Mayor Bob Miller and Councilmember Lucy DeYoung were not present.
   "I'm concerned about the safety of the location we would be approving and undoing a lot of work that has been done for the SOBOD," Solberg said. "I would prefer to see (the batting cages) go in some other area." Solberg also was concerned about hazardous materials and traffic associated with the industrial area, favoring a commercial zone for the batting cages.
   Kathy and Bill McClean, proponents of the batting cages, had approached the planning commission several months ago. That body had determined that the displacement of industrial use would be compensated by the recreational benefit. The council had been considering tweaking the SOBOD to allow the batting cages where the McCleans had scouted, in the old Greenbaum's warehouse.
   "If you can show me a place outside the SOB area, I would gladly rent it," Kathy McClean told the council. "There are no facilities of the size we need outside the SOB district."
   Because the vote was 3-2, one of the two dissenting voters would need to ask for reconsideration for the issue to be considered again by the council.
   The council is also working on the Comprehensive Planning process, and the issue could be readdressed during the update of the zoning code, expected to begin this summer after adoption of the policy document.