As new council members Bill DeHart and Forest White took their oath of office at Tuesday’s Turlock City Council meeting, a striking controversy bowled into City Hall before the council voted in favor of a 51,828 sq. foot family entertainment center, which includes bowling lanes, a laser tag arena and bocce ball courts.
“Our kids have an opportunity to hop on their bike, skateboard or whatever, get off the computer and go have fun,” said Kathy Halsey, a Turlocker who lives blocks away from the selected venue site off of Crowell Road. “People who are bringing this to the community need to be commended for it.”
Central Valley Property Investments, LLC are the developers who decided to bring a little fun to Turlock.
“I am so excited about this idea,” said Nicole Larson, sophomore at Turlock High School. “I see this as a spark to start a flame for Turlock to grow as a community. Movies just aren’t enough here. We will have something to bring people to us instead of us going to them.”
The fun center was recommended for approval by the Turlock Planning Commission on Nov. 4, before making its way on the City Council agenda.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved the California Environmental Quality Act for the venue site, the amended General Plan Land Use Diagram and they amended the Zoning Map to allow the venue to be built in a residential area.
The center will be located on the corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Crowell Road right behind the Rite Aid shopping center. It will include a 34-lane bowling alley, a 4,000 sq. foot multi-level laser tag arena, an arcade with approximately 75 games, a sports bar with seating for 200 guests, shuffle board, three outdoor bocce ball courts and outdoor dining. There will also be two 5,000 sq. feet commercial pad buildings along with the site that currently have no tenants.
Despite the fun that is expected from the entertainment center, some neighbors are not happy about the selected location.
“Change the location,” said Larry Murray. “We are residential. We bought here, we live here and we bought it because it’s residential. Please leave us in the neighborhood that we have.”
Ken DeMartini told the City Council on Tuesday that his health would suffer from the expected construction and noise level this venue will bring.
He said the construction from building Rite Aid cost him $10,000 in upgrades to his house to keep the noise out and rebuild the cracks in his house from the vibrating construction.
“It physically made me sick,” DeMartini said. “I will literally be fighting for my health. If this is approved, I will literally be forced to leave my home. It will literally destroy my health, my life and my home.”
The amended General Plan approved on Tuesday incorporated two worries coming from nearby neighbors — noise and traffic.
Neighbors were complaining about an increased level of noise but the Planning Commission conducted a noise study that showed the noise levels will not exceed the ordinance limits from the city. They also reduced the amount of hours the fun center can be open.
Originally, the fun center was scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Now the hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and will close at 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The bocce ball courts will also be closed at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and closed at 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Another study found that traffic would increase by 990 trips per day but the amount of trips and increased traffic was not significant.
“There are probably 900 people in and out of McDonalds every day,” said Dave Halsey, Turlock neighbor. “The traffic issue doesn’t make sense to me.”
Council will discuss establishing the conditions of approval for the planned development and the sign program at future council meetings.
The Ten Pin Fun Center is expected to be completed by winter 2011.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.