BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer email@example.com
Following a challenge by club members, the Bakersfield Planning Commission made its call Thursday, approving revised plans to remodel the In-Shape Laurel Glen health club, saving 10 of 15 tennis courts by shrinking a new parking lot and fitness building.
Members, several of whom attended the Commission meeting, had objected to earlier plans preserving just eight courts.
Roger McIntosh, a familiar face to the Bakersfield City Council and the Planning Commission through his work with developers, and a club member, asked the Commission to reopen a public hearing to consider his plan to save at least one additional court.
The commission refused, on advice from Deputy City Attorney Andrew Heglund that legally, the commission could only consider In-Shape's revision.
In-Shape's owners reduced a proposed parking expansion from 245 to 202 spaces and eliminated a new fitness building's mezzanine, slimming it to 28,459 square feet in order to add two new tennis courts.
Original plans presented to the Planning Commission last month aimed at making the club more attractive to families, featuring what was then a 40,704-square-foot main building, a 3,779-square-foot adult pool, a 784-square-foot children's pool and a new outdoor spa.
Formerly the Laurel Glen Tennis Club, the southwest Bakersfield facility remains a tennis stronghold, a place where city officials fine tune their backspin alongside regular folks.
"I understand that you've got what you believe is a better idea, but it's not your money it's his, and I don't believe you should dictate to him how to run his business," Barbara Lomas, Commission vice chair, told McIntosh.
McIntosh left without commenting to The Californian, but club member Jerry Matthews said saving two additional courts is still not enough.
"Made progress. Don't think we're in the right spot," Matthews said.
An In-Shape spokeswoman said the company hopes to break ground on the remodel later this year.
The commission also approved the subdivision of seven acres of land at Seven Oaks Business Park, the next step toward development of two one-acre parcels currently in escrow.
Seneca Resources Corp., the state's seventh largest oil producer in 2012, is in escrow on one parcel, and plans to break ground on administrative offices there during the first half of 2014.
Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, which is building a 60,000-square-foot headquarters across the street at 11500 Bolthouse Drive, is in escrow on another of the five 1-acre parcels, where it will build an information technology building.
The Commission soon will be seeking another qualified representative, Planning Director Jim Eggert said, noting the resignation Wednesday of Planning Commissioner Justin B. Batey, who has moved outside city limits.
Commissioners must live in the city, not always an easy task in Bakersfield, which shares an irregularly-shaped border with Kern County and other municipalities.