BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bakersfield Planning Commission will consider rezoning vacant office land at city limits for apartments, a remodel to the In-Shape health club in southwest Bakersfield, and changes to its own bylaws at its Thursday meeting.
Smith Tech USA, which is representing land owner Wible Investors II, will ask the commission to rezone 5.89 acres on the north side of Taft Highway, roughly 900 feet west of Wible Road, from office commercial to high density residential, in order to build approximately 167 apartments.
Bakersfield Planning Director Jim Eggert said that the developer hasn't submitted a site plan to the city yet, but the southwest development likely will be a two-story apartment complex, with units renting at market rate -- and not low-income housing.
A Smith Tech employee referred questions to Eagle Land Development, the developer on the project. Representatives of Eagle did not respond to requests for comment.
In a move that will forever alter the former Laurel Glen Tennis Club, In-Shape Health Clubs, which purchased the 6.25-acre facility in 2007, will ask the commission to approve plans to demolish three buildings, including the clubhouse and exercise building, as well as a 1,609-square-foot pool, and seven of 15 tennis courts.
It will replace them with improvements including a new, 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.
"It's a beautiful property. We have great tennis members, but the idea is, it can be so much more," said Michelle Clark, an In-Shape spokeswoman. "It has a pool right now, but it's a small pool."
Eggert said the remodel will develop In-Shape Laurel Glen's entire parcel of land, including its southwestern corner, which has remained undeveloped, and will increase parking from 68 to 245 spaces. The club is mitigating any potential traffic increases with a so-called de-acceleration lane for drivers turning into the parking lot from Ming Avenue.
In other business, the commission will consider changing its own bylaws, to eliminate pre-meetings -- essentially, an earlier, informational meeting for commissioners, to speed up all-nighters during the real estate boom years -- and to streamline the entry process for the incoming commission chair and vice chair.