By Kevin Kelley
At its Feb. 21 meeting, Westlake City Council unanimously approved the request of Five Seasons Sports Club to add professional office as a main use to the zoning category of its Clemens Road property. However, questions about the sports club’s future sparked by the zoning request persist.
The ordinance approved by council does not rezone the Five Seasons property. Rather, it changes the definition of the recreational business district zoning category, adding professional office as a main use. Five Seasons filed an application with the city to change the definition in December.
Westlake Planning Director Bob Parry said the definition change adds flexibility to the zoning category and makes the Five Seasons property more compatible with the surrounding area, which feature office complexes, including the world headquarters of adhesive manufacturer Nordson and the rapidly growing Hyland Software.
The zoning request has caused some to question whether Five Seasons will one day close and be purchased by a firm wanting office space. Five Seasons’ management did not return phone calls and e-mails from West Life seeking comment.
Two persons who said they are Five Seasons members spoke at a public hearing Feb. 21 that preceded Council’s vote on the zoning measure.
Marion Walters, who said she has been a Five Seasons member since the club opened, said she has been asking questions about the club’s future since October.
“I just can’t get an answer,” she said. “Is the club going? Is it staying?”
“You would have to ask the owner of the property,” replied Council President Mike Killeen. “They’re the property owner. They have the rights to do with it what they want.”
Stephen Novak, another club member, said Westlake might experience a shortage of tennis courts in Westlake should Five Seasons close. He also asked if the Westlake Recreation Center could handle an increased demand that might come if his club closes.
The council president replied that tennis courts were not indicated as a priority in a survey of Westlake residents taken when the municipal rec center was in the planning stages; therefore, tennis courts were not built at the rec center.
Novak also expressed concern about increased traffic if Five Seasons closes.
“Clearly Five Seasons does not have as much traffic as a big office that you might put in there,” Novak said.
The city is addressing long-standing traffic concerns in the Clemens Road – Crocker Road area, Killeen said. Indeed, at the same council meeting, the legislative body awarded a $4.63 million contract to Fabrizi Trucking for the Clemens Road relocation project, designed to reduce traffic congestion in the area.