LANCASTER APPROVES ROLLER, ICE RINK : FACILITY GETS OK OVER NEIGHBORS' OPPOSITION.
A Panorama City developer is moving ahead with plans to build a $5 million ice and roller hockey rink after the Lancaster City Council rejected a bid by a homeowners association to block the project.
Stephen Biafora, owner of J & S Properties, plans to build a 85,148-square-foot complex between the Antelope Valley Freeway and 15th Street West, north of Avenue L. Plans for the complex include two National Hockey League-size ice rinks and one roller hockey rink.
``We're are shooting for an August opening,'' Biafora said Friday.
The complex is planned for six acres of a 13-acre parcel. The site is bordered by Kaiser Permanente hospital to the north, City Park and the Antelope Valley Freeway to the east, homes and vacant land to the south, and the Park Somerset condominiums and vacant land to the west.
The City Council hearing Thursday night drew a crowd that filled the 275-seat council chambers, about evenly divided between rink supporters and opponents.
The complex drew opposition from the Park Somerset homeowners association, who fear the project will bring an increase in noise and traffic. Park Somerset residents, many of whom are elderly, acknowledge the need for such a recreational center in Lancaster, but are opposed to it putting it next to a quiet neighborhood, said Bill Walsh, an attorney representing the homeowners.
``My clients are a bit disappointed,'' Walsh said. ``They had a dream of living out their lives in peace and quiet.''
The homeowners board will meet in about a week to decide what action if any to take, Walsh said.
The homeowners had appealed a Planning Commission decision approving the project, but that appeal was rejected 5-0 by the City Council at a meeting Thursday night. The property is zoned for commercial use.
The City Council approved a series of conditions on the project, one of them being a requirement for Biafora to meet with the residents every three months to talk about concerns with the operation of the project.
``I don't have blinders on to the concerns of those people,'' Biafora said. ``I'm going to work with those people.''
Other conditions include having no general skating between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and closing the complex altogether from 2 to 4 a.m.
The complex must maintain 24-hour security and is prohibited from selling alcohol.
Plans call for using one ice rink for public skating. The other ice and the roller hockey rink would be used for hockey league games and practices, and by hockey schools. The complex would include seating for 354 spectators.
The complex would have a pro shop, locker rooms, a snack bar and four video game machines.