Janesville58.2°

Lights OK'd for volleyball court at Watering Hole

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
April 12, 2012
— Volleyball play at the Watering Hole this summer can go on until 10 p.m., now that the owner has permission to install lights.

The Janesville Plan Commission earlier this month issued a conditional-use permit for the lights.


Owner Brian Bailey also asked to host live music outside on Saturday afternoons. He received a positive recommendation from the commission, and the request will go to the alcohol license advisory committee and the city council, likely in May.


The Watering Hole, 1700 N. Washington St., opened its volleyball court two years ago. Play stopped at 9 p.m. because Bailey did not have the OK to put up lights, said Gale Price, city planner. The city has not received any complaints about the volleyball activity from neighbors.


The plan commission was able to OK the lights because the change is part of a conditional-use permit and does not include alcohol.


The owner of Sneakers Bar & Grill, 1221 Woodman Road, last year asked the council to allow lights on the bar's volleyball courts to extend play until 10 p.m. The request went to the council because the Sneakers volleyball courts are fenced and alcohol is allowed in the area.


The request had received a positive recommendation from both staff and the alcohol committee.


The council allowed Sneakers to install lights, but after several neighbors said they worried the lights would cause disruption, the council limited play to 9 pm.


Price said there is nothing wrong with two similar businesses being given different opportunities.


Sneakers has more restrictive commercial zoning than the Watering Hole, which is on Business Highway 14, and Sneakers is not on an arterial street.


"Every location is different," Price said.


That difference includes the support or opposition of neighbors, he acknowledged.


Several Sneakers neighbors have continued to object to Sneakers, despite city staff saying few complaints have been filed since the business announced plans to open in 2009.


What happens if new neighbors move near the Watering Hole and object to the lights?


"There is going to be a vested right (for the owner) at some point," Price said. "After having it years and years and not having a problem, I don't think that somebody moving into the neighborhood later is going to have a strong argument to take them away," he said.


Bailey also wants to host non-amplified, live music on the Water Hole's outside pavilion and deck Saturday afternoons.


Two neighbors appeared before the plan commission April 2 with concerns about the outdoor music, and one neighbor spoke in support, Price said.


The request for outdoor live music goes to the alcohol committee and the council because alcohol is allowed in those areas. Fences at least 42 inches high must surround places where alcohol is allowed.



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