FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The World Baseball Academy has submitted plans to add playing fields, and increase pole lighting with a request to consolidate zoning into one commercial designation.
If the academy’s requests are granted, there will be more opportunity for practice and tournaments and provide better safety, the application states.
The 27-acre property at 1701 Freeman St. has four existing fields, according to documents filed with the Fort Wayne Plan Commission this week. The plan calls for adding two baseball fields and granting a waiver on the 40-foot height restriction on pole lighting, allowing two 60-foot and two 70-foot poles for each of the proposed fields.
The applications for another waiver on the 8-foot fencing height restriction would “be waived for 24-foot backstops that extended from dugout to dugout on each of the proposed fields,” the application states.
The rezoning request is due to the property’s mixed designation – C3, C2 and R3. R3 allows for multifamily housing. The owners would like the entire property to be zoned C3.
“The lighting and fencing waivers would ensure that the fields are property lit and that spectators and pedestrian at the games would be properly protected and aware of any stray hits from the baseball games,” the application states.
Although there are no residential properties near the baseball fields, a landscaping buffer on the parking lot “will allow us to keep the existing alley functional and prevent any burden upon the adjacent residential by having to remove that access due to the encroachment.”
The application says that if the requested waivers are not granted, “there will likely be no further development of this property as the current need is for more fields to accommodate the amount of games and players. Currently there’s not enough space to practice or play during the tournament since there is very limited playable space on the property. Allowing these waiver requests allows the property to operate its baseball games safer and more efficiently.”
WANE 15 reached out to contact person Caleb Kimmel on Wednesday morning.