The Cedar Park City Council held a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to modify the city's outdoor amusement ordinance. the amendment could make it easier for businesses to pursue opening smaller amusements like batting cages and golf driving ranges.
City staff said the idea to amend the ordinance grew out of the owner of the Splash Shack, an indoor micro water park in Cedar Park, wanting to add an outdoor miniature golf course to the property.
Under the City of Cedar Park’s Zoning ordinance, the owner's indoor water park was covered by the current zoning. However, since the miniature golf would be outdoors, it was subject to outdoor commercial amusement zoning, which requires a minimum 600-foot distance from any residential zoned areas. It would be impossible for this owner to build due to the surrounding zoning.
The ordinance amendment splits the Outdoor Commercial Use zoning into two categories to better reflect scale and intensity of use - Outdoor Commercial Amusement, Major and Outdoor Commercial Amusement, Minor. Both designations would still be designated as special use in the city’s land use chart but Outdoor Commercial Amusement, Minor would not be subject to the 600-foot requirement.
The types of outdoor amusements were also split between the two new zoning provisions to reflect the difference in amusements used more by the local community versus larger ones that draw from throughout the region and the differences in intensity of use.
The Minor amusement zoning will cover miniature golf, sport fields, golf driving ranges and batting cages. The Major amusement zoning will cover amusement or theme parks, fairgrounds, drive-thru theaters, go-cart tracks, water parks and skate parks.
City staff said any Minor amusement zoning requests would still have to come before the council for approval, so they could decide if the business fit with the area and potentially request special conditions before approving.
"I was impressed with the staff's work on this. I think it makes a lot of sense," said Council member Mike Guevara.
Staff said that if the amendment is passed, they anticipate Splash Shack will bring its miniature golf request before the council at a future meeting.
The council will hold a second reading and vote on whether to approve it at a future meeting.