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Bowling Alley Proposal Set For Buellton Planning Commission Hearing

After many delays, developer of Live Oak Lanes hopes to get OK to move forward with bowling alley, restaurant and bar project

Carol Lesher Peterson is one of the developers behind the oft-delayed Live Oak Lanes bowling alley and family entertainment center proposed for Industrial Way in Buellton.
Carol Lesher Peterson is one of the developers behind the oft-delayed Live Oak Lanes bowling alley and family entertainment center proposed for Industrial Way in Buellton. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The route to approval for a proposed bowling alley and family entertainment center in Buellton has been anything but straight over the past three years.

But the applicant hopes the project has passed by its final curve as the matter heads to the Planning Commission on Thursday for a public hearing and approvals of several aspects related to the project.

The Buellton Planning Commission meeting will start at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 140 W. Highway 246.

Carol Lesher Peterson, a longtime local businesswoman in the Santa Ynez Valley, and her family have proposed to build Live Oak Lanes in a 49,790-square-foot, two-story building plus a separate warehouse on 5 acres at 39 and 41 Industrial Way. 

“We just thought it would be real healthy family fun time,” she said, adding the area now offers shopping, wine tasting and gambling but lacks activities for families.

The bowling alley would include 16 lanes, an arcade, restaurant, bar and several rooms to host parties and other events. Four lanes would be upscale and can be closed off for private parties.

“It’ll be really plush,” she said. 

Outside, the facility is expected to include batting cages and bocce ball courts. 

This lot on Industrial Way in Buellton is slated for the home of Live Oak Lanes, a bowling alley and family entertainment center, plus a warehouse. Click to view larger
This lot on Industrial Way in Buellton is slated for the home of Live Oak Lanes, a bowling alley and family entertainment center, plus a warehouse. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

‘It’s going to be fun,” she said. “It’s all going to be family fun.”

To prepare, family members have already attended “Bowling University” to get tips on the art of operating the multi-faceted business. Whenever they travel, Peterson family members visit bowling alleys to gather insight for operating their own facility.

An 18,000-square-toot warehouse to be built at the site will be leased, likely to a business already operating in Buellton and needing more room.

The family acquired the land in 2012 and have been working toward getting approvals, but the planning process has stalled amid objections on several fronts from some neighbors.

“It’s just been a nightmare,” Lesher Peterson said. 

Disagreements have centered on easements, a stormwater basin and other aspects of the project. 

Planning Commission hearings planned in May and then in July were postponed. 

Thursday night, planning commissioners will be asked to approve a mitigated negative declaration, final development plan, lot line adjustment, and conditional use permit for the project. 

Meanwhile, Santa Ynez Valley residents frequently ask Lesher Peterson on social media and in person what’s up with the bowling alley, she said.

“We should have been having our two-year anniversary right now,” she added. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

An artist’s concept shows the proposed Live Oak Lanes, with a view looking northeast from the lower parking lot. Click to view larger
An artist’s concept shows the proposed Live Oak Lanes, with a view looking northeast from the lower parking lot. (Courtesy photo)
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