KELLER -- A set of enormous domes that would encompass up to five tennis courts each at a proposed tennis facility in Keller are drawing the ire of neighbors.
The Birch Racquet and Lawn Club hopes to break ground soon on a high-dollar project that will include a clubhouse, parking, a restaurant, a few golf holes, and, of course, rows of tennis courts.
One-time standout professional Taylor Dent is behind the idea, which would occupy what is now a 27-acre horse farm on Johnson Road.
"There is a big need here in Keller," says Dent.
The initial plan got city approval last year. But some neighbors intensified opposition to the project a couple of weeks ago, namely because of what they say is a new component.
"It's a monstrous envelope of material," says Brian Campbell. "We're talking about giant bubbles that are inflated 24/7."
Dent wants to enclose at least five courts with a bubble dome to provide his clients and members with an indoor tennis option.
"Honestly, when I moved here we weren't sure what the need would be for it," he said. "But if you play tennis, you will express the need for indoor courts in this area. There is rain and even the heat during the summer."
Dent says they listened to initial concerns about the dome's location. The plan calls for two of the structures down the line to be relocated to the interior of the facility.
"Where we're placing it is sunken low. We're going to be putting up landscaping to help obscure it," he said.
But the assurances have done little to satisfy homeowners like Campbell, or his neighbor Matt Shaltry.
"I will look directly out onto it," he said. "These are huge at some 37,500 square feet."
Shaltry says most people have accepted that the club will be built. But construction for the bubble enclosures doesn't qualify under any city code.
"There is no approval for something like this," he said.
The city council tabled the issue earlier this month. Another vote is expected for early April, although a super majority will be needed for approval.
According to WFAA's media partner, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the domes can withstand up to 150 miles per hour winds and heavy snowfall.
To learn more about the Dent Tennis Facility, go here.
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