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By Brian Park
Young volleyball players will soon have a place in San Juan Capistrano to hone their skills after the Planning Commission gave the go-ahead for a new club on Tuesday.
The commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for 949 Volleyball Club to begin operations in a 15,600-square-foot warehouse building, located at 32701 Calle Perfecto.
The club will offer training for beginning players, starting at 10 years old, and advanced training for players up to 18 years old, said club director Justin DeBlasio, who is the former head volleyball coach for San Juan Hills High School and recently finished his first year as head coach at his alma mater, Santa Margarita Catholic High School.
The club will feature three indoor volleyball courts and will be open daily, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will also be up to 10 tournaments per year, to take place on weekends, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
City staff told the commission there would be no parking conflict with a nearby business, Bimbo Bakeries, which requires 27 parking spaces but is only open from midnight to 1 p.m.
The club proposes to have up to 12 employees, with no more than five on-site at any time. On tournament days, there may be up to eight teams and up to 96 participants.
DeBlasio said the location was a perfect choice because it offers up to 30 feet of vertical clearance indoors, whereas the minimum height requirement to host tournaments is 23 feet.
“We’ve been looking for the past three to four years,” DeBlasio said. The club had previously rented space at San Juan Sports Park and JSerra Catholic High School.
With the addition of his club, DeBlasio said the area will become an “athletic row” of sorts. The row of warehouse buildings on Calle Perfecto also features Redline Athletics and Baseball Performance Academy.
Commissioner Sheldon Cohen expressed some concern about young athletes practicing in the parking lot, which runs adjacent to the train tracks. DeBlasio said his athletes would not be allowed to practice or bounce balls outside the building.
DeBlasio hopes to open the club by September 1, just in time for fall tryouts for high school students.