Rezoning seen as way to help development
City Council to consider proposal on second reading
FAYETTEVILLE — A mix of homes and shops could accompany a proposed extension of Rolling Hills Drive to Arkansas 265 on the north side of town.
The City Council on Thursday left on its first reading a proposal to rezone 11 acres south of Butterfield Trail Elementary School, near where Rolling Hills Drive dead ends with Old Missouri Road. Property owner James Keenan owns about 50 wooded acres there, as well as the Keenan TowerHouse designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects.
The rezoning from single-family residential to neighborhood services, general, would spur mixed development, said Mitch Weigel with Downtown Properties Real Estate Group. He gave as examples cluster homes, dry cleaning businesses or coffee shops. The parcel up for rezoning doesn’t touch any of the adjacent property lines, including that of the school, he said.
The neighborhood services, general, zoning district allows up to four-family dwellings and small businesses such as day cares, bookstores or florists. Building height is restricted to 45 feet.
The city’s mobility plan update, which consultants with Nelson/Nygaard are still working on, suggests connecting Rolling Hills Drive to Crossover Road. No timetable has been set for the possible extension and the council still has to approve the mobility plan once it’s finished, City Planning Director Andrew Garner said.
Alderman Justin Tennant of Ward 3 said he received numerous messages and phone calls about the rezoning proposal. He cautioned the council to make sure the area is developed correctly, but also stressed the area’s uniqueness.
“I think most people don’t realize there’s a patch that big anywhere in the city,” Tennant said.
Alderwoman Sarah Bunch, also of Ward 3, asked to hold off on a decision until the council could tour the area and more members of the public could weigh in. The council will take up the item on its second reading during the next meeting.
Also Thursday, all eight council members agreed to put money toward “traffic calming measures” for neighborhoods. Aldermen Alan Long and Matthew Petty sponsored the proposal after numerous requests from constituents.
Long said he didn’t have a specific figure in mind but emphasized the importance of having a plan in place.
“I think that staff is more than capable of determining what they think is necessary to come up with specific, creative solutions to fit what’s needed in Fayetteville,” he said.
Petty said dedicating part of the budget won’t equate solely to speed tables. He used the city’s tactical urbanism beta program as an
example of residents coming up with solutions the city can sign off on. Petty served as a proponent of the initiative in which residents can create plans, such as for crosswalks, and use nonpermanent material to build them.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan advised the council the Capital Improvement Projects fund has about $8 million in it. Petty said the council could explore multiple avenues of
funding when it gets to budget time.
“I think sending a signal that we think it’s important and we think it could be met in a variety of ways is the appropriate road for us to take as a council whenever we talk about budget,” Petty said.
The council also voted 8-0 to open up Fayetteville Public Television services to nonresidents. Doug Bankston, director of media services, presented a list of several interested parties who wanted to take classes or produce shows. Among them were
Girl Scouts, officials with Northwest Arkansas Community College and Al Lopez, also known as “Papa Rap,” who would make shows in Spanish.
Nonresidents will pay a $50 annual fee to use the public access service, similar to how the library charges nonresidents for its use. The move will put an additional $1,000 to $2,000 annually into the service’s trust account, according to city staff.