Re­zon­ing seen as way to help de­vel­op­ment

City Council to con­sider pro­posal on se­cond reading

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - STACY RYBURN

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.

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