Plan­ners ap­prove Red Barn re­zon­ing

45 acres to be site of de­vel­op­ment

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MELISSA GUTE

BEN­TONVILLE — A mul­ti­fam­ily de­vel­op­ment pro­posal for just north of down­town may pro­vide a va­ri­ety of hous­ing op­tions, pre­serve agri­cul­tural land and make more pedes­trian-friendly con­nec­tions.

Green Cir­cle Projects, Modus Stu­dio, Eco­log­i­cal De­sign Group and Land3 sub­mit­ted what they call an “ur­ban agri­cul­ture neigh­bor­hood” in their re­quest to re­zone about 45 acres along North­west A Street to a planned res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the re­zon­ing re­quest 5-0. Com­mis­sion­ers Scott Ec­cle­ston and Richard Binns were ab­sent.

The ap­proval came af­ter res­i­dents ex­pressed mixed feel­ings about the pro­posal.

C Street Prop­er­ties bought the land, which sits just north of Lin­coln Ju­nior High School, from the Shore fam­ily last year for $3.17 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to land records. C Street Prop­er­ties’ Post Offie box is the same as Wal­ton En­ter­prises.

The de­vel­op­ment, called Red Barn, will have of three-story apart­ments and town­homes on the south­ern 12 acres. There will be 12 units per acre max­i­mum, ac­cord­ing to meet­ing doc­u­ments.

The 6 acres on the north­east cor­ner along North­west A Street will be used for agri­cul­tural pur­poses

in­clud­ing a ro­ta­tional graz­ing of chick­ens, goats and cat­tle and small or­chards.

The 26 acres to the north will be re­served for sin­gle fam­ily homes.

The de­vel­op­ers are propos­ing to build a bike trail along North­west A Street. The NWA Trail­blaz­ers also have plans to build trails around the project site, ac­cord­ing to meet­ing doc­u­ments.

Sandy Love­less, daugh­ter of Mary Kay and the late John Shores, told com­mis­sion­ers her fam­ily “couldn’t be more thrilled” with the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

She ex­plained her fa­ther bought the land in 1956 for a place to keep his hogs. He would love the agri­cul­tural com­po­nent and green space will be main­tained, she said.

His red barn will be pre­served and moved to the site’s south­east cor­ner and be used for a neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ing space.

The barn also is fea­tured in the book Barns of Ben­ton County.

“I wish my dad was here to see it,” Love­less said. “I know he would love it.”

About 100 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing, which was held at the Pub­lic Li­brary to ac­com­mo­date the crowd size. There were more than 20 peo­ple who spoke dur­ing the pub­lic hear­ing.

Many said they loved the con­cept but were wor­ried about the traf­fic the de­vel­op­ment would bring. Lin­coln Ju­nior High School is just south of the de­vel­op­ment site. Sugar Creek and Thomas Jef­fer­son el­e­men­tary schools are about a half mile south­west of Lin­coln.

Res­i­dents also said they’ve seen an in­crease in traf­fic since the Wood­land Creek­side Apart­ments were built just north­east of the dis­cussed de­vel­op­ment site.

Ti­mothy Toland, res­i­dent on North­west A Street, in­vited com­mis­sion­ers to his porch to see the traf­fic.

“I’ll give you cookies and le­mon­ade, but please, wait un­til school starts,” he said.

Toland also ex­pressed con­cern about the graz­ing an­i­mals.

“If they get on [ North­west] A Street, we’re go­ing to have fresh meat that night,” he said.

Mark Slaugh­ter, also a res­i­dent of North­west A Street, sup­ported the pro­posal and said the prop­erty owner has a right to de­velop it as they see fit.

“We don’t want to be the peo­ple who say no and sti­fle progress,” he said. “Traf­fic is go­ing to get worse if we agree with this or not.”

It could be de­vel­oped into some­thing with more den­sity if this project wasn’t ap­proved, he said.

The de­vel­op­ment will have 166 units, which is much less than the 270 per­mit­ted un­der the city’s land use plan, said Chris Baribeau, ar­chi­tect with Modus Stu­dio.

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