Planners approve Red Barn rezoning
45 acres to be site of development
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.