College Avenue zoning tabled
FAYETTEVILLE — The Planning Commission on Monday tabled a public housing development plan and a proposal to rezone a section of College Avenue to allow more time to address aspects of both.
A plan before the commission would expand the Housing Authority-operated Morgan Manor apartment complex at 324 E. 12th Place from 52 units to 110. The Housing Authority is under contract to sell the public housing property it owns at Willow Heights, 10 S. Willow Ave., for $1.25 million. Those residents would then move to the Morgan Manor expansion.
Morgan Manor operates under a form of Section 8, the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, that combines public and private equity to provide rental assistance to low-income residents. City Attorney Kit Williams sent a letter July 3 to Housing and Urban Development officials asking whether the Housing Authority followed proper procedure to sell the land, build the expansion and move the residents.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, also has sent a similar inquiry to Housing and Urban Development officials, according to a spokesman.
The Planning Commission first took up the development plan for the expansion June 12.
Also, the commission moved a proposal to rezone College Avenue from Maple to North streets to a subcommittee of seven commissioners. The proposal made its way once through the Planning Commission and to the City Council. The Ordinance Review Committee and subsequently the full council decided to pass the item back to the commission.
The Planning Commission subcommittee will tackle changing the existing city code rather than creating a new zoning district, as was previously proposed for that section of College Avenue. An idea also will be discussed to create a system so developers could build three-story buildings by right but anything more would require a “retail ready” ground floor.
Residents who spoke during previous Planning Commission meetings made it clear their desire to keep large, student-occupied apartments from towering over their neighborhoods. Several also cited traffic safety concerns from heavily populated developments.
City planning staff first proposed the rezoning in April to go along with an ongoing College Avenue improvement project.
The subcommittee will meet following the commission’s agenda session Aug. 10.