Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion Re­jects Multi-Fam­ily Re­quest

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion last week unan­i­mously turned down a re­quest to re­zone land to al­low a multi-fam­ily de­vel­op­ment as the sec­ond phase of Farm­ing­ton Heights sub­di­vi­sion.

In­dian Ter­ri­tory, LLC, sub­mit­ted a re­quest to the plan­ners to re­zone 30 acres at South 54th Street and Woosley Farm Road from agri­cul­ture to multi-fam­ily. Melissa Sims is listed as an of­fi­cer for In­dian Ter­ri­tory, ac­cord­ing to the Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site.

Ferdi Fourie, project engi­neer with Civil De­sign En­gi­neers, said the devel­oper pro­posed to have 80 du­plexes to pro­vide 160 units.

The Com­mis­sion ap­proved the pre­lim­i­nary plat for Phase 1 of Farm­ing­ton Heights at its April meet­ing. Phase 1 will have 125 lots for sin­gle-fam­ily homes on 40 acres on the south side of West Sell­ers Road. Fouri pre­sented Phase 1 on be­half of Lots 101, LLC, which also has Sims listed as an of­fi­cer for the cor­po­ra­tion.

Mem­bers of the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion wanted to know why Phase 2 of Farm­ing­ton Heights was pro­posed as a multi-fam­ily de­vel­op­ment, in­stead of sin­gle-fam­ily homes.

“Why not more res­i­den­tial sin­gle-fam­ily homes?” asked com­mis­sioner Jay Moore.

Com­mis­sion mem­ber Judy Horne pointed out the land was a beau­ti­ful area and would make a nice place for more sin­gle-fam­ily homes.

“I think the devel­oper thinks it fits in that area,” Fourie replied.

He de­scribed the du­plexes as “at­tached hous­ing” and said the de­vel­op­ment would pro­vide af­ford­able hous­ing needed in Farm­ing­ton. An­other fea­ture, Fourie said, was that the devel­oper planned to make the de­vel­op­ment nice, such as in­stalling a park.

Com­mis­sioner Bobby Wil­son asked Fourie if the devel­oper con­sid­ered sin­gle-fam­ily homes for Phase 2.

“This pro­vides a dif­fer­ent type of hous­ing that’s next to sin­gle fam­ily homes,” Fourie told him.

Wil­son quickly ob­jected, “You’re go­ing to put that up next to a brand new sub­di­vi­sion? Re­ally?”

An ad­ja­cent prop­erty owner, Ash­ley Swaf­far, ad­dressed the Com­mis­sion, stat­ing her op­po­si­tion to the re­zon­ing re­quest. Swaf­far also op­posed the pre­lim­i­nary plat for Farm­ing­ton Heights, Phase 1, be­cause of traf­fic concerns on Sell­ers Road and concerns about drainage.

Last week, Swaf­far showed com­mis­sion­ers a photo of her view now — an un­de­vel­oped pas­ture — and then photos of cur­rent du­plexes in Farm­ing­ton.

“This is what our view will look like in 10 years,” Swaf­far said.

She ques­tioned how Sell­ers Road would be able to han­dle traf­fic from 125 sin­gle-fam­ily homes in Phase 1 and 160 units in Phase 2.

The re­zon­ing re­quest also had an­other wrin­kle be­cause it is in Farm­ing­ton’s city lim­its but ad­ja­cent and con­tigu­ous with the city of Fayetteville.

Arkansas Act 1198 of 2001 states that to re­zone lands ad­join­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, the gov­ern­ing body of each city must adopt a res­o­lu­tion agree­ing to the re­zon­ing re­quest. The statute says such land shall be zoned for uses that are com­pat­i­ble with ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties in both cities.

An­drew Gar­ner, city plan­ning direc­tor with the city of Fayetteville, sub­mit­ted a let­ter to Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion say­ing the pro­posed re­zon­ing would be in­com­pat­i­ble with Fayetteville’s fu­ture land use plans and ru­ral prop­er­ties in the area. Gar­ner wrote any de­vel­op­ment should be de­signed to en­cour­age preser­va­tion of agri­cul­tural and re­lated uses.

In his let­ter, Gar­ner em­pha­sized he was not speak­ing on be­half of the Fayetteville City Coun­cil but only giv­ing the City Plan­ning Di­vi­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tion about the re­zon­ing re­quest.

Farm­ing­ton com­mis­sion­ers won­dered how much weight they had to give Gar­ner’s let­ter in mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

“The statute doesn’t di­rectly say we can’t go for­ward with it if Fayetteville dis­agrees with it,” Ten­nant said.

The city’s zon­ing or­di­nance gives the right to ap­peal a re­zon­ing de­nial to the Farm­ing­ton City Coun­cil if the pe­ti­tioner be­lieves the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion made an er­ror in its de­ci­sion. The or­di­nance also says if a re­zon­ing re­quest is turned down by the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, an­other ap­pli­ca­tion for change of zon­ing can­not be re­sub­mit­ted for 12 months, un­less the Com­mis­sion or City Coun­cil finds that a sub­stan­tial rea­son ex­ists for waiv­ing the time lim­i­ta­tion.

Fouri could not be reached last week to see if he plans to ap­peal the Com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion or try an­other route in de­vel­op­ing the prop­erty.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Ferdi Fouri, project engi­neer with Civil De­sign En­gi­neers, talks to Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion about a re­quest to re­zone prop­erty from agri­cul­tural to multi-fam­ily. Com­mis­sion mem­bers Gerry Har­ris and Judy Horne had ques­tions about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment to build 80 du­plexes.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Ash­ley Swaf­far tells Farm­ing­ton Plan­ning Com­mis­sion why she is op­posed to a re­quest to re­zone 30 acres from agri­cul­tural to multi-fam­ily. Her prop­erty is ad­ja­cent to the land. Her un­cle, Doug Swaf­far, stands be­side her.

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