Farmington Planning Commission Rejects Multi-Family Request
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.
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...
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.