Discussion continues over south Fayetteville’s Parksdale neighborhood

Discussion continues over south Fayetteville’s Parksdale neighborhood

FAYETTEVILLE — A proposal from the city’s planning staff to rezone a neighborhood on the south side of town didn’t quite hit the mark with neighbors Monday but will become part of an ongoing discussion over the area’s future.

About 30 neighbors joined city planners, council members and administrators for a second Parksdale neighborhood meeting at Christ’s Church on 15th Street. An introductory meeting was held last month.

Parksdale sits south of 15th Street between Brooks and Duncan avenues. City planners proposed most of the neighborhood as a residential zoning allowing up to 12 units per acre. Lots abutting 15th Street would have a zoning allowing a mix of residential and low-intensity commercial uses, such as offices, coffee shops or workshops.

A few months ago, several homeowners signed a petition, led by resident Robin Devine, to downzone their properties from the current residential zoning allowing up to 24 units per acre. A three-story duplex on Brooks Avenue near Walker Street in particular roused neighbors’ concerns about future development compatibility with surrounding homes.

City planning staff also suggested a plan that would put sidewalks and on-street parking on Brooks Avenue. Speeding traffic, along with flooding issues and walkability, were among neighborhood weaknesses identified at the previous meeting.

Out-of-scale development was by far the biggest perceived threat among neighbors. Although the suggested residential zoning would allow up to 12 units per acre, an overlay district, or additional set of restrictions, would minimize the impact, City Planning Director Andrew Garner said.

For example, the lowest height threshold for any zoning is three stories. The overlay for the neighborhood would set a two-story building height maximum.

Also, building size would depend on the lot size. A maximum 2,000-square-foot building could go on a lot of fewer than 7,260 square feet. A lot between 7,260 square feet to 10,889 square feet could have a maximum 2,500-square-foot building. Any lot greater than 10,889 square feet would the largest building possible at 3,500 square feet.

Many of the neighbors expressed concern that the suggested zoning would allow too many people to cram into one dwelling. Planners said the building size restrictions would dissuade the sort of development with which neighbors had taken issue.

A question came up about how to halt further development until the City Council rezones the neighborhood. Mayor Lioneld Jordan said he would have to consult the city attorney about that idea. City planners will devise an amended zoning proposal based on the input they received and present it during another community meeting.

Judith Matthews, who for about 15 years has owned a home that her daughter’s family now lives in within the neighborhood, said people there want to maintain the low-profile feeling. Dialogue between the city and residents is heading in the right direction, she said.

“It is a lot of retired people living here and families,” Matthews said. “Something positive is going to happen, which wasn’t happening before. I’m very optimistic about something good coming out of this that most people will at least be comfortable with.”

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