Plans Still Shifting In Parksdale

Plans Still Shifting In Parksdale

Proposal tabled so residents can renegotiate


A proposal city planners have been working on with Fayetteville residents since late last year to rezone their neighborhood will get another round of revisions before it again appears on the Planning Commission agenda.

Commissioners voted to amend, then table, a measure to rezone the Parksdale neighborhood south of 15th Street between Brooks and Duncan avenues. Residents in the neighborhood petitioned the city months ago to downzone their properties after realizing the entire area was zoned decades ago for multi-family housing, yet the neighborhood consists mostly of small, single-family homes and duplexes.

Construction of a three-story duplex on Brooks Avenue near Walker Street last year spurred the discussion. City officials held two town hall meetings in which residents expressed concern that out-of-scale, expensive structures would change the character of the neighborhood.

The map planning commissioners considered June 25 would divide the neighborhood into three zoning categories. The center of the neighborhood would be a neighborhood conservation district, allowing only single-family homes. Other housing types would have to get Planning Commission approval.

Portions west, north and east of the core would allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and clusters of homes without having to get a permit from the Planning Commission. Properties to the north, lining 15th Street, would allow all those housing types and some small businesses.

Height on all of the buildings, except those lining 15th street, would be limited to two stories under what’s called an overlay district. The lowest height limit for everywhere else in the city is three stories.

City planning staff members have said the plan to downzone the neighborhood is unique. Commissioners credited city staff for working with residents over several months. Nine members of the public who spoke June 25 largely expressed support. A motion to forward the proposal to the City Council was made and seconded.

Before a vote, Chairman Matt Hoffman brought up a number of issues with the layout of the map. Anything fronting Brooks Avenue should have the higher residential density, he said. Properties fronting Walker, Duncan and Price avenues should be in the neighborhood conservation district, he said. Hoffman also said he wanted to take a deeper look at the overlay district requirements.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER A three-story duplex is seen on Brooks Avenue near Walker Street in south Fayetteville Monday June 25, 2018. Residents in the Parksdale neighborhood petitioned the city to downzone their properties in order to keep out-of-scale development from moving in. The Planning Commission considered the measure Monday.

“Part of the reason that we’re here in this predicament is that a Planning Commission a generation ago made a very quick, ill-informed decision that we’re living with the consequences of right now,” he said. “I do think there are fatal flaws with this zoning map.”

City Attorney Kit Williams advised the commission the original proposal came from the neighborhood, after several meetings with staff.

Planning commissioners voted 5-2 to change the proposal as Hoffman suggested. Murmurs could be heard from the audience.

Ron Autry and Tom Brown were the “no” votes. Matt Johnson and Leslie Belden were absent.

“All of a sudden we’ve thrown out a whole host of new ideas, which are all good and great,” Autry said. “Perhaps they should’ve been mentioned somewhere since January this year.”

Commissioners followed up the vote by tabling the issue until the next meeting so details could be worked out between planning staff and neighbors.

“I hope we get our you-know-what together,” Brown said.

On May 29, the Planning Commission forwarded a separate proposal to the City Council to rezone about half of the 80-plus properties in the Parksdale neighborhood to a neighborhood conservation district. Those properties were the homeowners who signed the petition to downzone.

The City Council will take up that item July 3. The new proposal the Planning Commission discussed Monday would change some of those properties from the single-family housing district originally requested to the one allowing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.


Next Meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. July 9

Where: Room 219, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.


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