Better Or Worse?

Better Or Worse?

Residents, council disagree on change in zoning


An approved rezoning falls in line with the city’s land use plans and likely won’t adversely affect the lives of the people living in the neighborhood, Fayetteville City Council members said Oct. 16.

The City Council voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning at the northeast corner of Lawson Street and Gregg Avenue, west of the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks. Adella Gray was the sole “no” vote. John La Tour was absent.

The rezoning will change just under half an acre from a single-family designation allowing up to four homes per acre to one allowing a variety of housing types up to 12 units an acre.

Residents in the VA Hill neighborhood, which the property is part of, began a petition in opposition to the rezoning with about 50 signatures.

Homes ranging from single-family to quadplexes, accessory dwellings and cluster homes sharing a courtyard will be allowed under the new residential intermediate zoning. Lot width minimum for a single-family home or duplex under the zoning is 50 feet. Height maximum is two stories for a building within 10 feet from the street or three stories for one beyond 10 feet.

The property’s previous zoning allowed only single-family homes with accessory dwelling units, unless otherwise granted with a permit. Minimum lot width was 70 feet, with a building height maximum of three stories.

Five neighbors spoke in opposition to the rezoning at the meeting. Eric Parkinson, head of the VA Hill neighborhood association, said neighborhoods such as his are part of what make the city such a desirable place to live. He also said he believed traffic from development there and apartments west of Gregg Avenue could make the corner with Lawson Street more dangerous.

Residents who live at VA Hill made an investment in their properties with the impression it would remain a single-family neighborhood, Parkinson said.

“Families, every night at sunset, walk and enjoy it and are neighborly and shake hands and talk,” he said. “If you start adding a lot of congestion, you’re taking that charm away.”

Jim Burgin, who requested the rezoning, said the two homes and workshop at the property are deteriorating and need work. He described it as a slum property in the making.

Rezoning will allow for removal of an eyesore and a higher tax base to move in, Burgin said.

“The VA Hill association — they know not what they do to themselves,” he said. “Because if it stays like it is, it’s going to be a problem.”

Council member Sarah Marsh said leaving the zoning as it was would make it possible to build two single-family homes with two accessory dwelling units each, bringing to total potential units up to six. The rezoning allows housing types other than single-family, she said.

If a triplex or quadplex were built, for example, no accessory dwelling units would be allowed. It also would trigger a city review to address issues such as storm water and street improvements, Marsh said. Otherwise, no such review would be called for with a single-family home.

Gray asked about similar rezoning proposals coming from the neighborhood, and said she understood why neighbors were concerned.

In other business, the council left on its first reading a rezoning request in the Walker Park neighborhood. It too would allow for a higher density than the current zoning. The parcel is at South Washington Avenue between 12th and 13th streets.

Nine residents, mostly neighbors, spoke against the proposal. Many cited concerns with out-of-scale buildings coming into a mostly single-family neighborhood.

The current zoning was part of the Walker Park neighborhood plan adopted in 2008. Council members said leaving the item on its first reading will allow time to review that plan. Gray said she wouldn’t be able to attend the next meeting and asked the council to hold off on a vote.



Next Meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8

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



What Else Happened?

Fayetteville’s City Council also approved on Oct. 16:

• Dissolving the City Board of Health, which hadn’t had an item on its agenda in more than a year.

• Using a grant from the Walton Family Foundation to hire Nabholz Construction as the construction manager for the planned cultural arts corridor downtown.

The council left on its first reading a request for a planned zoning district for the Sagely Place subdivision at North Old Missouri and East Zion roads. The plan would bring 111 attached and detached dwelling units and a clubhouse with a pool to about 22 acres.

Source: Staff report

Categories: In The News