No Zone Like Home

No Zone Like Home

Rezoning request stirs up residents


The Fayetteville City Council heard from residents concerned their neighborhood will become unrecognizable with rezoning requests such as the one discussed March 5.

The council left the proposal on its first reading. It will take it up again in two weeks.

The proposal would rezone about 2 acres at Whippoorwill Lane and Crossover Road, south of Mission Boulevard. It would change from a residential district allowing up to four units per acre to one allowing up to eight units per acre. The Planning Commission forwarded the item to the council with a recommendation of approval by a 7-1 vote.

Twenty-one people spoke against the proposal at the Planning Commission meeting. Concerns included pedestrian safety, setting a precedent for higher density in the neighborhood, potential development being incompatible with homes and an increase in traffic.

A letter from Bates & Associates says the request is to accommodate a lot split with development on those lots. The type of zoning requested allows the same types of uses as the current zoning, which is single-family homes and accessory dwellings. With a permit from the Planning Commission, other uses are allowed such as duplexes, limited business, recreational facilities or clusters of homes.

Lot width under the current zoning is 70 feet for a single-family home or 80 feet for a duplex. Lot width under the new zoning requested is 50 feet for both.

Fifteen people spoke to the council, all against the request.

Laura Cate, an Inwood Lane resident, asked the council to protect the neighborhood. She said she feared the council was being misled about the proposal being a solution to the city’s growth crunch.

“I understand the need for development, but 16 houses at the end of the street — it doesn’t fit,” Cate said. “There are other ways we can make this work.”

Chris Mcginnis, another neighbor, said the request seemed like a land grab setting a precedent for incompatible development in the neighborhood.

“We don’t need growth at the expense of something that’s valuable to the city,” he said.

Council members discussed the function of a pond on the western side of the property near Crossover Road. A home sits on the eastern acre. Garner Stoll, Development Services director, said the pond could be filled in and built on under the current or requested zoning.

Council member Sarah Marsh said with 50,000 new residents expected to move to Northwest Arkansas over the next decade, the city has to be judicious with land use. Everyone having their own acre, for instance, would significantly impact green space, the environment, resources, infrastructure needs and transportation services, she said.

“These small decisions, lot by lot, have exponential impacts when you consider how they affect the regional growth pattern,” Marsh said.

Council member Sarah Bunch said she’s lived in the city her whole life and has seen many neighborhoods change.

“We can’t allow everything to say the same,” she said. “I hate that, but I’m also excited about it at the same time because it allows different people to come to our community.”



Next Meeting

WHEN — 5:30 p.m. March 19

WHERE — Room 219, City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville

Categories: In The News