May 16, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Car dealership land on path to mix of uses in Fayetteville

3 min read

FAYETTEVILLE — The soon-to-be former site of Lewis Ford on North College Avenue got a step closer Monday to redeveloping with a number of mixed uses, including apartments, a hotel, retail and office space.

The Planning Commission voted 9-0 to support rezoning about 5.9 acres west of Plainview Avenue and Longview Street, about 800 feet west of College Avenue. The land is sparsely developed; however, it lies immediately west of Lewis Ford. City Center North, LLC, bought the land along with other nearby pieces for $9 million in December, according to Washington County property records.

The City Council is considering rezoning about 7 acres immediately north of the land the Planning Commission looked at Monday. The council will review that rezoning request today, and will make the final decision on both requests.

A conceptual drawing provided to the commission shows a mixed-use development covering the land from those two requests, as well as the current Lewis Ford site facing College Avenue. The concept shows three retail buildings near College Avenue and a 48,000-square-foot apartment complex behind that to the west. Farther west, the concept includes office buildings, a 12,500-square-foot hotel and a restaurant and bar.

The land the commission reviewed Monday is currently zoned residential and would change to an urban thoroughfare district, the city’s most intense type of zoning that allows a wide variety of commercial and residential uses.

The city plans to extend Plainview Avenue south to the Fiesta Square shopping center as part of a transportation bond issue voters approved in 2019. Construction on the extension should start next year.

Commissioners who spoke praised the mixed-use project, saying the area is largely underdeveloped. Porter Winston said the request aligned with the city’s future plans.

“I think it’s really quite appropriate to get more intensity and density in the midtown area,” he said.

In December, the City Council granted a request from Lewis Ford to rezone about 5 acres at the southeast corner of Moore Lane and Deane Solomon Road. Representatives of the business said they plan to move the dealership to that location. The Planning Commission had initially rejected the request, but the City Council granted an appeal.

In other business, the commission held until Feb. 28 a request from Prairie Street Live to extend its hours for live music.

The venue asked to have amplified music three nights per week as opposed to two, and to extend hours on Thursdays from 9 p.m to 10 p.m. It also asked to have its permit allowing live music granted indefinitely, rather than having to gain renewal from the Planning Commission every year. The permit is set to expire Saturday.

Owner April Lee asked the commission to hold off on voting until Feb. 28 so more people would have a chance to comment. She said the business is remodeling and does not plan to reopen until March 3.

Ten people spoke to the commission either in person or online via Zoom. Eight expressed support for the business and the role it serves in the city’s arts community. Two nearby property owners said noise has been an issue and the location wasn’t right for a live music venue.

The venue had two noise ordinance violations recorded last year, according to Cpl. Greg Dawson with the Fayetteville Police Department.

Winston said he felt his fellow members needed to continue allowing live music at a venue within the city’s arts corridor, where it has invested millions of dollars. Some neighbors may be unhappy as a result, he said.

Commissioner Jimm Garlock said he supports the arts, but the question came down to whether the venue complies with the city’s noise ordinance. He said he wanted to hear more about how the venue plans to control and monitor music volume.

Commission action

Fayetteville’s Planning Commission met Monday and approved:

• Rezoning 6 acres southwest of Razorback and Cato Springs roads from limited neighborhood services to a community services zone, allowing a wider variety of uses, with a portion for tree preservation.

• Rezoning about 8.9 acres from agricultural to a mix of residential and commercial uses.

• Rezoning about 65.9 acres south of Arkansas 112 near Deane Solomon Road for a mix of residential and commercial uses.

Source: Fayetteville