Commissioners reject rezoning request from a car dealership in West Fayetteville
Deane Solomon Route / Google Maps
The Planning Commission on Monday rejected a rezoning request that would have allowed a car dealership west of Fayetteville.
Commissioners voted to deny a request by Lewis Automotive to dezone 5.06 acres on Deane Solomon Road from a residential to a commercial district.
Matt Lewis, vice president of Lewis Automotive, said the plan was to relocate the dealership from its current location on North College Avenue, not only on the Deane Solomon property, but also on the Williams Tractor lot and a few plots to the north that the brothers recently bought.
Lewis said the business is landlocked on College Avenue and there is simply no room to grow.
“We have no more land,” he said. “Our business goes sidewalk to sidewalk, so we need to move to keep up with growth and demand in Fayetteville.”
The subject property, located north of Mount Comfort Road, is currently the site of Process Dynamics, an engineering consulting firm. The land is largely undeveloped with the exception of an approximately 7,700 square foot office building and cell phone tower.
City staff said they did not believe the property would be compatible with the surrounding area if it was rezoned to C-2 Thoroughfare Commercial, as requested.
Ryan Umberger, the city’s senior planner, said the land use plans adopted by Fayetteville designate the property as a neighborhood area of the city, which encourages a variety of residential building types and increased density.
“Much of the surrounding area is developed for residential purposes or is not developed at all,” Umberger said. “While some of the commercial uses that would be permitted in Ward C2 are compatible, the intensity and extent of these uses are unlikely to match neighboring properties.”
Additionally, he said staff believe a car dealership would be more likely to attract regional traffic instead of serving adjacent neighborhoods.
City of Fayetteville
Umberger said staff recognize the property is located about half a mile north of the Interstate 49 interchange at Porter Road, which would make it an ideal location from a visibility standpoint. But overall, he said staff recommended that the application be denied on the grounds that C2 would sacrifice some of the higher quality standards associated with some of the city’s commercial districts, which encourage walking and promote building. buildings along the causeway.
Suzanne Clark, an attorney representing the Lewis brothers, said she knew C2 was a district the commission had moved away from in recent years and that getting approval for a non-form-based district was a tough climb. .
But, she said, the property in question adjoins the back of the other land the brothers bought along Shiloh Drive, which includes about 20 more acres already zoned C2.
“This is why we are asking the commission to consider this an exception,” said Clark.
The property is also about 1,000 feet behind the Adventure Subaru dealership and nearly a third of a mile from Crain Hyundai, mentioned by Clark.
“This section of I-49 is quickly becoming the Fayetteville fleet,” said Clark, adding that a Kia dealership is also planned in the area.
As a point of negotiation, Clark said the Lewis brothers would be prepared to rezone part of the property they are releasing on College Avenue from C2 to UT-Urban Thoroughfare if the commission approves their request west of Fayetteville.
“There will be a lot of interest in developing this property,” she said. “We totally respect that it’s outside the norm in how the board views a zoning application … but because of what we’re trying to accomplish and our understanding that it’s a climb. difficult, we felt it was the only one to at least engage in this conversation.
City of Fayetteville
Blake Pennington, assistant district attorney for the city of Fayetteville, said the Arkansas Supreme Court has twice refused to rule definitively on the “contract zoning” issues.
“You have only one request in front of you, so I would advise you to consider that and not a potential future request,” Pennington told Commissioners.
Commissioner Leslie Belden said she thought the property was a good fit for a car dealership, but was reluctant to approve a C2 application with Dean Solomon.
“I think a lot of car dealerships are built along the highway, and it’s becoming the norm there,” she said. “But the problem for me is that Deane Solomon Road has residences across the road and in fact there are new condos being built in this area as well.”
She suggested the Lewis brothers consider a planned commercial zoning district for the property instead of general C2 rezoning. A C-PZD is a custom district designed by the applicant to be used only for a specified purpose instead of allowing a variety of uses – some of which might be considered inappropriate in a certain area.
“Personally, I would feel more comfortable with that,” Belden said.
Commissioner Robert Sharp said he also believed a dealership was compatible with the region, but said he would be more comfortable if C2 was only extended within 150 feet of Deane Solomon, so that there is a buffer zone between the high-intensity shopping district and the surrounding district. .
Clark said the applicants had yet to consider a C-PZD for the 5-acre lot, as they would have to work not only with the city to develop a custom neighborhood, but also with the automakers who have their own standards in terms of how cars and trucks of their brands are presented and sold.
In the final vote, the committee voted 8 to 1 to reject the request.
President Matthew Johnson voted against the denial and said he believed the commission could have come up with something that meets the goals of the city and the applicant.