Pinnacle complex approved by Rogers Planning Commission

Posted: November 8, 2017 at 1:08 a.m.

ROGERS -- A great deal of public debate didn't deter the Planning Commission from approving a plan for an apartment complex near Pinnacle Country Club.

The 13-acre development at 4601 S. Champions Drive went before the commission once before.

The apartment complex would be a gated community with substantial buffering on the country club side and very little parking visible from streets, said attorney Bill Watkins, who represented SC Bodner Co.'s request.

Watkins said several revisions were made since the project was last presented, including shortening building heights. No height variances were requested in the new version of plans. A pond assisted in tree preservation and a pond, berm, walking trail and other landscaping will be placed between the development and the closest building, which is 256 feet away, Watkins said.

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"There will be very little to see due to elevation and screening," Watkins said.

He estimated the traffic impact at 1,036 trips per day, which is a fraction of the impact of an office park.

Martin Porter, who lives closest to the proposed site, said he and his wife were prepared for the possibility of office buildings and commercial sites popping up nearby, but he staunchly opposes an apartment complex.

"The master plan didn't say anything about multifamily coming up beside us or east of us," Porter said during the public hearing of the commission meeting. "We would much rather see 60-foot office buildings because those people go home at night. They're not looking into our homes, knowing when we're there and when we leave."

Watkins said his client met with Porter and offered to provide an ornamental metal fence and landscaping on the side of his property. Porter questioned how much of a three-story building would be blocked by holly bushes and a fence.

Wayne Bryan, a developer who lives nearby on Razorback Road, also opposed the development. Bryan recently invested $700,000 into remodeling his home and now considers that money lost due to an expected decline in property value from the apartment complex.

Justin Hunter, a resident of Manor subdivision, was also concerned about property value and echoed the support for commercial buildings instead.

"I can guarantee you that property values are lost," said Don Myers, a Realtor. "A lot of people from out of state and the northeast, they're looking for country living in a metro area ... I don't see a need for this to be done."

"If they're looking for country living, the mule has done left the barn," Watkins said. "It's already residential office, highway commercial in that area and folks, that ain't country living. People in Pinnacle don't think so either."

Watkins maintained his client had the right to develop the land in any way permitted by law.

Commissioner Mark Myers said he couldn't imagine the proposed area not ending up as a mixed-use development.

"The more people we can put close together near traffic artery the better," said Don Spann, commission chairman. "It's better to concentrate closer to interstate where we can handle traffic efficiently and disperse quicker."

The vote passed with only commissioner John Schmelzle against.

Plans for an apartment complex remanded to Planning Commission by City Council last month gained approval Tuesday night.

Commissioners approved the rezoning and plans of Pinnacle Lofts because the revisions were less impactful for neighbors of the development.

"We reviewed the density concept plans and had more in-depth discussion to look at amenities proposed to enhance what's good about the higher density and mitigate the negatives raised by the public," said John McCurdy, director of community development. McCurdy referred to a committee meeting called especially for this and one other project.

The request by Ron Pender for Kingman Land LLC rezoned 20 acres on the north side of Stoney Brook Road from agricultural to the residential multifamily at 19 rental units per acre.

The committee assessed whether revised plans took neighbor's privacy into consideration through issues such as sight lines and heights of buildings.

The new plans pushed buildings further away from neighbors, shortened some buildings by an entire floor and took differing elevations into account to make it less obtrusive to those nearby, said attorney Bill Watkins, who represented the Pinnacle Lofts project during the meeting.

NW News on 11/08/2017