Rogers projects' density less of a hangup for developers under new code

Posted: October 25, 2017 at 1 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER
Rogers City Hall is seen in a 2016 file photo.
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NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Rogers City Hall is seen in a 2016 file photo.

ROGERS -- City employees hope a change to code will remedy issues developers encounter with planned unit developments concerning density requirements and use classifications.

The change, which was approved at a City Council meeting Tuesday, allows for recalculation of density and grants more units per acre based on an additional open space percentage.

Other action

Rogers City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Waiving competitive bidding to buy several items for the Police Department, including 110 ballistic helmets from Aspetto Inc.; 220 ballistic armor plates from Botach Tactical; an automated fingerprint live scan station from Morphotrak; a truck from Superior of Siloam Springs; a van also from Superior of Siloam Springs.

• Spending $10,555 from Airport Fund reserve and authorizing a contract with D-Sign Inc. The money will contribute to replacing the Rogers Executive Airport main entrance sign with one that is consistent in branding. Cost of the sign was budgeted, but the final expense was $10,555 over the origina estimate.

• Rezoning 40 acres at 1803 S. Blue Hill Road from residential single family to agricultural. Eric Covington, the property owner, said he had no intentions of putting up chicken houses or owning hogs, only fulfilling a 19-year-old promise that his wife could one day own a horse again.

• Recognizing insurance proceeds in the amount of $17,573 for police equipment and $19,162 for the airport’s air traffic control tower. The equipment was damaged by lightning during a storm.

• Waiving competitive bidding and authorizing a contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield for health insurance coverage for the city employees for the 2018 calendar year.

• Certifying local government endorsement of business to participate in the Tax Back Program.

• Authorizing the grant of an easement to Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation for Mount Hebron Park.

• Accepting the final plat of The Ivey’s phase II on 21.72 acres.

Source: Staff report

A total of three more units per acre would be awarded for 10 percent additional open space; five more units per acre for 15 percent additional open space and seven more units per acre for 20 percent additional open space, according to documents provided at the meeting.

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"These are overhauls of density, Band-Aid fixes," said John McCurdy, director of community development.

McCurdy said it breaks away from linking the project directly to rules for its underlying district and instead is considered on its own. Current code allows greater density by provision of amenities, but the change allows staff to exercise discretion in granting more density to projects.

Aldermen also approved rezoning a large project by Pinnacle Urban Partners on 15 acres between South Champions Drive and north of Pauline Whitaker Parkway from a mix of agricultural and residential single family to a mix of commercial and residential multifamily at 29 units per acre.

The vision for the project is a walkable community that includes residential, retail, office and restaurant space, with many of those not only close together but in the same building, said Bill Watkins, who represented the project during the meeting. It will be created by the teams of Hunt Ventures, Sage Partners and Urban5 Development.

"You could live on the top floor, work on the second floor, get breakfast on the third floor and maybe get around by having a bicycle," Watkins said.

The project's partners hope to create a village-like area, as in some parts of New York City, taking reliance off of automobiles, Watkins said. More than 400 large trees will be planted as a part of the space. Watkins said a parking garage will be in the center. Buffering will be in place to make a smooth transition for neighbors, he said.

NW News on 10/25/2017