Industrial Development Near Springdale School Voted Down

Springdale Residents Oppose Location Near Homes, Shaw Elementary

SPRINGDALE -- Opponents to an industrial development in a rural area of the city swayed the Planning Commission to vote the proposal down Tuesday.

The commission voted 2-5 against rezoning 140 acres near Shaw Elementary School to a planned industrial district. The district, planned for the northeast corner of West Miller and Grimsley roads, would have included a manufacturing facility called Creative Things, according to the company's plan.

At A Glance

Commission Action

Springdale’s Planning Commission met Tuesday and approved:

• Rezoning 1.2 acres at 905 N. Mill St. owned by Leisure Homes Corp. from low to medium density residential to low density multifamily residential

• Rezoning 3.9 acres at 5950 W. Sunset Ave. owned by Josh and Eloise Pettit Living Trust from thoroughfare commercial to large product retail sales

• Rezoning 1.0 acres at 1306 S.Thompson St. owned by ESCH Family Limited Partnership from general commercial to thoroughfare commercial

• Rezoning 3.8 acres at 2148 N. Thompson St. owned by Randall Webb from general commercial to large product retail sales.

• Plans at 1948 Turnbow St. for Stabil-Loc; near the intersection of Mathias Drive and West Sunset Avenue for Occupational Health and Speech Therapy Clinic.

Source: Staff Report

The company uses plastic injection moulding in its manufacturing process, said Cliff McKinney, an attorney representing Signature Bank, the property owner.

Many of the opponents, totaling about 40, didn't want such an operation near the school and homes. Legendary and Springridge subdivisions are in the area.

"Would you want something like this next to your children's school?" asked Carla Berry, a resident of the area.

The U.S. 412 bypass, scheduled to begin construction this year, would separate the industrial district from the school, said Patsy Christie, city planner. The bypass will eventually connect U.S. 412 near Tontitown with Interstate 49, near where Springdale and Lowell meet. A highway to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport is planned to connect to the bypass.

"We think the bypass would be enough of a buffer to the south," McKinney said. "We have buffers in our plan to protect residents to the west and north."

Legendary Subdivision is a quiet area where children play, said Lindsay Larsen, a resident.

"It's Mayberry-ish," Larsen said. "How can we preserve that? What will this do to our property values and our quality of life."

The bypass will change the nature of the area, said Tom Oppenheim, with the developer's engineering firm, CEI Engineering Associates.

"The bypass is beyond the control of anyone in this room," Oppenheim said.

Approval of the industrial development next to residential areas would be mixing uses, said Anthony Patterson, who lives nearby on Wagon Wheel Road.

"You shouldn't be mixing incompatible uses," Patterson said. "The city would be subsidizing businesses if this is approved."

The Creative Things development would be unobtrusive and include wooded areas and trails, McKinney said. It would include well-paid high-tech jobs, he said. When asked, McKinney said he didn't know how many would be employed at the business.

Brian Powell, commissioner, asked if other sites were considered.

The developer looked at other sites but this was the best one, said Oppenheim.

Nobody has supported the development outside of those representing it, said Ronnie Barnes, an area resident.

The rezoning can be appealed to the City Council, Christie said. The next Council meeting is July 8.

NW News on 07/02/2014