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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA GUTE Planning commissioners, city staff and developers discuss specifics of the Crystal Flats plans during the commission’s technical review meeting Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 in the Community Development Building in Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE -- The first phase of Crystal Flats will include a central commercial building, two townhouse buildings and three apartment buildings, developers and planning commissioners discussed Tuesday.

The plans for the first phase will go before the commission Dec. 19 for approval.

Council action

Bentonville’s City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Paying $30,000 to Pyro Shows for the 2018 Independence Day fireworks.

• Hiring Trinity Medical Billing to process the Fire Department’s ambulance charges.

• Increasing the fee for ambulance service provided to Highfill.

• Appointing of Octavio Sanchez as the ex-officio member to the Airport Advisory Board.

• Appointing Cortney Carlson and Shara Fisher and reappointing Whitney Sutherland to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

• Participating in a one-year regional stormwater education and coordination program for $22,400.

• Hiring Riggins Construction and Development to construct about 530 feet of Rainbow Farms Road.

• The 2018 pay plan for city employees.

Source: Staff Report

Developers and commissioners discussed building types, material to be used, site amenities, landscaping, parking and the construction of a roundabout at the technical review meeting Tuesday. Commissioners Tregg Brown and Scott Eccleston were absent.

The meeting was held in a conference room in the Community Development Building so to allow the City Council meeting to start on time. Technical review is typically held before to City Council meetings in the council's chamber.

The project will be on 28 acres along Northeast John DeShields Boulevard west of Memorial Park.

There will be about 15,382 square feet of commercial space in the first phase, mainly in the mixed-use building that will front Northeast John DeShields Boulevard.

There will be parking under a concrete podium on the building's north side, said Craig Curzon with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. There will be four stories of residential units. The south side will have three stories of residential units above the retail space.

Green Circle Projects, Safdie Rabines Architects, Ecological Design Group and CEI Engineering Associates are also working on the project.

Two rectangular townhouse buildings will be north of the mixed-use building that include "a two-level townhome over a two-level townhome," Curzon explained.

Each of these buildings also will have a commercial kitchen and yoga studio available for residents, said Matt O'Reilly with Green Circle Projects.

There will be three U-shaped, four-story apartment buildings on the east side of the property, Curzon said.

There will be 487 housing units and 808 parking spaces created in the first phase. The northwest part of the property will be developed in a second phase, project representatives said.

The primary building material will be brick veneer, fiber cement and glass. Secondary material will include smooth metal panel, corrugated metal panel and engineered composite panel that looks like wood.

Developers will seek a waiver to the ordinance requiring the primary material to constitute at least 75 percent of the wall area, as each building falls short by 10 to 15 percent.

"The materials change with the articulation of the building," O'Reilly said. "It helps define the spaces a little better."

Commissioners commented on the aesthetics.

"I think it's attractive," said Commissioner Jim Grider.

"We're letting them have their creative design," said Commissioner Richard Binns. "The point of the ordinance was to make sure people didn't take advantage and just build a cheap building."

Northeast John DeShields Boulevard will be widened to three lanes with a center turn lane for about 300 to 400 feet in front of the development, said Nate Bachelor, project manager with CEI Engineering.

The roundabout at the intersection of Southeast J Street, Museum Way and Northeast John DeShields Boulevard will be larger than the one at Moberly Lane and John DeShields Boulevard, he said. It will be designed to accommodate tour buses as they are part of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art traffic.

Commissioners unanimously approved Oct. 3 rezoning the land, which is owned by Cindy Springs LLC, to a mix of medium and high-density residential and central commercial. This was three months after they denied a request to rezone it to a planned unit development, which requires a site plan, in August.

The initial request was tabled July 5 and July 18 after commissioners heard an outcry of opposition from residents.

Comments at the Aug. 1 meeting were a mix in support and opposition of the planned unit development. Those against it were concerned about building height, increased traffic and safety for Memorial Park users. Those in favor of it argued the need for more affordable housing options near downtown.

NW News on 12/13/2017

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