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story.lead_photo.caption File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/SCARLET SIMS Grass and weeds grow in the Meadows at River Mist in May. The Bank of Fayetteville plans to sell about 12 acres of the abandoned high-density subdivision to Heritage Fellowship Church. The move effectively kills the plan for a decentralized sewer system 1,500 feet from the lake.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A church will be built on bank-owned land where developers planned to put a community sewer system near Beaver Lake, said Nathan Crouch, senior planner for Washington County.

The Bank of Fayetteville plans to sell about 12 acres of the abandoned high-density subdivision to Heritage Fellowship Church. The move effectively kills the plan for a decentralized sewer system 1,500 feet from the lake.

Planning facts

The Washington County Planning Department helps developers bring their plans into compliance with county ordinances, reviews development proposals and recommends ordinances or policy changes on land-use matters. The Planning Board reviews land development proposals to make sure they comply with county ordinances. The Washington County Quorum Court ratifies development proposals that need zoning changes.

Source: Washington County Planning Department

The remainder of the 65-acre subdivision at U.S. 412 and Washington County 386 could be developed with septic systems, Crouch said. Septic systems require 1 acre a piece.

That would mean about 53 homes, instead of 125, could be built on the remaining 53 acres.

Developers are considering what to do next with the Meadows at River Mist subdivision, Memphis Snyder said. Snyder is with FH&G Properties. His partners on River Mist are Jamal Parker with Parker Enterprises, and Charles Presley, an engineer.

Snyder said this week the group planned to buy the entire property in January, but the bank didn't want to wait.

Their project had been tabled repeatedly this year after Beaver Water District officials raised concerns about pollution. Developers and county officials have said they've been meeting to work out the concerns.

The subdivision, which was started in 2006 but stalled during the recession, was supposed to have about 125 houses on 10,000-square-foot minimum lots, according to planning records.

In April, developers asked the county planning board for a permit allowing a "density that is higher than that allowed by right," according to planning records. A community sewer system was supposed to serve each lot and pump sewage up hill to a treatment facility, Crouch said.

The treatment facility would be 1,500 feet from Beaver Lake and about 12 miles upstream of the water intake, Beaver Water District officials said.

One in seven Arkansans get drinking water from Beaver Lake.

Planning staff had several concerns with the project, including the proximity to the lake, the density of the subdivision and the slope of the land toward the lake. Some of the infrastructure for the subdivision was installed 10 years ago.

After waiting for months, the bank asked the church congregation if it wanted to buy 12 acres where the sewer system would have gone, said Arthur Thurman, a student pastor for the church.

The deal is expected to be finalized Dec. 29. The sale price wasn't disclosed.

The church, which has been holding services at a rural volunteer fire department, hopes to have plans for a new church by next summer, Thurman said.

"We're excited that we are at this point in our church's history," Thurman said, adding that the church is only about two years old. "We are looking forward to what God brings as far as the future of the church."

The church plans will need a conditional use permit and a septic system, Crouch said. The property is suitable for a septic system, he said.

A church is better than a decentralized sewer system, said Larry Lloyd, chief operating officer for Beaver Water District. High-density projects, such as River Mist, built so close to the lake could cause long-term problems, he said.

"We were somewhat relieved that it was moving in this direction as opposed to dense subdivision," Lloyd said.

NW News on 12/23/2017

Print Headline: Property sale ends community sewer plan near Beaver Lake

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