Rogers storage units a no-go for Dixieland and New Hope intersection

ROGERS -- Self-storage units will no longer be considered as plans for 4.06 acres at the corner of Dixieland and New Hope roads.

A request by MAKB Enterprises to rezone the area from residential multifamily and commercial to warehouse office was denied Tuesday by the Planning Commission. Several residents bordering the area attended to express opposition.

Commission action

Rogers’ Planning Commission met Tuesday and approved:

• Arkansas Early Learning’s request for a permit allowing childcare at 900 W. Lilac Street.

• Juan Lopez’s permit for vehicle sales at 1710 E. Prairie Creek Drive.

• A permit allowing financial services by Signature Bank at 3712 S. Pinnacle Hills Parkway.

• A request by Main Assist to rezone 422 S. Horsebarn Road from residential multifamily at 15 units per acre to agricultural.

• Development of Everest Rehabilitation, a 40,868-square-foot hospital at 4309 S. Pleasant Crossing Boulevard.

• Development of Walmart Online Grocery Pickup at 4208 S. Pleasant Crossing Boulevard.

Source: Staff report

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The land is owned by Oakley Chapel United Methodist Church and the nearby Kum & Go gas station.

"As it is, half of this area could be apartments and half could be commercial, but what my client intends are self storage units," said Bill Watkins, an attorney representing the project during the meeting. "The city code's language says that warehouse-office property should be close to other commercial and industrial zones, and there is commercial on the corner."

Watkins said the project also meets the requirement of being near arterial and collector streets, which in this case are New Hope and Dixieland roads.

"Warehouse office isn't appropriate here," said Betsy Reithemeyer, a city alderman who owns property near the proposed site. "It is near a commercial ... and I'd like to see some type of development, but I'm asking that the commission deny it."

Reithemeyer said several of her neighbors attended the meeting to also oppose the issue. Commission Chairman Don Spann asked those people to raise their hands and found 11 in the audience.

"We're in opposition to this because property values will be brought down, and I don't want that at all," said Jeff Goostree, whose property backs up to the site. "Some storage units are inappropriate, and some are nice, but property values will decrease."

Resident Alicia Allred said property value isn't the only concern. She cited safety and used the nearby Kum & Go station as an example, reminding commissioners the business was robbed only two weeks after opening. Allred was apprehensive about the storage unit proposal particularly for a potential of pest control issues, such as attracting mice or cockroaches.

Other residents expressed the hope for a buffer of residential property to such a location and were worried the property's lighting would be intrusive to their homes.

"This is not clear cut," Watkins said of the project. "With a mix of multifamily and commercial, and a client who wants to do storage, is one better than the other? I'm not sure I can make that argument."

Watkins referred to a set of high-end storage units near a large church in the area he said are attractive buildings and urged residents not to dismiss the project based on a general negative image of storage units.

Buffering and lighting issues would be dealt with in further meetings, Watkins said.

"I've driven by this area a million times on the way to work and I don't see it going to warehouse," Commissioner Tony Noblin said.

"I personally don't think it's a proper location for storage units," Spann said before the commission voted. "Given our neighborhood centers, it's not compatible with what we want to see. Warehouse are more [intended for] industrial zone."

NW News on 04/18/2018

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