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story.lead_photo.caption File photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Vehicles are seen parked Oct. 22 behind 823 and 833 W. Stone Street at the intersection with Buchanan Avenue near Fayetteville High School. The Fayetteville Planning Commission last fall approved a permit for off-site parking at the private property through the end of the school year.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Parking is set to end at a private lot next to Fayetteville High School, but school administrators have a larger plan to make up for the spaces that will be lost.

The Planning Commission voted 4-3 to reject a permit to extended parking at South Buchanan and Stone Street for another school year. Commissioners in October granted property owners Charles and Alona Billingslea a permit to allow parking at the site until the end of this school year.

Planning staff recommended the commission deny the permit because of the School District's plan to build about 200 spaces, most of which will be ready before the fall semester begins. The lot at Buchanan and Stone provides parking to 17 students.

Charles Billingslea told commissioners he had gotten requests from parents to continue the parking.

"I suggest that the city grant one more year and see how it goes for the school in terms of additional parking," he said. "If it turns out they don't need this, well, I'm likely not going to get any parent asking me to park there."

Planning Director Andrew Garner said the administrations for the city and the School District have been working on a solution to the parking crunch felt for years at the high school. The idea is to get the permitting for the new spaces approved quickly so work can begin in the summer, he said.

"We understand it's a really tight time frame to get it done by the fall, but everybody's on board with doing whatever we can to get it ready by fall," Garner said.

In August, several property owners received letters from the city reminding them nonresidential parking isn't allowed in a residential area without a permit from the Planning Commission. Planning staff received general complaints about off-site parking for students. As a result, property owners began asking the commission for the permit.

Commissioner Rob Sharp said parking has been allowed at the Buchanan and Stone property for years and allowing one more school year doesn't seem like a high price to pay to ensure service continues. No neighbors have complained about the site, which shows the arrangement has been working, he said.

"It seems like a reasonable compromise," Sharp said.

Chairman Matt Hoffman said allowing the permit and others to expire will still result in a net gain of parking spaces next year. He thanked the Billingsleas for helping the School District, but said paid parking isn't an ideal land use for a corner lot in a neighborhood. He expressed confidence in the new parking.

"We've got the timeline that works out, we've got the mayor's office and the School District working toward a solution together jointly," he said. "It seems reasonable to me that we should trust that they're going to get it done."

Other items

Fayetteville’s Planning Commission met Monday and forwarded to the City Council:

• A development plan for 240 units associated with the Fairways Apartments at the Links southeast of Rupple Road and Golf Course Drive.

• A variance to access and landscape standards for an art studio at 704 S. Washington Ave. because of a proposed 200-square-foot expansion of the building.

• Rezoning property at East 11th Street and South Washington Avenue to possibly subdivide the lot and build four small homes.

• Rezoning a corner lot at South College Avenue and Ella Street, east of Walker Park, for a mobile food vendor.

• Rezoning about 12½ acres northwest of Joyce Boulevard and Old Missouri Road for a mix of community services and multifamily units.

Source: Staff report

NW News on 04/23/2019

Print Headline: Parking set to expire at lot near high school

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