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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy/CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE A map of the proposed rezoning at 2827 E. Whippoorwill Lane in Fayetteville, listed under "subject property," is shown.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A rezoning request to which several residents of a neighborhood south of Mission Boulevard and Crossover Road voiced opposition will head to the City Council.

The Planning Commission voted 6-1 Monday in favor of the request. It would change a two-acre corner lot at Whippoorwill Lane and Crossover Road from a residential zone allowing up to four units per acre to one allowing up to eight units an acre.

Other items

The Planning Commission also forwarded to the City Council the following item Monday:

• Rezoning just more than two acres at 59 E. 15th St. from a residential multifamily district allowing up to 24 units an acre to a heavy commercial and light industrial designation. Much of the area is in under the same designation.

Source: Staff report

The property has several trees, with a pond on its west side and a home on the east side. A letter to planning staff from Bates & Associates says the request is meant to accommodate a future lot split with development on those lots.

Twenty-one neighbors spoke against the proposal. Cited concerns ranged from an adverse effect on the character of the neighborhood, an increase in potentially dangerous traffic because of the new homes, potential detriments to property values and exacerbated stormwater runoff.

Rick Churchill, a resident of Stardust Lane, said too many houses at the end of the street wouldn't fit with the neighborhood. He worried about setting a precedent for future development.

"We're afraid of that," Churchill said. "That will definitely impact the value of our homes and the quality of life."

Many residents said they bought into their neighborhood with the understanding it would stay a certain way. Cheryl Ridgeway Wu, a Whippoorwill Lane resident, said she worried rental houses would go in with an overload of cars.

"I love where we live. I love the area and I love the space that we have," she said. "I'd hate to see it change into something less traditional."

Commissioner Matt Johnson said potential development with a slight increase in density on a small property likely wouldn't have much of an impact.

"It's challenging as a commissioner, from my perspective, to deny something like this," he said. "At the end of the day, anything new probably wouldn't be accepted by the neighborhood. I don't mean to be disrespectful."

Much of the commissioners' discussion centered around the pond close to Crossover Road. Commissioner Porter Winston, who cast the sole no vote, said the zoning is fine as it is and he didn't want to see the pond removed.

"I feel like it would be irresponsible to fill it in and just assume that it's been doing nothing all this time," he said. "At least have an engineer go over and say, 'Yep, it's just for looks.'"

Chairman Matt Hoffman said a higher density would likely help a developer build the number of houses he wants without having to remove the pond. Other commissioners talked about how a density allowing up to eight units an acre would serve as a transitional designation. The property north of Whippoorwill Lane is zoned for multifamily up to 24 units an acre.

The City Council will make the final decision on the rezoning.

In other business, the commission voted 7-0 to forward another rezoning request to the City Council for just under an acre at 504 W. Prairie St., between South Gregg and South West avenues. The item was left over from the Jan. 28 meeting.

The request is to change the land from its current heavy commercial and light industrial zoning to two new districts. The property fronting Prairie Street would be a downtown general classification, which allows residences, eating places, neighborhood shopping, offices and other uses. The part of the property farther north, not facing the street, would be a residential district. That type of district, called residential intermediate -- urban, allows homes of up to four units and cluster homes.

NW News on 02/12/2019

Print Headline: Commission signs off on higher density in neighborhood

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