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Washington County planners table subdivision, question role of Fayetteville

by Tom Sissom | August 28, 2021 at 7:03 a.m.
The Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Washington County planners on Thursday tabled a 59-lot subdivision at 4698 E. Mission Blvd., about half a mile outside Fayetteville, when questions were raised about the authority and responsibilities of the county and those of the city.

The Planning Board had been set to hear a request for a permit for the Ellis Estates development, which would be needed to allow lots of less than 1 acre in size. Under county zoning, all property outside cities is zoned for agricultural and single family residential use with a minimum lot size of 1 acre for residential development. The proposed development would put 59 lots on about 25 acres.

The property is within Fayetteville's planning area and must receive city approval in addition to county approval, according to the county's planning staff.

A hearing on the permit was tabled, but the board held a hearing for the preliminary subdivision plan, which was also tabled until the September Planning Board meeting.

Several residents of the area attended the meeting to object to the development. The neighbors cited the higher density of the development, the increase in traffic that would result if approved, and the potential environmental harm of allowing such a large development on a septic system on land adjacent to Mud Creek. The neighbors also objected to clearing trees and filling a pond on the land, saying it would be detrimental to wildlife habitat.

Several neighbors also questioned the county's authority, citing the close proximity of the city boundary. After some discussion, board members said they wanted more information on the division of authority over the project and told the developer they were also concerned about the higher density of the initial proposal compared to existing development.

Also Thursday, the board approved a permit for a solar battery storage facility on 22 acres at 16861 E. U.S. 412 owned by the Springdale School District. According to information from Today's Power Inc., the developer, the project includes a 2.8 megawatt solar field with 7 megawatts of battery energy storage. The letter from Today's Power said Ozarks Electric will be the energy provider for the site.

The board also approved a permit for the Beaver Lake Food Truck Court on about 5 acres at 18664 Saddle Shop Lane, which is on the south side of U.S. 412, east of Beaver Lake. The project will have room for up to 10 food trucks and have 27 parking spaces for customers. Wastewater will held in a 1,200-gallon storage tank for disposal and portable toilets will be placed on site.

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