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story.lead_photo.caption Springdale city hall.

SPRINGDALE -- The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a change in the development plan of Har-Ber Meadows allowing construction of multifamily rental units in the community.

The town homes would sit on the southeast part of the subdivision, south of Lynch's Prairie Cove, south of the Har-Ber Lakes and The Maples at Har-Ber Meadows, a skilled-nursing center. Crain Buick GMC will form the eastern boundary of the development and West Sunset Avenue the southern.

Patsy Christie, director of the city's Planning Department, said a multifamily unit was always part of the plan for Har-Ber Meadows. "It was meant to have big homes, it was meant to have smaller homes, it was meant to have some mixed use," Christie said.

Har-Ber Meadows was developed in the city as a "planned use development" -- the city's first. "The [planned use development] is a contract for development between the developer and the city," Christie said. The complete plan for the development is presented along with a request for rezoning.

"It allows the Planning Commission and the City Council to make more informed decisions and guides development more effectively in the best interests of the city," Christie said.

The plan sets standards for development -- including an architectural review board, Christie said. This ensures developments such as this multifamily project offer the same level of quality as the other homes in the subdivision.

It also permits more flexibility in building types, arrangement of land uses and sets more generalized development regulations, she said.

A property owners' association is established as land is sold away from the developer, Christie said. The Washington County assessor's website lists Northwest Arkansas Holdings as the owner of the property where town homes are planned.

Any changes in the development plan must be approved by the property owners' association and submitted to the Planning Commission for review and approval, Christie said. The City Council gives final approval.

Curtis Leister said he owns the house in the subdivision closest to the proposed construction. He's concerned about sediment runoff from construction backing up the Har-Ber Lakes.

The lakes serve as retention ponds, holding and releasing runoff water slowly, to avoid flooding, said Brad Baldwin, director of the city's engineering and public works departments.

Leister said water and mud have backed up into his yard during construction of other adjacent projects. He also expressed similar concerns about proposed development south of Sunset Avenue.

"Sediment is the No. 1 cause of pollution in all watersheds," Leister said. The Har-Ber Lakes drain into Brush Creek, which drain into Beaver Lake.

The city will address concerns as the developer submits drainage plans for the project and apply best management practices, Baldwin said.

"I don't want to stop the development," Leister said. "I just want to make sure somebody's aware of the problem."

"Har-Ber Meadows is a master-planned residential-business community," reads the subdivision's website.

Bernice Young Jones, philanthropist and wife of trucking magnate Harvey Jones, owned the land and led development. "She wanted to recreate the best part of early 20th-century small towns but in a large-scale housing developments," the website continues.

Construction of the development began in 1997.

Laurinda Joenks can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWALaurinda.

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