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Springdale Planning Commission approves rezoning

by Laurinda Joenks | May 5, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
Springdale city hall.

SPRINGDALE -- A rezoning and a partnership might lead the way for transitional housing in Springdale.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday approved 7-1 the rezoning of four acres on McCullough Drive, south of East Emma Avenue, to multifamily residential from agricultural use. The city owns the land.

The City Council on Monday approved an option to sell that land to the Community Development Corporation of Bentonville and Bella Vista.

City officials won't release many details, but Mayor Doug Sprouse noted after the Planning Commission meeting any project will include the city as partners.

"We will retain control over the land, which means we have some control over what happens there," said Patsy Christie, director of the city's Planning Department.

The complex would include a mixed-income rental community with at least one unit available for transitional housing, reads the application for rezoning. The surrounding land already holds multifamily units, Christie said.

Casey Kleinhendz, executive director of the development center, didn't return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

The organization's website shows the center operates housing complexes in Benton County, including four with affordable family housing, seven for seniors and two assisted living centers.

The City Council on Monday gave initial approval to an opportunity for the development corporation to purchase the land. The option lists a purchase price of $260,000 available until Dec. 31, 2022.

The corporation purchased the option for $1, according to the city agreement.

Kevin Parsley, chairman of the Planning Commission, speaking on another housing project Tuesday, said the city and region are in a crisis situation with housing options in Northwest Arkansas extremely limited. Houses are selling within 48 hours, he said.

"We're in unprecedented times," he said. The city will need a variety of housing types available to fit the size and income of all the residents of Springdale.

Sprouse said the city bought the land on McCullough for $165,000 as a bank foreclosure in the early 2000s.

The city has been using it as a holding place for brush collected by the Public Works Department, for which the city easily can find another location, he said.

The city planned to extend Ford Avenue in the industrial park to Emma. Construction underway will extend Ford to Butterfield Coach Road, as a project of the city's 2018 bond program.

The Community Development Corporation grew from a Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce housing initiative into a private, nonprofit corporation in 1991, reads the corporation website. The corporation makes use of federal and private programs to provide housing.

New Beginnings, a temporary housing community in south Fayetteville, announced Monday a $1 million donation to finish construction and support programming.

Jane Hunt, the daughter of J.B. and Johnelle Hunt, who founded the largest publicly owned trucking company in the United States in Lowell, made the donation.

The plans include 20 prefabricated houses with about 160 square feet of living space and a 3,500-square-foot service building to provide showers, laundry rooms, a teaching kitchen, meeting space and storage for the residents.

The project's mission is to welcome people who have experienced long-term homelessness or face barriers to regaining housing, according to the New Beginnings website.

In other business, the commission:

• Rejected 4-3 the rezoning of property along Larkspur Street and Cheyenne Trail owned by the Parsons Family Trust. The land owners requested zoning for single family homes and multifamily duplexes. About 50 residents came to the meeting, with about 10 of them speaking against the development.

• Approved large-scale development plans for a Burger King restaurant to be developed by L.W. Clark Inc. on the northwest corner of Sam's Club Place and Mathias Drive. The restaurant would hold a capacity of 70 people.

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