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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Rogers City Hall; stock art photographed on Monday, April 11, 2016

ROGERS -- A developer plans to build apartments on South Champions Drive with the goal of turning some of the units into commercial space in a few years.

The City Council gave developer S.C. Bodner Co. of Indianapolis the green light Tuesday night over neighbors' objections. The council voted 7-0 to uphold the Planning Commission's approval of the project at 4601 S. Champions Drive. Councilman Clay Kendall abstained.

Martin Porter lives next to the land and told the council he was promised by the city there would never be multifamily housing in his neighborhood.

"My wife and I put a lot of money and time and effort into our home, and while we could just sell it, this is not the time for that," Porter said. "We do not care about commercial property, it is the residential property."

Wes Doss, an attorney representing residents who appealed the approval, said the council's decision didn't follow what residents wanted and allowing multifamily housing is "arbitrary and capricious."

"They relied upon the rule of law and that was not followed tonight," he said.

Doss claimed the property will only have apartment buildings.

Bill Watkins, attorney for S.C. Bodner, disagreed.

"It makes no economic sense to think my client will never make an attempt to lease out these spaces to commercial use," Watkins said. "As soon as they can rent them for commercial use that is going to happen."

Bodner has said he will build the bottom floors to commercial standards and convert them to commercial uses as soon as possible. Plans show a street to be built between Pinnacle Hills Parkway and Champions Drive. Demand for commercial space should develop when the street is built, Watkins has said.

The conditional use permit allowing the residential use in commercial space expires in two years. The permit also prohibits residential uses in buildings fronting Pinnacle Hills Parkway.

City leaders have said they want to encourage a mix of commercial and multifamily housing in the area, Watkins has said.

Christy Lamers, who opposed the permit, said while she was disappointed with the outcome, she did think all voices were heard.

"Now we live on to fight another day," she said.

The council also unanimously approved $16,000 to upgrade communication lines between police dispatch centers and support buildings.

NW News on 06/14/2018

Print Headline: Council OKs apartments over protests

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