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Fayetteville council holds parking deck contract, farm rezoning

by Stacy Ryburn | December 16, 2020 at 7:27 a.m.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK City of Fayetteville city hall Tuesday, February 14, 2017 in downtown Fayetteville. net web sign fayetteville city limits population city hall building

FAYETTEVILLE -- The City Council will hold on making decisions on a contract for a new parking deck downtown and rezoning a major piece of land on the west side of town until after the start of the year.

The council, during an online meeting held Tuesday on Zoom, saw a contract to build a parking deck in association with the planned cultural arts corridor downtown. It was the second time the council had seen the contract, and city administrators asked for more time to work out the details.

Council members also considered for the second time rezoning more than 100 acres southeast of Interstate 49 and Wedington Drive, the site of the Marinoni family farm.

Both items were held until the Jan. 5 council meeting. The council asked to have a site visit at the Marinoni property in the meantime.

With the proposed contract for the parking deck, the city would pay Greg House and Ted Belden $250,000 for land at the northwest corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue. Bank of Fayetteville would get $100,000.

In turn, the city would be able to build a five-story parking deck with 300 spaces to replace parking lost once the lot west of the Walton Arts Center becomes the civic plaza of the arts corridor. House and Belden would have most of the ground floor of the deck to use as commercial space in a condominium-type arrangement.

The depot building housing Chipotle also would be preserved in an easement. No major modifications could be done to the freight building housing Arsaga's for seven years. The city would retain for seven years an option to purchase the space between the depot and freight buildings to use as a transit hub, with a bus stop included at the site.

Additionally, the city would lease-to-own the northern edge of the civic space site, near Dickson Street, to House and Belden to build a future commercial building being referred to as the Food Hall.

Chief of Staff Susan Norton said negotiations are almost complete and heading in the right direction. Contractual terms on costs based on architectural drawings need to be worked out, she said.

"That seems like an easy solution -- how much is it going to cost, and who's going to pay for what?" Norton said. "But that is where we are, so I think we need just a little more time digging into that."

City Attorney Kit Williams said the city should still be able fulfill its bond requirements with the decision held until the next meeting.

The arts corridor was a $31.6 million bond issue voters approved last year. The dollar amount includes $10 million for a new parking deck.

Seven people spoke against the request to rezone the Marinoni property. Those who spoke expressed concerns over increased traffic in the area and incompatibility with neighborhoods to the east and natural land at Markham Hill to the south. Members of Temple Shalom east of the property worried increased exposure could bring an increased risk of antisemitic behavior.

The land is zoned mostly for single-family homes up to four units an acre, but operated as a farm for more than 70 years.

The rezoning would change about 85 acres to an urban thoroughfare zone and 23 acres to a community services zone. Both zoning types are intended to provide goods and services to nearby communities, according to city code. Both allow a mix of commercial and residential uses.

The council left the item on its second reading to give it more time for consideration. Council Member Sloan Scroggin suggested he and his colleagues visit the site.

Council Member Kyle Smith said he felt the solution to decongesting traffic in the area would be to build the street connections associated with development.

"If we funnel everybody to Wedington, then we will create the traffic situation we're afraid of," he said. "If we have a dense web of intersections, where people have many choices for how they get in and out, then no one point will serve as that single most miserable access area."

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Council action

Fayetteville’s City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Rezoning less than an acre northeast of Fletcher Avenue and Dickson Street from a single-family residential zone allowing up to four units an acre to one allowing up to eight units an acre for redevelopment.

• Paying HBO $500,000 for the production of True Detective Season 3, as outlined in the original contract with the city.

• Designating a portion of Evelyn Hills shopping center as an entertainment district allowing consumption of alcohol within outdoor seating areas at restaurants.

Tuesday was the final meeting for Sarah Marsh and Kyle Smith, who will be replaced by D’Andre Jones and Holly Hertzberg, respectively.

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette

Stacy Ryburn can be reached by email at sryburn@nwadg.com or on Twitter @stacyryburn.

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