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Washington County Planning Board discusses cell tower, RV park, storage facility

by Erica Wilson | June 11, 2021 at 7:41 a.m.
File photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/STACY RYBURN The Washington County Courthouse is seen July 27 in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Members of the Washington County Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments met Thursday to discuss permits for a a cell tower and boat and RV storage facility, as well as a preliminary development request for an RV park.

Cody Sexton, a senior project engineer at Blew & Associates, worked with board member Sita Nanthavong to present a large scale development request for Blue Springs RV Park, which would be south of U.S. 412. The preliminary request only covers phase 1 of the project. The phase includes about 63 RV pads with associated driveways and entrances, parking areas, a clubhouse, pool and two septic fields.

Colene Gaston, the staff attorney for Beaver Water District, said the district first objected during the permit for the RV park due to concerns of sediment pollution, stormwater runoff and wastewater issues. The concerns pose a threat to water quality in Beaver Lake and Blue Springs Cove. Another issue is topsoil on the property has been disturbed by a previous landowner, which could affect the installation of the septic system.

The applicant failed to present sufficient information to the Arkansas Department of Health for the wastewater treatment plan's evaluation, Gaston said. Sexton said the project is still in the preliminary development phase and the appropriate information will be submitted to the state at a later time.

In addition to concerns about their drinking water, community members have expressed concerns about a dangerous curve in the road. The board approved Sexton's development request, with the condition an additional lane is installed at the park's exit.

Planner Nathan Crouch presented a permit request for Sonora Boat & RV Storage off of U.S. 412. The board approved the request, with the condition property ownership errors must be resolved.

The last item on the agenda was a permit request for the Been Mountain Wireless Communications Facility. The applicant, David McGee, intends to construct a 250-ft communications tower in the 0.96 acre area. The tower is 945 feet away from the road and there are no residences within 625 feet of the tower.

Several residents spoke in opposition of the cell tower at Thursday's meeting, stating they don't want their property value to decrease and there isn't a need for a new Verizon tower. Residents also expressed concerns the tower would pose a health risk for those in the area due to the emission of RF waves.

The board wasn't able to reach a simple majority with their vote, so the request will go forward to Quorum Court as a denial. The applicant has the option to appeal to the Quorum Court, and all approved requests will be sent to the Quorum Court for further consideration.

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