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Lee Town property rezone OKd

by Annette Beard | September 15, 2021 at 9:39 a.m.

Revisiting a request to rezone acreage on Lee Town Road, five of the seven Planning Commission members agreed the request had "substantially changed" since the initial submission to the city.

One Planning Commissioner was absent (Michael Wilhelm). Dr. Karen Sherman voted no, that there was not a substantial change.

Two pieces of property from the Kinley Miller farm were presented for rezoning. One, a 5.82-acre parcel, was requested to be rezoned from agricultural to R-2 muti-family. The second, a 14.04-acre parcel, was requested to be rezoned from agricultural to R-3 multi-family.

The smaller parcel rezone was approved unanimously.

Realtor Tim Salmonsen said the original request for 20 acres to be rezoned was approved last month by the Planning Commission but denied by the City Council.

"One of the council members had an issue with it not being a substantial change," Salmonsen said. "It's now 5.2 or R2 and 14-plus acres for R3."

Several persons from the public spoke during a public hearing on the issues, expressing concerns about traffic.

City attorney Shane Perry said the commissioners must find whether there was a "substantial change" before acting on the request, referring to city ordinance that states a denied request may not be reconsidered for a year.

Planning Commission member Dr. Karen Sherman asked whether it was appropriate to consider the issue as Jeff Hawkins with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission had "said this was dead for a year."

"With all due respect to Mr. Hawkins, I don't agree with that." Perry said, "If the Planning Commission, finds there's a substantial difference in the conditions. That's what the Pea Ridge law says... there is this exception. Use your discretion to determine that. If you wish to proceed, someone will need to make a motion finding substantial changes have occurred, then vote on rezone."

Salmonsen said: "That was voted before. It was surrounded by A1. That switched to R2. You guys approved it last time; it only got denied at City Council. One council member said he didn't feel it was a substantial change -- that was just his opinion. On this, I asked him, what about 30% change in land area, would that be substantial? He said yes, we lessened the land mass."

The rezone was approved after a motion by Greg Pickens who said there would be less traffic with the smaller parcel.

"Now you've substantially changed what can be put on that," Pickens said.

Chris Johnson seconded the motion. Planning Commmission members Tony Byars and Sherman voted against the rezone.

In other business, planners:

• Approved rezoning 2.25 acres at 772 W. Pickens Rd. from A-1 to R1 for Jason Dixon;

• Approved rezoning 2.5 acres at 15689 Easterling Rd. for Gret Mathes;

• Approved rezoning 4.3 acres on Patton Street from A-1 to R-2 multi-family for Jason Ingalls; and

• Approved rezoning 3.96 acres on Weston Street at King Lane from R-2 multi-family to R-3 multi-family for Jason Ingalls.

Print Headline: Lee Town property rezone OKd

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