The future of Fayetteville: City Plan 2040

FOX24

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — Fayetteville city leaders are working on a plan that includes revitalization and attainable housing as top priorities for the City Plan 2040.

One reason the city put those items at the top because of population growth, most notable is the increased enrollment at the University of Arkansas from 20,856 students in 2011 to 27,778 students in 2018.

Much of Fayetteville’s growth since 2000 can be attributed to the growth of the University of Arkansas during this period. In the fall of 2004, the University had a total enrollment of 17,269 students, by the fall of 2017 total enrollment had increased to 27,558 students. This represents a 37% increase in enrollment over this 13-year period

Eight years ago the city approved and adopted City Plan 2030. Goals 1 and 6, was to make appropriate infill and revitalization the highest priorities and create opportunities for attainable housing, respectively, those two goals have carried over for 2040, as stated above, and according to the report’s third draft.

Infill projects are mentioned throughout the plan. That means the city has underutilized large and small parcels and “infill projects” will take place next to existing homes and businesses. The issue that may happen includes noise, disruption, building size, property placement, and community impact of new residents or businesses. The city has adopted policies to help ensure that the “infill projects” meet set standards. Planning tools are being used such as Growth Concept Map (see below) and Infill Scoring Matrix (see below).

The Growth Concept Map is a conceptual map translating the vision of City Plan 2040 into an outline for connected and compact development. It also serves as a tool to guide decisions and recommendations about public investments and economic development
Infill Development Scoring is a map-based tool for objectively assessing and quantifying a specific property or area’s appropriateness for infill. This is achieved through a matrix of values assigned to elements of the built and natural environment.
Positive weight: • Street intersection density • Sidewalk infrastructure • Future land use map designation – City Neighborhood – Urban Center – Neighborhood Master Plans.
Negative weight: • Steep slopes and hillsides • Floodplains

The city’s project team created a “public outreach strategy” in late 2017 to get public feedback that centered housing and infill development experiences. Public outreach events were held and a survey was created.

Key Points from the Survey Results:

  • Approximately 900 online and in-person participants
  • A general disagreement that sufficient housing options are available citywide
  • Significant willingness to accept smaller housing in exchange for access to amenities
  • Largely positive perception of infill citywide but less when experienced in the respondent’s neighborhood
  • Among the characteristics of infill development, residents overwhelmingly prioritized the need for affordability, walkability, and greenspace

The framework for City Plan 2040 includes incorporating the 2025 and 2030 plans. There are six main goals in the framework and subsets from the main goals.

Goal 1: Make appropriate infill and revitalization highest priority

Goal 2: Discourage suburban sprawl

Goal 3: Make compact, complete, and connected development the standard. compact – via denser housing; meaningful open spaces and preserves; small blocks • complete – via housing; mixed uses; civic uses; jobs-housing mix in the neighborhoods • connected – via street-oriented buildings; interconnected streets; interconnected greenways and trails

Goal 4: Grow a livable transportation network

Goal 5: Assemble an enduring green network

Goal 6: Create opportunities for attainable housing.

Definition of attainable housing: Attainable housing typically refers to housing needed by those who make more than the income limit established for federal subsidies, but still struggle to find housing in the current market. Attainable housing as a measure of affordability is more dynamic given its combination of housing and transportation costs. A basic rule of thumb is that optimally a household’s housing and transportation costs would not exceed 45% of their monthly household income, 30% for housing and 15% for transportation. This is typically expressed as an H+T Index. While considering more variables than the HUD definition of affordable housing, the H+T Index still runs afoul of some criticisms leveled against defining households spending 30% on housing as cost-burdened. Namely, that the H+T Index does not adequately consider overall household income or size, according to the city’s report.

The table of contents of the 2040 City Plan is broken out into seven sections:

  • Community Context
  • Demographics
  • Housing
  • Employment and Income
  • Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Historic and Cultural Resources

The City Plan 2040 is on a third draft. A possible approval by the city council could happen in early 2020 — half of the nearly 300-page plan could be approved at the January 7th council meeting and the other half at the January 21st meeting. The entire third draft may be read here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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