FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Twenty-two acres in the heart of Fayetteville is causing residents and the city to become divided.
Since January, the Fayetteville Planning Commission has been working on enforcing the city’s master plan of 2030.
This would include doubling the number of homes in the Rolling Hills area of town.
But homeowners are banning together to make sure their neighborhood is preserved.
“I mean we have one chance to get this right,” said Lucas Reginer, who lives in the Rolling Hills neighborhood.
Keep our streets small and our trees tall. That’s the motto Regnier and over 1,300 residents in Rolling Hills have.
“What’s really happening is somebody is trying to squeeze the most economic value possible out of a parcel of land,” Reginer said.
The city’s planning commission voted 4 to 3 to rezone the neighborhood, requiring 10 units per acre instead of the current 4 units per acre.
“Fayetteville right now is a seller’s market. We need homes. We just don’t have enough homes to sell,” said Ron Autry, chairman of the Fayetteville Planning Commision.
In response, residents have taken to petitions, Facebook groups and neighbor meetings to make sure their voices are being heard.
Regnier says with more homes comes less wildlife, more traffic and overcrowding at nearby schools.
“It’s one of the schools that is routinely near capacity and threatened with overflow. There have been times when people move into the neighborhood and cannot put their children in Butterfield Elementary due to capacity issues,” Reginer said.
Autry voted in favor of the rezoning under two core principles to keep the city affordable and walkable.
“We don’t want to shove people on the outside perimeters of the city which is happening,” Autry said. “One of the goals is appropriate and responsible infield work.”
Reginer said homes in the area will cost something in the neighborhood of $300,000.
“And unless we had actual destinations to walk to i think walkability is an empty term,” he said.
But in Rolling Hills the fight has only begun.
“If I own land and I want to sell it to you to develop it and it turns into 200 homes, that’s just how Fayetteville is going to grow,” Autry said.
“Reasonable people working in good faith can come to different conclusions but i think ours at the end of the day is more studied and better considered conclusion that will prevail with the city council,” Reginer said.
Now the rezoning issue will be sent to the Fayetteville City Council.
The council will either pass the rezone or send it back down to the planning commission.
If it is sent back the process would then start all over again.