BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Some Bentonville residents are raising concerns about a proposed apartment complex for a spot that’s prone to flooding and traffic accidents.
The piece of land up for rezoning is the corner of Battlefield Boulevard and Central Avenue. The rezoning proposal would change the property from Planned Residential Development, Residential Office, and Agricultural to Planned Unit Development
The city held a public forum Tuesday evening to hear from neighbors. Some say the proposal is drastic and doesn’t fit the look of the housing around it, which is all single-family homes and two-story apartments.
“They are proposing a seven-story multi-use apartment complex facility,” said Lara Duncan.
The seven-story building would be built 91 feet away from her backyard.
“We just do not have the infrastructure yet to house 900-plus units behind us in this area,” she said.
The proposal, put together by developer Uncommon Developers and architect Modus Studio, says the site area is 7.07 acres. They are proposing 45,000 square feet in retail and office space, 545 units for amenities and housing, and about 900 parking spots.
The proposed rezoning area does not include Samantha’s Garden’s property, which sits right in the middle of the lot.
“The major concerns I would say are one of the flooding Battlefield as a whole,” said Bryon Tidwell, who also lives on the street behind the lot where this is proposed.
This is the same intersection where a Bentonville school bus was pushed off the road in high water in the spring of 2021. Duncan has a whole folder on her phone of photos and videos showing flooding around the area.
“The intersection right there by Battlefield and Central is already very congested and hard to get in and out of due to that traffic,” said Tidwell.
Duncan can remember seeing Bentonville Police Officers using the lot as a waiting spot due to the frequency of traffic accidents that happen at this intersection.
Neighbors KNWA/FOX24 spoke to say they have concerns about losing their privacy, losing green space, and have concerns for how the school district will be able to handle so many extra kids.
Not all Battlefield neighbors see the development as bad. Bryon Shefchik said it’s the perfect spot to complement other developments nearby.
“What’s great about that location is it is just a few blocks from the new Walmart Home Office, which is supposed to be one of the most bikeable home office areas in the world,” he said.
The neighbors opposed argue Battlefield and Central are too busy streets for safe biking or pedestrian traffic. However, the plans proposed by the developer do include dedicated paved trails for pedestrians and cyclists.
Shefchik also sees this apartment complex having an impact on rising housing costs in Bentonville.
“Right now, there are months-long waiting lists for a lot of the apartment complexes in the area,” he said. “By adding more apartments like this, that’s going to create pressure on the landlords to be able to hold rents lower.”
People on both sides hope city planners will take all of this into consideration.
“Those major concerns of the traffic and the flooding and you can’t even ride a bicycle up and down Battlefield today,” said Tidwell.
“The area around the home office needs to be zoned for higher density housing,” said Shefchik
“Look at everything before they decide to rezone and just bring people in,” said Duncan. “Don’t put the cart before the horse, otherwise people are going to get stressed and strained and want to move somewhere else.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, a lawyer representing the developers asked that the planning commission table the vote on the rezoning so his client can work more on the design.
It’s unclear at this time when it will be back on the agenda, but the next planning commission meeting is in two weeks.