Bentonville Rezone on the table for John DeShields

In Home, Politics by arkansasprogressive

There’s some news brewing this afternoon about a property on John DeShields Boulevard in Bentonville that was the subject of a denied PUD request by the Bentonville Planning Commission in early August.

Signs for a public hearing on a rezone request for the 27-acre property owned by Cindy Springs LLC went up on Thursday. The property owner is seeking to rezone the property from Expired PUD (which is basically no-man’s land) to residential and commercial. The requested rezoning aligns with the recommended Mixed Use zoning for that property outlined in Bentonville’s adoptedĀ Land Use Plan.

So, how is a rezone different from a PUD request? Well, a PUD request is super specific and project based. A rezone is not. It’s more focused on allowable land use and is not linked to a specific project. Of course, future development after an approved rezone would require approval as a large scale development by the Planning Commission.

As mentioned above, the city’s Land Use Plan calls for Mixed Use zoning at the site. If you’re looking at the map linked above, it’s a red and yellow hashed section at the corner of John DeShields and Legacy Parkway. The city recommends that Mixed Use zoning include a combination of residential, commercial and/or office. The recommended densities allowed under the Mixed Use zoning range from around 12 units to 48 units per acre.

The rezoning request looks pretty straight-forward. The Land Use Plan is part of the city’s General Plan, which was created through a massive community effort that involved residents, elected officials and planning professionals. As the property owner is exercising their right to request a zoning that corresponds with the vision outlined in this plan, it would seem like a cut and dried approval for the Planning Commission. After all, if developers, investors and individual homeowners can’t rely on cities to adhere to their own plans, why would they invest there in the first place?

The Cindy Springs site is in a key location surrounded by ongoing development. It has the opportunity to provide much-needed residential and commercial amenities. It’s staggering to look at the growth projections for Bentonville over the next few decades (I recently saw one that had the Bentonville 2035 population at over 70,000). Even if the rate of growth slows, the city is in dire need of housing now and it will be in the future. And what better place to build than within easy walking distance to parks, trails and the urban core?

Economies can’t thrive without housing for the people who work in them. Bentonville currently has more than 30,000 commuters who drive into the city each day. Each of these commuters pay property tax and sales tax outside the city, yet they up the demand for infrastructure in the city. With more housing options, fewer of these people will be making a bee line for the interstate every afternoon and more will be putting down roots in the community.

The public hearing is planned for the Oct. 3 Planning Commission meeting at 5 p.m.