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The planning commission granted conditional approval for an expansion of the Bella Vista Public Library during its regular meeting Monday, June 11.

While discussing the issue, the commission concluded that the library, which is currently an existing nonconforming use on an R1 residential property, will need to rezone the parcel in order to proceed with the development. This rezoning was added to the conditions for approval.

Chairman Daniel Ellis brought up the prospect, which saw some discussion during the May 24 work session.

City staff attorney Jason Kelley said that, while the use is currently grandfathered in, expanding that use requires that the parcel's zoning be updated to fit the use.

"It's going to have to be rezoned," he said.

With a zoning change, he said, there may also be changes in the setbacks that could come into play.

Commission member Steven Bourke said it may be worth waiting for the rezoning process to conclude before granting approval for the development.

Ellis said that, while the commission can table the item, it isn't likely to make a tremendous difference either way. If the library acts soon, he said, it can get the rezoning in front of the commission in time for the next meeting, July 9, but it will have to go before the city council afterward.

Ellis said he'd prefer to minimize delays on this project.

"They have a few minor things that they have to work out with staff and the engineer," he said. "As far as planning ... I think we can answer that question here."

The commission voted unanimously in favor of the development, with the condition that the library obtains satisfactory zoning and address some small issues, including a pair of minor variances that need to be granted for setbacks.

Before the commission adjourned, Mayor Peter Christie introduced the new director of community development services, Kevin Gambrill.

Christie said that Gambrill started June 1 and brings 18 years of planning experience.

"After we concluded the offer, I had the pleasure of calling Judge Moehring (Benton County Judge Barry Moehring), who was a good sport about it," he said.

Christie said that Gambrill has been settling in at the new office and building a plan to move forward.

Gambrill said he's thankful for his new job and he's looking forward to working with the city.

"Good to be here. I'm excited," he said.

General News on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Commission grants library expansion conditional approval

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