Development request withdrawn

Driveway issues halt law office project

Bennett Horne/The Weekly Vista The Bella Vista Planning Commission met for the first time on Monday in the District Courtroom located in the new Public Safety Building on Forest Hills Boulevard.
Bennett Horne/The Weekly Vista The Bella Vista Planning Commission met for the first time on Monday in the District Courtroom located in the new Public Safety Building on Forest Hills Boulevard.

An applicant who has been trying to get approval to build a 3,220-square-foot law office in Bella Vista withdrew that request during Monday's regular session of the Bella Vista Planning Commission.

The meeting was held in the District Courtroom located in the new Public Safety Building on Forest Hills Boulevard.

Jason Ingalls, with Expedient Civil Engineering, withdrew the application for a large scale development -- the Lisa Reeves Law Office -- to be located northwest of the intersection of Bella Vista Way and Oldham Drive.

The proposal was for one 1,610-square-foot suite and one 1,610-square-foot suite with an associated 7,403-square-foot asphalt parking area with right-turn-only egress/ingress on Bella Vista Way.

According to the staff report, the substandard size and steep topography of the lot forced the applicant to request a reduction of the 75-foot front setback to 59 feet, and an email included in the report from Ingalls to Megan Workman, a planner with the city's Community Development Services, said a geotechnical engineer hired to produce site borings "encountered bedrock at a depth of 12 feet" and the engineer wouldn't recommend cutting more than 9 feet, meaning "it would not be feasible to connect to Bella Vista Way and maintain a maximum grade of 15% on the driveway."

This situation is forcing the applicant to consider other options for the driveway.

Withdrawing the request includes withdrawing an accompanying waiver request regarding driveway slope, cut setbacks, pedestrian accommodations and detention, as well as the withdrawal of a zoning variance request on the minimum C-4 Shopping Center District front building setback for the large scale development.

During Monday's meeting another large scale development was approved -- conditioned on staff comments -- by the Commission with a 7-0 vote. CEI Engineering Associates, Inc., is working with the applicant, Candice Anderson, to build a multi-family development known as Cottage Lane Village near Forest Hills Boulevard and Cottage Lane.

One of the waiver requests associated with the project was voted down while three were approved. The Commission denied the request to waive pedestrian accommodations that would have voided the need to construct a sidewalk on the property and alongside Forest Hills Boulevard.

Six of the seven commissioners voted against allowing that waiver while passing other waiver requests on issues of ponding requirements and curb and gutter (a 5-2 vote), drainage channel (5-2) and a drainage grass-lined slope (7-0).

The Commission also voted to table a proposal to redevelop the existing concrete plant located at 350 Pinion Drive. The proposal was submitted by Mandy Bunch and Wallace Design Collective. A zoning variance request regarding the maximum height in the I-1 zone and landscape perimeter requirements accompanied the large scale development request.

The zoning variance requests (three total) were passed by 7-0 votes.

In other business the Commission:

Passed (by a 7-0 vote) a variance on the required number of off-street parking spaces within an R-1 Single Family Residential District property at 4 Gairloch Circle. Filing the request was Kurtis Carlson of The Blue Door Group, LLC.

Passed (by 7-0 vote) a zoning variance request on the maximum number of dockside improvements allowed per parcel at 39 Davis Circle. The request was filed by Karen Doyle.

Passed on to the City Council (by 7-0 vote with recommendation for approval) an amendment to Table of Permitted Uses: Proposed amendment to Appendix A: Table of Permitted Uses of the Zoning Ordinance with the intent to make trails a permitted use within all zones.

Denied a waiver request (by 3-4 vote) to have a secondary access driveway on a lot with less than 151 feet of frontage at 40 Hessle Circle. The request was made by James Cheek.

Before adjourning the Commission held open discussions on the following items:

Maximum Amount of Dockside Improvements

Parking in the Residential Zone

BZA and Zoning Variances

The Commission's next work session is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, at 4:30 pm. and its next regular session will be held on Monday, April 10, at 4:30 pm.