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— Residents surrounding property on Hayden Road who attended a public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 1, regarding a rezoning request, left without knowing the outcome.

Without a quorum, the Pea Ridge Planning Commission could not vote on a request for rezoning 1.45 acres of land on Hayden Road from agricultural (A-1) to high-density residential (R-3), but did hold the public hearing as advertised.

A number of adjacent landowners and residents attended the meeting and asked questions about the plans for the land if the rezoning is approved.

Donnie and Lora Garner, landowners who were requesting the rezone, answered questions and presented their plans through an architect, Dave Burris of Mangold Burris Architecture. The proposal had been presented to the city at a technical review meeting earlier.

Three Planning Commission members - M.J. Hensley, Jerry Burton and Brian Nave - were present. Hensley chaired the meeting in the absence of Dr. Karen Sherman. Assistant city attorney Andrew Huntsinger and city building official Tony Townsend were present.

The Garners said they want to build an independent living facility for senior citizens that will provide living space for seven residents. Because it is not assisted living, it is not licensed by the state, Donnie Garner said.

When asked to define R-3, Townsend said it is multi-family and can allow up to a four-story building.

Stephanie Kotouc asked if since the plans were preliminary, could the landowners change their mind and put something else on the land once the rezoning is approved.

Townsend told her any plans would have to come back to the Planning Commission for approval, although there would not be a public hearing on them.

"Zoning is not tied to the project, but is for the highest and best use of the land," Huntsinger said.

"It's the owners' intention to not have anything else. It's been a goal and dream of theirs for some time," Burris said.

Delores Jones, who lives on the corner lot across the street from the driveway to the Garner property questioned the entrance to the street, saying it is a "very hazardous" curve.

Townsend asked Garner if he had talked with Fire Chief Frank Rizzio. Garner said he had and would need an 18-feet wide driveway for access for fire and ambulance vehicles.

Another resident, Linda Hill, asked if there were restrictions on who would be allowed to live in the facility.

Garner, saying his wife and mother-in-law both have been involved in home health care, said it is his intention to provide a place for senior, retired individuals. He said it would be staffed, meals would be provided, but personal care, such as bathing, would not. "We are not applying for a license," he said, referring to assisted living.

The issue will be presented at the October Planning Commission meeting. If approved, it will be presented to the City Council.

News, Pages 1, 9 on 09/09/2009

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