Neighbors of a property on North Curtis Avenue presented objects to a proposed used car lot during a pubic hearing at the beginning of the November Planning Commission meeting.
"We don't want to look at a car lot," said Tina Glover, who said she lives on Smith Street, behind the lot. "We could deal with a store, but not a car lot. That's something none of us want to see."
Roy Cotton was requesting a rezone for the 1.1 acre lot at 560 N. Curtis Ave. from Commercial 3 to Commercial 2 and told city officials he wanted to put in a used car lot and a coffee shop.
Perry noted the current zone allows for higher density and intensity businesses to be built there.
"It will be late model used cars; there won't be any junk," Cotton said.
After discussion both during the public hearing and the meeting, planners voted -- three for and three against. One member was absent. City attorney Shane Perry said the request "failed to pass."
Planner Michael Wilhelm told Cotton he could appeal to the City Council. Perry told Cotton to speak to the city building official to learn the process for the appeal.
A second rezone request resulted in the city attorney recusing himself as he has a conflict of interest. The request for for portions of the property to be rezoned to residential-1 and residential-3 and commercial 3 on property at 191 Ryan Road. Bentonville city attorney Jay Williams sat in for the discussion in place of Perry.
Barry Williams with Crafton Tull presented the project. "We are trying to rezone some acreage to R3 and C3."
Neighboring property owner Sheila Wilkerson asked about what is allowed in Residential-3.
City building officials Tony Townsend said "high rise and higher density residences" are allowed.
Wilkerson expressed concern about the width of the road and drainage.
A variance request that had been presented last month was again addressed with attorney Will Kestrum representing the property owner.
"Reading the Pea Ridge code on variances, this is unique," Kestrum said. "This lot is too small for C1, too small for any zoning code of Pea Ridge. The main issue is not whether Mr. Judd has a hardship or not."
Kestrum pointed out that when the variance was not approved last month, one comment was that the variance was for 50% and was too much.
"Unless I've missed something, your code doesn't place numerical limit... I think you just gave a 50% setback for someone else. I think this is a rare situation where a variance is required," he said, adding that Rogers doesn't not have a minimum lot size for commercial development downtown.
"Your attorney has done a good job for you," Perry said to Judd. "I was talking to Tony Townsend and looked up the taxes you've paid since you bought this and noticed your taxes really jumped from $300 in 2015 to over $3,000 in 2017."
Perry said: "I think this is a unique unusual hardship, based on physical characteristics of lot ... our obligation as a body is to the spirit of the ordinance, look at purpose of minimum lot sizes, to limit density, I don't consider Curtis over there to have traffic or congestion problems."
The request by Judd was unanimously approved by planners.
In other business, Planning Commission members:
• Tabled a home occupation request for 130 Pike St. for online sales from Christopher Rust as a sign had not been posted on the property notifying the intent of the request;
• Approved a lot split 15729 Easterling Rd. for four lots for the Miller Trust;
• Approved the preliminary Plat Arlington Subdivision W. Pickens Rd. for K-Vest Inc.;
• Approved the preliminary Plat Sedona Rose Subdivision Arkansas Highway 94 for Riggins Construction;
• Approved variance request 1341 Jefferson Ct. 8-feet rear setback by Andrew Wilkens;
• Approved Judd variance request 8-feet rear setback, 1-foot side setback & lot size; and
• Approved variance Request 404 Meadows Ct. 3-feet front setback by Signature Builders.