Despite continued opposition from neighboring residents, the City of Fayetteville approved the rezoning needed to kickstart a massive mixed-use development. Following the recommendation of both city staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission, on Thursday night the City Council approved a request from developers to rezone the large plat of land from Single-Family Residential to Planned Community District.
Combining five parcels on roughly 145 acres, the Folia Crossroads community will mix together single-family housing units, condominiums, office, commercial, a 125-room boutique hotel, and an urban farm.
The residential section of the development calls for 265 units on at least 4,000 square feet in the northern portion of the property, with many of the units overlooking Lake Bennett. The plan calls for 221 of the units to be 40-feet wide and 43 units to be 50-feet wide.
An expected 40 condo units will be made available above the office and retail spaces.
The office, retail, and restaurant spaces will total roughly 170,000 combined square feet. The developer will incentivize the placement of a grocery store and a 24-hour pharmacy.
Roughly 40 percent of the land will be retained for open space, to including walking and hiking trails and an urban farm.
Access to the office and commercial areas will mostly be funneled through two spots along Highway 54, with additional access through the residential entrance on Sandy Creek Road.
The property will be developed in phases, with work on the first phase of some 70 acres in the western and southern portions of the property to commence in September of this year. Market demands will dictate the timeline for future phases with estimated completion by 2024.
Several neighbors once again expressed their opposition to the project.
JD Holmes offered a lengthy presentation on the community’s environmental concerns related to the project, especially in terms of runoff. Holmes requested a minimum 100-foot buffer and a silt fence to alleviate runoff.
Alice Brown-Rodriguez said that while she had productive talks with Rob Beacham with the developers, she was still wary of the project.
“I believe his heart is in the right place, and I believe he intends to do what he says,” she said, cautioning that there is no way to be sure what long-term impact the development will have on Lake Bennett. “The burden of proof is not on the neighbors to show that the lake will be damaged, the burden of proof is on the developer.”
Bob Lester was concerned that the city might be taking too optimistic an approach to the development.
“I’ve always found that what can go wrong will go wrong. You assume the worst case scenario and you will rarely be disappointed,” he said. “You don’t just hope, and you don’t just plan. You’ve got to be preventative on the front end, and if you don’t, you’re not going to get it cured on the other end.”
Mayor Ed Johnson vigorously defended council and city staff in their handling of the sensitive development.
“Every member of this council has done enormous amounts of research, and I will tell you, as we draw this conversation to a close, that we have done, I think, extreme diligence in looking at both sides of the argument,” he said. “We are looking to do what we have been elected to do, and that is look out for the best interests of the City of Fayetteville and maintain the quality of life here.”
The rezoning request was approved unanimously.