Fayetteville City Council members were divided 3-2 Thursday night in denying an annexation of property that would have been home to a new BioLife plasma donation center near the Fayette Pavilion shopping center.
The nearly six-acre tract of land that was up for annexation is located just north of Walker Parkway on the east side of Hwy. 85, across the highway from O’Charley’s and Olive Garden. The land is bordered on the south by an auto repair shop and on the north by a strip mall. To the east, the land borders three residential properties located along Foxhunt Court.
The neighboring auto repair shop and homes are all still in unincorporated Fayette County.
The land itself is a homesite that was never annexed into the city, and City Councilman Jim Williams noted that was a mistake on the part of the property owners, to not have had the annexation sorted out years ago when most neighboring properties were annexed and developed in the wake of Fayette Pavilion being developed. Legally, there is way to require a city to annex more property.
Planning and Zoning Director Jahnee Prince recommended denial of the annexation request. She noted the city’s Future Land Use Plan calls for properties along that side of the highway to be developed as Neighborhood Mixed Use, which would be a step-down zoning from the more intense Highway Commercial zoning in place across the highway at Fayette Pavilion.
Prince also said the BioLife location would potentially attract 3,000 donors a week, which would bring more traffic to an already congested area of the city.
“That’s a large trip generation for this property,” Prince said.
Fayetteville’s Planning and Zoning Commission members also recommended denial at their last meeting in August.
A neighboring resident said he was concerned that if potential donors showed up desperate for the payment they expected from BioLife but were turned down, they might then resort to other means to get the money they needed. And they would be beginning that process just over the fence from his family’s backyard.
BioLife representatives Janet Spaulding and Jeffrey Parke said their company screens donors, who cannot live further than seven miles away from the center, nor can they live in transitional housing such as extended-stay motels or homeless shelters.
That seven-mile radius includes much of Riverdale, all of Jonesboro and Lovejoy, and it would extend south past Harp’s Crossing and west close to Tyrone.
Councilman Paul Oddo, who along with Councilman Jim Williams voted against the denial motion, said he researched BioLife and found them to be a solid company with a good credit-worthiness record. He also said he believes places like Chick-fil-A generate probably 12,000 car trips a week, noting that BioLife would potentially draw much less traffic to the area.
City Councilman Scott Stacy made the motion to deny the annexation request, and he was joined in the “no” vote by council members Harlan Shirley and Kathaleen Brewer.
Mayor Ed Johnson said after the vote that, had it been a tie, he would have also voted against the annexation request. He said he believes the city council needs to stick close to the Future Land Use Plan to avoid trouble down the road.
The current city council members adopted an updated Future Land Use Plan earlier this year.