Fayette County News

Fayette County


Fayetteville to hear 60-unit apartment building rezoning request

Developer Rea Ventures is on track to seek a rezoning Thursday night from the Fayetteville City Council, which would mark the first step toward building a 60-unit apartment building that would include limited commercial space on nearly five acres of land located at the corner of North Glynn Street (Hwy. 85) and Lafayette Avenue.
Before rezoning requests reach city council members, they first go to the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission for a non-binding recommendation. That recommendation, which in this case was for denial of the rezoning, is then forwarded to City Hall and presented to city council members ahead of their first reading and public hearing on the request.
That first reading on what is being called Abbington Square is scheduled for Thursday night’s Fayetteville City Council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. No vote will be taken, but council members will discuss the request and hear comments from the public. An official vote would likely take place after the second reading and public hearing, which at this point would presumably take place during the June 2 city council meeting.
Because she owns property adjacent to the proposed Abbington Square parcels, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Sarah Murphy recused herself from discussion and voting at the April meeting. Her colleagues unanimously voted to send that “denial” recommendation.
Murphy’s husband, long-time business owner Rich Hoffman, was one of a few public voices who shared concerns about the project.
“The project is not right for the historical downtown,” Hoffman said, also noting concerns about traffic, residential density, the possibility of the building’s aesthetics deteriorating over time, and the fact that federal funds would be involved in the deal.
Hoffman’s federal funds comments are based on Rea Ventures plans to seek low-income housing tax credits for the project and to then sell the tax credits for cash, which in turn would be used to help fund the project.
City Hall staff recommend approval of the rezoning but also shared concerns they say would be taken up further along in the project approval process.
“The concept plan may be deficient in total number of parking spaces, as the total square footage of commercial space has not yet been determined,” Community Development Director Brian Wismer wrote in a memo to city council members. “Parking would need to be addressed via a second parking level or shared parking agreement with the adjacent retail center; however, this is a point of discussion to be had during the Development Plan review stage.
“Other engineering requirements for stormwater may also ultimately impact the scale and scope of the development, which is not yet determined at this stage,” Wismer continued.
Wismer also addressed the federal tax credits issue, which has been raised by members of the public. He noted that City Hall doesn’t factor in financing methods when determining zoning appropriateness.
“When reviewing a rezoning request, staff reviews the City’s Comprehensive Plan and City Code of Ordinances for compliance,” Wismer wrote. “Because of these factors, and based on the findings within the Fayetteville City Code and Comprehensive Plan, an approval for the proposed rezoning is appropriate, subject to any conditions that Council may place on the project.”
Wismer concluded his letter by reminding city council members that, if they eventually approve the rezoning request, development plans would be reviewed for approval at a later date.

By Danny Harrison

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.