Fort Smith, AR, Officials Approve Self-Storage Zoning Request Despite Public Opposition

<p><strong>Update 3/16/16</strong> &ndash; The Fort Smith Board of Directors this week approved the rezoning of the 15-acre property on which the Goodson family intends to convert an existing industrial building to self-storage. The 5-2 vote came despite continued opposition from neighboring residents.</p>

Update 3/16/16 – The Fort Smith Board of Directors this week approved the rezoning of the 15-acre property on which the Goodson family intends to convert an existing industrial building to self-storage. The 5-2 vote came despite continued opposition from neighboring residents.

Although those in opposition cited concerns in regard to excessive lighting, property owner Mark Goodson clarified the lighting plan for directors in a letter. He wrote that the light poles would be 15 feet tall with the light shining downward, according to the source. Residents had been concerned lighting would flood the neighborhood across the street.

Goodson also noted that many of the residents who signed a petition in opposition to the project live “quite a distance from our property.”

In addressing the board during the meeting, Goodson noted the family could have elected to develop a more impactful project than self-storage based on the property’s retail zoning designation. “On one side it’s residential. On the other side, it’s zoned industrial,” he said. “We could have anything move in there today and start to do business. I don’t think it’s right for us to be slighted because we’ve owned that property for 20 years and now we’ve decided to do something with it.”

The specialized zoning district approved by the board allows only self-storage. Some board members believed narrowing the zoning was a mistake. “To me, C-2 is appropriate zoning for this area,” director Mike Lorenz said. “It’s a five-lane, major road near an intersection where there’s already commercial development beginning. So in essence, by allowing this PZD, you’ve narrowed down a large group of things that could potentially go on this property to one.”


3/3/16 – The owners of a 15-acre property in Fort Smith, Ark., appear to have support from the city’s board of directors for a rezoning request that could enable a self-storage conversion project. The Goodson family has requested a special zoning district at 5500 Massard Road with the intent to convert an existing 10,000-square-foot industrial facility into climate-controlled storage, according to the source.

The board voted 4-1 this week in favor of the zoning request, but the application must be read twice more because it failed to receive five votes. One board member abstained from voting, while another was absent from the hearing, the source reported.

The apparent support for the zoning request comes despite public opposition to the potential self-storage business. Resident Ron Yates presented a petition with 158 signatures opposing the facility. “We’re going to have 15 acres of lights that are going to be coming right back to us,” Yates told the board. “Now, when we look to the horizon, we see the Fort Smith skyline. But [the self-storage facility] will obstruct the view.”

Yates also indicated residents are concerned the facility will have 24-hour accessibility. “It’s going to be a nuisance,” he said.

In addition to the building conversion, planning director Wally Bailey said the family’s plan is to develop additional self-storage on the property.

Sources:

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