FORT SMITH, Ark. (TB&P) — The Fort Smith Board of Directors on Tuesday (Jan. 7) approved an ordinance to make a portion of Fort Chaffee Boulevard – a section also part of legal action – in the historic warehouse district a Planned Zoning District.
The area changed is at 7717, 7718, 7800, 7801 and 7900 Fort Chaffee Blvd., owned by Steve and Roberta (Robyn Dawson). Robyn Dawson is a Fort Smith city director, at large. The proposed zoning to a Planned Zoning District (PZD) will allow for property to be used as an event center with associated parking and a contractor’s shop and storage yard. The contractor’s shop and storage yard area is restricted to a 63-foot by 106-foot area and will be screened by a white, opaque fence.
A lawsuit was filed May 17 in Sebastian County Circuit Court concerning a land use change that plaintiffs said would harm the walk and shop concept of the historic area presented in the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority’s master plan. The lawsuit was filed by Willard; Randy and Tina DeCanter with Old Fort Furniture; John Coats with JKC Cellars LLC and KRIJO Investments; Tasha and Alan Taylor with Truckin Delicious; and Micah Spahn with Fort Smith Brewing Co.
On April 18, the FCRA board voted to change land use in part of the “historic warehouse district” to industrial/office. The vote came after weeks of sometimes heated discussion on how to rectify an issue of some properties used in non-conforming ways. The board voted to change the area bounded by Darby Avenue, Taylor Avenue, Roberts Boulevard and Terry Street from mixed use: historic use to industrial/office. This will change the area south of Darby Avenue in the historic area but leave the area north of Darby as mixed use: historic.
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