FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A judge with the circuit court has ruled in favor of Fort Smith property owners challenging the rezoning of a convenience store.
The Casey’s General Store would have been built on the corner of South 46th and Rogers Avenue. Some consider the land to be a staple in Fort Smith, as it was previously St. Scholastica property.
In early December, property owners stood at the corner to protest the new convenience store.
After Casey’s General Store bought the land from St. Scholastica in September, 2018, a petition for the rezoning was filed. Under law, a neighborhood meeting was required and set up for property owners that lived within a 300 foot radius of the land. That meeting was held on September 27, 2018.
The City says a notice was sent to property owners, but according to legal documents no property owners attended the meeting and many landowners state they never received a notice. The City says that’s because they lived outside the 300 foot radius.
It was determined by Judge Gunner Delay of Fort Smith that the City did not abide by the notice requirement for neighborhood meetings, and it should have given the ordinance the broadest interpretation possible to insure that landowner’s constitutional rights were protected.
It was also determined by the court that as a matter of law that the City’s failure to protect those rights was in fact “arbitrary” and “capricious,” thereby nullifying the rezoning ordinance.