Fayetteville rezoning pits small developer against Pinewood

Above, the current state of the property before rezoning. Photo/City of Fayetteville.

A tract of property less than an acre has ignited a controversy between a developer seeking to build an office building and the current Goliath of all local developers, Pinewood Forrest. The controversy is setting to engulf the City Council as they head towards a final vote.

On Thursday night, the City Council heard from developer Jimmy Pace — whose father, Jim Pace, spearheaded the construction of Pinewood Studios across the street. The younger Pace wants to develop a .94 acre tract on Veterans Parkway for a three-story office building. The parcel is currently zoned R-70, but was zoned PCD in 2015, in hopes the surrounding developer, Pinewood Forrest would purchase the site. Currently, the property is filled with trailers and sheds.

Above, the current state of the property before rezoning. Photo/City of Fayetteville.

The site was never sold or developed, so Pace is acting on the behalf of owner Tom Lamb to build an office building on the site.

“I believe PCD is best for the property. It was already zoned PCD once,” said Pace.

He added the new office building would feature several amenties, such as a balcony for people to work outside, and would look better than the current sheds.

Planning staff recommended that the property be zoned O-I rather than PCD given that PCD customarily requires a minimum five-acre tract and the proposal did not include a neighborhood development.

Pace said he originally considered O-I zoning until he reviewed the PCD zoning requirements and found that the smaller tract with a single-use could obtain PCD zoning.

But Pinewood Forrest representative Rick Halbert had a different take on the issue. He explained that he had been developing property in Fayette County for more than 30 years, and this

Jimmy Pace. Photo/John Thompson.
Jimmy Pace. Photo/John Thompson.

was the first time he had opposed any development.

“Shoving a building next to us is not what we want,” he said.

Halbert explained that Pinewood Forrest and Pinewood Studios could bring billions dollars of development to Fayetteville, and this type of development was not appropriate.

“We are willing to look at the trailers. It’s the wrong building and wrong spot. We’re not going to be held hostage,” he added.

When questioned by City Councilman Jim Williams about what he would like to see happen to the property, he said it was fine staying zoned R-70.

The City Council is expected to render a decision on the property next month.