Controversial property next to Pinewood Forrest gets green light for office building

Developer Jimmy Pace. Photo/John Thompson.

Seldom has so much time spent deciding the fate of a less than an acre tract in Fayetteville.

But after countless meetings, discussions and debates, the Fayetteville City Council agreed to rezone the parcel on Veterans Parkway to O-1.

Above, Developer Jimmy Pace at a recent Fayetteville meeting. Photo/John Thompson.

The property is surrounded by the newly-developing Pinewood Forrest and now has its third zoning designation in three years. In 2015, the site was rezoned PCD. No development occurred within a year, so in 2016, the zoning reverted to a residential zoning, R-70. Now, just a year later, the property will allow for an office building on the site.

Developer Jimmy Pace’s plans for the site are a three story office building that features a balcony. He asked the City Council to rezone the property back to PCD and argued it would not be a precedent, since it was PCD back in 2015. Planning Director Jahnee Prince maintained that PCD is for five-acre or larger tracts and require a development agreement, much like the agreement that was recently approved with Pinewood Forrest.Instead, Prince recommended rezoning the property to OI. She said any deficiencies in the plans or variance requests can be addressed when the site development plans are reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

A new face emerged Thursday night to voice Pinewood Forrest’s opposition to any rezoning of the property.

Attorney Julie Sellers said it was not the right development for the site.

“It’s too much on too little. You’re just granting a blank slate,” she said.

Sellers also had concerns if an O-I zoning was granted.

“This would be a square peg in a round hole,” she said. She added it was also be the only building fronting Veterans Parkway.

Historical Concepts’ Todd Strickland said the plans showed a “fine-looking office building,” while former mayor Greg Clifton said he could agree with a PCD zoning, since he was mayor when it was rezoned to PCD.

After everyone had their say, Councilman Scott Stacy motioned for the tract to be rezoned to O-1 with the conditions that the building and all parking must be set back 50 feet from Veterans Parkway. The motion passed 4-1 with Councilwoman Kathleen Brewer opposing it.

The property now goes back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for site plan approval.