JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A narrow approval for a site plan on a controversial apartment complex in Jonesboro.
On Monday nights agenda for the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission: The Reserve at Sage Meadows.
The question of 'why not?' was brought up from the beginning, as the plot of land, near the 12th green of Sage Meadows, has been zoned for apartments for over a decade.
"If I was sitting up there right now, first thing I'd be feeling is 'zoned R3. It's a dead issue. It's R3, ain't nothin' we can do. It's R3. I'm sorry," Sage Meadows resident, Delane Hogan said to the commissioners. Hogan, one of many opposed to the proposed 41-unit apartment complex.
"I have 447 signatures to give you of residents of Sage Meadows saying that we don't want apartments," Diane Roush said, handing over a copy of the signatures to the MAPC.
Those for the complex, including partial owner of that plot of land, Don Parker, were far less in attendance.
Parker presented a revised site plan for the commission, addressing issues they had with the initial site plan he presented to them in August of this year.
Parker explained how their targeted residents would be retirees, empty nesters and young professionals.
"This plan meets or exceeds all applicable criteria established by the city, all comments raised by the staff have been fully addressed and the traffic concerns raised by the Sage Meadows Property Owners Association will be alleviated by the access on the construction on Macedonia," Parker said.
He later explained that while the access on Macedonia, or Craighead County Road 712, will be used during construction work, the property owners of that road will not let it be purchased for an entrance to The Reserve at Sage Meadows.
Regardless of the revisions, many still stood in opposition.
"To let you know exactly how many people here are representing Sage Meadows and against this proposal, would you please stand," Buddy Nichols, General Manager of Sage Meadows requested of the audience. Dozens stood, showing their disapproval.
Opposed to the complex largely because of traffic that would have to come through Sage Meadows.
"We believe that it would be unwise of the Planning Commission to approve this proposal which would add additional traffic to the streets of Sage Meadows and would increase the safety concern for the residents and visitors to our community," Nichols said.
"l wanna tell you what. I think everyone out here would say 'build the apartments,'" Hogan said. "But what we would like to see is the ingress and egress not come through the development."
After over an hour of discussion on the proposed site plan, the commissioners voted.
Four approved the site plan, three voted against it and one commissioner abstained from voting. However, as an abstention counts as a "no" vote, the vote was split down the middle.
Those in favor explained their reasoning for voting yes.
"As presented, I think they made all kinds of efforts to be least intrusive," Commissioner Jim Spurlock said.
Those opposed also explained why they voted so.
"It's not always what can be done, but what should be done," Commissioner Beverly Nix said. "So I vote no."
The tiebreaker came down to MAPC Chairman, Lonnie Roberts, Jr.
"Based on the site plan, I have no choice but to vote for approval. It meets all the criteria," Roberts, Jr. said.
Parker told the MAPC Board that phase one of the The Reserve at Sage Meadows should be completed in the Fall of 2014.