Proposed Development Causes Concern for Residents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- It's an area that's grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years and now more growth could be coming to Valley View.  A proposed development would bring several hundred new residents to the area.

The development includes houses, apartments, and two kinds of commercial property.  With the development comes more people and traffic, two things some residents in the area say they have enough of.

"I think it's just way to much in too small of a space," said Valley View Resident Harold French.

French has a seven year old that is a student here at Valley View.  He said he is against the proposed development just up the road from the school on Christian Valley Drive.

"I passed out around 500 flyers.  I found one person that knew about it, three or four that knew a little about it and the rest didn't know anything about it," said French.

The land surrounds Christian Valley Drive, a road built by the city to move traffic away from the school campus.  Valley View superintendent Radius Baker said the addition of the road has really helped with the congestion around the school, especially with traffic through campus.  However, he worries about what would happen if this project goes through.

"We have an extremely large amount of cars right now dropping kids off picking kids up and 200 more.  It would almost make it impassible for us I think," said Baker.

"Traffic after the school gets in order and there's no more traffic for the school it's not too bad, but in the morning and in the evening it's terrible," said French.

The proposal calls for re-zoning the land from R-1 single family residential property to planned development with mixed use, including residential and commercial.  278 apartments, 21 single family residential lots, low foot traffic commercial and other commercial property lots are part of the proposal.  There are green aspects of the plan that include walking trails, a lake, and trees at the apartment area.  When Christian Valley Drive was built the land owner donated the right of way valued at around $130,000.  For French, he has other concerns.

"Not necessarily against apartments, it's the crime that goes along with apartments.  That's what seems to happen," said French.

Doctor Baker said the school is maxed out on classroom space now.  More students would mean the need to expand yet again.

Region Eight News contacted the developer about their project.  They declined to comment.

The re-zoning for the development passed the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission last week, but before it goes to the City Council MAPC Director Otis Spriggs says the developer has to do a traffic study.