Please click on Image to ENLARGE view of one of the concept drawings of the Fayette Junction Master Plan presented to the public Thursday evening.
The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Proposed Fayette Junction Master Plan Complete
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE -- Preserving natural features such as wetland while encouraging a more dense development pattern for the area are some the touchstones of the Fayette Junction Neighborhood Master Plan.
Weaving a trail system through wetland can help to preserve these areas. And growing density could be aided by designing multimodal transportation for this south Fayetteville neighborhood.
"If the trail system continued throughout the floodplain that would preserve about 100 acres of green space," Karen Minkel, interim director for long-range planning, told a roomful of about 100 residents, mostly from the area, Thursday night. The city planning department presented the master plan at BioBased Technologies after a months-long public and in-house design process for the 640-acre area. The next step is to move the plan through the Planning Commission and then the City Council. Both bodies will hold public hearings to gather more input from residents.
But back in September, during the charrettes where residents brainstormed about how they'd like to see their neighborhood evolve, a few key themes emerged. One of them was to explore the idea of mass transit.
"This is something that every single table during that hands-on design process, touched on," Minkel said.
The concept could begin as simply as a bus stop, but maybe grow over time to include light rail, Minkel added.
"We have populations that have been shown to use light rail," Minkel noted. "And they include students and retirees."
"But becoming transit-worthy doesn't happen overnight," she went on to advise.
The master plan is mostly conceptual. If approved, it would serve as a guide for developers. Minkel was quick to remind the room, "as you know, the city is not a developer."
"The city's role in implementing these plans is somewhat limited," she continued. But by changing certain aspects of public policy such as zoning, sets the stage for developers to cater to how the city and residents have said they'd like to see the area grow.
Please click on image below to Enlarge photo of Linda Ralston and Marilyn Shofitt studying concept drawing of Fayette Junction draft master plan.
Marilyn Shoffit, a real-estate agent, is already looking to the future.
"I'm going to e-mail this to some developers I know who've always been interested in doing a project in Fayetteville," Shoffit said after the presentation.
"I've always had a vision for this area," she added.
In addition to growing the housing potential for Fayette Junction, the plan also targets areas to locate more clean-tech business and industry such as BioBased. The Arkansas Research and Technology Park, where clean-tech start-ups have been known to germinate is adjacent to the Fayette Junction area.
"When companies grow up, they may want to leave, but if they want to stay there, this gives them a place to be if they choose," Minkel told the Fayetteville City Council at a recent agenda session.
Other residents in the area are optimistic about what the plan could mean for their community, but wonder just how quickly changes are likely to come about.
"This current economic situation could hold it back," said Judy Stevens, who has lived on Cato Springs Road for about 15 years. "Until the economy starts moving again, I don't think developers will show much interest."
Which may be just fine with her as well.
"We have deer on our place. And geese," remarked Stevens, recalling the rural country nature of her property. "And I really don't know that people want to lose that."
AT A GLANCE
Fayette Junction Neighborhood Master Plan
• Integration of the natural and built environments
• Clean-Tech Cluster
• Multi-Modal Transit
Source: Staff Report