Applications for rezoning of two properties where developers were asking to locate convenience stores with fueling stations were denied by the Conway Planning Commission on Monday night.

Increased traffic and proximity to a day care center and an elementary school were cited as reasons for the denials.

A request from John and Linda Irby, owners of a triangular piece of property at Salem and Meadowlake roads, to rezone from A-1 agricultural to C-2, neighborhood commercial, was denied. The rezoning was necessary before a conditional use permit, allowing a gas station at that location, could be granted.

The property is adjacent to Meadowlake Christian Day Care Center.

Although moot, the conditional use request was also denied, but the commissioners created a list of conditions, should the City Council overturn the commission’s decision. 

Speaking for the Irbys, Attorney Robert Henry said the commission’s decision was "arbitrary and capricious" and it would be appealed at the City Council’s meeting on Sept. 27.

Kum & Go

Dave Lemons of Des Moines, Iowa, a real estate development representative for Kum & Go, said he was surprised by the commission’s rejection of his company’s application to rezone 4600 Prince St., the southwest corner of Prince Street and College Avenue, from O-2 office to C-2 neighborhood commercial.

The site is 600 feet from the first driveway of Jim Stone Elementary.

Because of a previous conditional use permit, restricted retail is allowed, but a rezoning would be required for "high impact retail," including a convenience store with a gas station.

Speaking against the request, neighbor Matt Fiddler said traffic near the school is "outrageous" and the location of other gasoline stations nearby negated the need for another convenience store at that location.

Lemons said his company has more than 400 stores in 11 states. According to the Kum & Go website, the company employees 4,000 associates with an excess of $2 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1959, it’s the fifth largest privately-held, company operated convenience store chain in the U.S. Ten percent of its profits are given each year to charitable and educational causes.

As in the previous denial, the commissioners created a list of conditions should the City Council overturn the commissioners decisions.

MF-2 rezoning

The commission also denied a request from HCR for rezoning R-1 residential to MF-2, multi-family 18 units per acre, 2.7 acres on Favre Lane, 150 feet west of Arden Lane.

Alderman Theo Jones, speaking as a resident of Favre Lane, said traffic is "terrible," and the site is too close to Ellen Smith Elementary School.

Justice of the Peace Charles Prince, also a neighbor, said he is opposed to moving apartments into a residential area. "The traffic is abysmal," and more congestion would be a danger to the many children who walk to school.

According to information from the Planning staff, a similar request for rezoning of that property and a C-2 parcel at the corner of Favre Lane and Donaghey Avenue that would have seen construction of an 180 unit college-oriented apartment complex was denied in 2008. Those units would have housed many more students as the plan included renting units by the bedroom.

R&C Church of Christ

The commissioners approved unanimously a request from the Robinson and Center Church of Christ, 1505 Robinson Ave., for a conditional use permit to allow religious activities on .43 acres on Faulkner Street, mid-block between Robinson Avenue and Scott Street. 

Fred Moseley of SCM Architects displayed a design of the parking lot and new auditorium, with plantings, new sidewalks, and a park-like area at the corner of Faulkner and Scott streets, designed as a buffer between the church and nearby residents.

Moseley said suggestions for the landscaping around the parking lots came from a meeting with residents in the neighborhood in August.

Matt Harper, one of those neighbors, said he was prepared to speak against the church’s application until he saw that the church had adopted the neighbors’ suggestions.

Because the church does not use instruments in its worship services, the neighbors would have no concern with noise, Moseley said.

The design will now go before the Historic District Commission as the property is within the Asa P. Robinson Historic District.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at becky.harris@thecabin.net and 505-1234.)