A new convenience store may come to Conway or it may go, but the Conway Planning Commission is not giving any recommendation on its future.
Kum & Go, a store that has a gas station as well as more amenities than average convenience stores, presented its case for a commercial (C-3) zoning request, but after the commission finished discussing it, not enough votes were cast to recommend it or to not recommend it.
The commission voted 4-3 against approving the zoning request with commission Vice Chairman Chris Steplock and commission member Tony Davis absent. Commission Chairman Craig Cloud said he would only vote in terms of breaking up a tie, although his comments before the vote seemed to indicate he supported the zoning request.
Commission members Jeff Allender, Kimberly Gardner, Jon Arms and Mark Lewis voted against the request while commission members Lee Washington, Anne Tucker and Matthew Brown voted to approve the request. Allender was the most vocal about denying the request, saying he "could not think of a worse place to put it."
Kum & Go is requesting a rezoning of
areas on the corner of Dave Ward Drive and South Donaghey Avenue from residential (R-1) and small office (O-2) to C-3 in order to place a store on the corner. Allender felt that the location was a poor place in proximity to the entrance of the University of Central Arkansas.
"You have potential students who are using that street to enter into UCA, and I just think it is a poor welcome to the college," Allender said. "I also think that some may believe that college students would use this place with foot traffic, but I think they will drive there, which would create more traffic."
Arms, who also voted against the request, said he was concerned zoning an area C-3 right next to an R-1. Cloud said he believed there is not a quality of life for R-1 along Dave Ward Drive anymore and that the area seems to be destined to be zoned completely C-3.
During the public hearing concerning the zoning request, many residents from the area asked questions about the aesthetics of the location, but Cloud reminded them that the request was not for a conditional use permit, which would allow the commission to place restrictions and standards on the facility. He said a company would have to go through a site development review before they were allowed to build.
When it was realized that six votes would not be able to be garnered for or against the request, the commission voted 6-1 to send it to the Conway City Council without a recommendation. Tucker was the dissenting vote.
Another public hearing will be held at the city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24.