The Conway City Council will try to make a decision where the Conway Planning Commission could not when it considers an ordinance rezoning property located at 2000 Dave Ward Drive and areas of South Donaghey Avenue and South Elizabeth Street residential and small office to commercial.
The rezoning would make way for a Kum & Go gas and convenience store on the edge of the University of Central Arkansas campus.
The ordinance will be considered during the council’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the District Court Building.
The planning 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. Some residents objected to the rezoning on aesthetic grounds, but the commission was unable to ask the company to change any part of its package in the request. The company had not asked for a conditional use permit, only a rezoning request.
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 council without a recommendation. Tucker was the dissenting vote.
Those supporting the addition of the store pointed to its cleanliness, its history of giving back to the community and its desire to create a hub for those need essential food items. Business leaders said they would like to eventually build six locations in the Conway area in the coming years.