By RICHARD DUKE

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

Although there have been continuous problems with traffic and parking, a request for rezoning and conditional use permit at the McMaster Stable and Restaurant was unanimously approved by the Conway Planning Commission during its first meeting of 2013.

The Back Achers Ranch, located at 3725 College Ave. has been zoned A-1, and has been home to a 50,000 square foot stable and a 1,630 square foot restaurant. Letitia McMaster, owner of the grounds, acknowledged that efforts are being made to deal with traffic concerns, especially those that involve large horse trailers. She also said that the restaurant was placed in the space after it had been approved for a snack area.

The conditional use permit for the restaurant is "actually more asking for forgiveness" according to Conway Planning Director Bryan Patrick. Zoned as A-1, the restaurant and bar would not be permitted, but rezoning as O-1 would fix those problems. The zoning was requested because McMaster wants to use the grounds for events beyond equestrian-elate activities. Those activities, however, have caused problems for neighbors in the Shock Loop and Ryan Road areas.

Neighbors who did speak against the proposal said they did not have a problem with the basic request, but they wanted to tell the commission about the parking and traffic problems, usually cause by visitors to the area who come for events.

The commission acknowledged the problems with the entry ways from Ryan Road but approved both requests 8-0. The commission used conditions that limited the hours of operation for the restaurant to 11 p.m., restricted drive-through service, made sure additional parking spaces would meet development review standards as well as landscaping requirements.

In other business, the commission approved rezonings for two pieces of land to MF-3 (Multi-family), including an area on 1405 S. Donaghey and 500 S. Baridon. The commission approved both rezonings, voting on the S. Donaghey 6-2 with Matthew Brown and Jeff Allender voting against the proposal. The commission approved the 500 S. Baridon rezoning 7-1 with Brown voting against.

All recommendations by the commission will come before the City Council in its next scheduled meeting.