A request to rezone nearly 7.5 acres on Bill Lucy Drive for a 144-unit apartment complex about 200 feet from Simon Middle School failed in a unanimous vote by the Conway Planning Commission Monday night.

Terry Burruss, the architect representing developers MR Capital, said the developers feel there is a need for more multifamily living options in Conway.

"As is typical with most apartment projects, they’re needed, but most people don’t want them in their back yards," he said. "We build high quality projects and I’d like you to look at that, consider that and give us your consideration."

Alan Schneblen, who lives at 1475 Bill Lucy Drive, directly across the street from the proposed development, addressed the planning commission on behalf of his neighbors.

"We oppose this develop because we’re all single-family homes, and we don’t feel that a 144-unit apartment building is right for our neighborhood," he said.

Although, Schneblen said the neighborhood is not opposed to development.

"We’d love to see single family homes across the street to strengthen our community as you see we have pretty strong community," he said motioning to several rows of neighbors who came to Monday night’s meeting to speak in opposition of the rezoning.

"We strongly recommend that you deny this and it is our hope that if it is rezoned it would be for single family," he said.

Marilynn Nabholz who lives at 2500 Brookfield Drive said she sees nice streets lights being put in on the west side of town, but is concerned about the overall developmental plan for the east side of town.

"I want to build up the east side," she said. "I don’t want to end up with two separate sides of town, and the east side needs nice single family homes not apartments."

Anna Castleberry who lives at 1310 Josie Rea Drive is a schoolteacher, she said, and she feels like it’s her job to advocate for the children, especially those who are "walkers."

According to Castleberry’s calculations, the development would sit 390 feet from Simon Middle School, 0.6 miles from Theodore Jones Elementary School and 1.1 miles from Bob Courtway Middle School.

"This is not going to be good for the traffic around our schools and this is not going to be good for those students who do not have families who walk them to school — they walk by themselves," she said.

The developer of surrounding subdivisions, Jim Hawks, also came to voice his opposition, and said he had more to lose than anyone because the apartment complex would directly affect his sales.

Bryan Patrick, director of planning and development for the City of Conway, said a maximum of about 28 homes could be built on the plot if the apartment complex was not approved.

After a few minutes of discussion, the planning commission unanimously agreed an apartment complex did not seem appropriate for the surrounding area.

The planning commission’s vote does not recommend for the City Council to rezone the land for the apartment complex. City Council will consider the planning commission’s vote at their meeting Tuesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the District Court building at 810 Parkway Ave.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)