A "doggy daycare" and the preliminary plan for the redevelopment of the former Superior Chevrolet property were approved by the Conway Planning Commission on Monday night.
As a planned unit development (PUD), the city’s zoning authority will have more guidance over the 6.7-acre property’s development. This will mean more landscaping, greenspace and other aesthetic and environmental features.
What won’t be part of the development will be a Cheddar’s restaurant, as had been previously reported. The plan still includes what Gregg Leed of Crafton Tull architects described to the commission as a "high-end," "fast casual" restaurant on the order of other restaurants on that part of East Oak Street. Buildings to house several retail shops are also planned.
The plan also includes an 83-room hotel, which would be built by a third party, Leed said. Local hotelier Ken Patel gave his input to the commission, saying that he’d been building and operating hotels in Conway since 1986 and, in his opinion given the local market and current occupancy levels, the city can’t support another hotel. Patel, whose family runs several hotels in the city, said he wasn’t worried about more competition, but didn’t "want anybody go bankrupt."
"Competition’s fine, but at the same time you’ve got to look at the occupancy levels," he said.
In other business, a conditional use permit for kennel operation at 1300 Old Military Road would allow for The Hounds’ Hideaway, which applicant and future co-owner Lacey Vance said would serve the growing number of people who treat their dogs more like children.
The property in question, south of Dave Ward Drive and east of the end of Nutter’s Chapel Road, is about 200 yards away from homes, and so conditions include noise-absorbent material for a fenced-in outdoor dog exercise yard.
Vance said that there will also be a dog park for pet owners who sign up as members of The Hounds’ Hideaway and a place where people can bathe dogs that are too big or shed too much hair to bathe in a home bathroom. The daycare service would be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with staff on-site to care for dogs being kenneled until 10 p.m. unless a dog with anxiety or special needs needed overnight care.
It was the last meeting for commissioners John Arms and Jeff Allender, whose terms end with the close of the year. Both were given plaques thanking them for their service.
The planning commission’s decisions serve as recommendations to the Conway City Council, which ultimately decides on zoning issues.