The Conway Planning Commission was receptive Monday night to local developer Hal Crafton’s request to rezone about 3 acres in congruence with his 22-acre Salem Woods Subdivision, which engulfs the smaller property on three sides. The commission was in agreement that it made sense to rezone the property from A-1 agricultural to R-1 single-family, allowing it to be developed along with the rest of the Salem Woods property, and the vote was unanimous.
A conditional use permit to allow a cell phone tower in a wooded area on property owned by the Second Baptist Church on Dave Ward Drive met with "no" votes from commission chairman Jeff Allender and commissioner Jerry Rye after two people who live nearby expressed concerns about aesthetics of the tower in a residential area and one of them suggested that there may be health concerns with radio and microwave transmissions in the residential/school area. The commission recommended the permit be granted 6-2.
A request by Hendrix College to rezone five properties the college has bought over the past few years to S-1 institutional use was largely approved of, but Ricky McFadden, who lives on a Spencer Street property adjacent to one of the Hendrix properties, said that there was some uncertainty about where a public alleyway easement that he said acted as a "buffer" between his property and Hendrix needed to be sorted out before he’d agree.
Lloyd Ryan, Hendrix associate vice president, publicly apologized to McFadden after McFadden said that the college had cut down a tree that his grandfather had planted as part of a treeline boundary. The commission voted for all the rezonings except those related to the McFadden property, which Ryan said had been noted by a surveyor some years ago as having an apparent discrepancy. The commission decided that his property will be discussed at a future commission meeting after more research is done and, it is hoped, the legal description of the property can be re-drafted to account for the easement, if there is one, and to clarify what issues may exist with the property line.
Allender noted that it is a common practice for institutions with intent to grow in the future to buy up adjacent properties as they came on the market, and Ryan said that there weren’t any firm plans for what to use the properties for in the near future.
Finally, a request for a conditional use permit to allow for a home daycare on South Davis Street passed unanimously with one change — that hours of operation be changed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to account for parents who might end up having to pick their kids up late.
The commission cannot make final decisions on planning matters. The items discussed on Monday will be brought to the Conway City Council as early as August 12 for a binding decision.