Commission Approves First Steps For New Casey's

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Prairie Grove Planning Commission last week approved the first steps necessary for a new Casey's General Store to come to the Highway 62 bypass.

The commission on April 15 also approved a facility with storage units on East Butler Street. This is the second development for storage units approved by the commission in five months.

In December, the commission gave the go-ahead to Bo Speed for a climate-controlled storage facility on East Heritage Parkway, located on 18 acres along the highway in front of the area used for The Junk Ranch every year.

Casey's General Store requested a conditional use permit to operate a convenience store with fuel sales in a B-2 zone. The business also filed an appeal from the number of required parking spaces from 21 to 18.

The planning commission approved the conditional use permit, and the Board of Adjustments, which is made up of the same people, approved the request for fewer parking spaces.

Doug Melton, representing Casey's for Morrison Shipley Engineering of Bentonville, said the new gas station will be at the southeast corner of Parks Street and Heritage Parkway. It will have 4,200 square feet, 10 fueling bays and a detention pond for drainage. Customers will be able to access the site from Heritage Parkway and Parks Street.

Melton said 18 parking spaces would be more than adequate for the site, based on experience of other Casey's stores. For the building, 2,300 square feet will be used as actual retail space, he said.

Larry Oelrich, the city's former director of administrative services and public works, said 18 parking spaces meets the requirements for parking when considering the square footage of the building used for retail space.

Jerry Coyle of Prairie Grove submitted the large-scale development plan for a new storage facility, called Prairie Grove Self-Storage. The development, which has about 10 acres, will face East Butler Street. The front of the property will have two buildings for retail space.

The plan shows the business will have 27 buildings with storage units. The smallest building will be an 80x20 square foot building. The largest buildings will be 160x30 square feet.

The commission tabled a request from Ferdi Fouri, engineer for Mountainview Subdivision, for a waiver of off-site upgrades. The 53-acre subdivision is located between Parks and Butler streets. It will have 172 lots when completed.

In February, the commission denied a request from Fouri to waive street improvements for both Parks and Butler streets.

This month, Fouri changed his request and said the developer was asking to dedicate right-of-way on Parks Street, construct sidewalks and maintain the drainage ditches. For Butler Street, the developer is proposing to dedicate right-of-way, install sidewalks and widen the street by three feet. The improvements would not include curb and gutter for either street along the development side.

Commissioners decided they wanted to go on site before voting on Fouri's request and will meet at the property 6 p.m., Thursday, April 29.

In other news, the commission voted 4-1 to amend the large-scale development plan for Coyle's Restaurant, built by Jerry Coyle, on Douglas Street.

Oelrich explained that the plan approved for the restaurant in September 2018, did not include a driveway from Center Street or an additional employee parking lot. At the time, residents were told there would not be a driveway from Center Street. However, the restaurant installed both of these as gravel.

"This is to confirm what they've already done," Oelrich said. "We're amending the large scale development plan for the additional parking and driveway for employee parking."

Commissioner Shayne Taylor voted against the amended plan.

"To a degree that discussion was had (not to put in a driveway) and he came back and did it anyway," Taylor said. "I don't like doing business that way."

Taylor said he was voting against it because he believed it set a precedent.

"I believe you bring it to us before you do it," Taylor said.

The commission also approved a conditional use permit for DG Whitney to operate a workshop for a florist business at her home on Bush Street and approved a lot split for Jim Glover at 314 E. Parks St.