PG planners approve junior high addition

PRAIRIE GROVE -- Prairie Grove Planning Commission approved the large scale development plan for an addition to the junior high school at its Jan. 11 meeting but had most of its discussion on a concept plan for a high-density subdivision off Stonewall Road with 534 lots.

The junior high addition is a two-story building that will be located on North Mock Street on the site of the old high school building. The addition will be a slightly larger footprint that extends some into the existing parking lot.

The city asked for one change and that was to make sure the dropoff and pickup line would have two lanes so vehicles would not stack up on Mock Street.

Chase Allison with Halff engineering firm of Bentonville introduced the concept/sketch plat of a residential subdivision on 161 acres off Stonewall Road.

Larry Oelrich, city administrative assistant, said part of the concept is that the land would be annexed into the city limits.

Allison said Halff was working with the developer to get the commission's input on the concept and those comments would be taken into consideration as a plan is finalized.

The concept plat has lot sizes of 5,000 square feet and 6,000 square feet. It shows green space that falls under a main power line traveling through the property and part of the land would not be used because it is in a floodplain.

The smallest lot sizes allowed in the city are 8,000 square feet so the developer would have to submit the proposal as a planned unit development because of the smaller lots, Oelrich said.

He pointed out, though, that with a PUD, the city is looking for "something unique."

Otherwise, Oelrich said, "You're just asking for small lots."

Commission Chairman J.C. Dobbs agreed with Oelrich, saying, "If you're looking at a PUD, you need to have something that pops out and makes it unique."

Commission member Collin Cheatham wondered how the subdivision would benefit Prairie Grove.

"I'm not crazy about the high density," he said. "That's just my opinion."

Dobbs said growth is good for Prairie Grove but the city wants controlled growth. He said he also is a proponent of less density in residential subdivisions.

Commissioner Ryan Cook noted starter homes in Prairie Grove now are around $300,000, and while some may not want a lot of smaller lots, people still have to be able to afford the homes.

Oelrich responded that the city wants to have diverse housing, "some of everything."

Allison said houses in the subdivision would range from 1,500-3,000 square feet.

He thanked the commission for its comments.

"This is just conceptual," Allison said. "We want to get feedback so we know what to take back to the drawing board."

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