White Oak development moves forward with county approvalPublished 8:11pm Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A week ago citizens raised a litany of questions and concerns during a neighborhood meeting held at CME Zion Church in Pea Ridge. Many of those same concerns popped up again.
Debbie Kerns, who lives on property adjacent to the development, said she knew compromise was needed and she believed the developers were willing to work through those issues.
“I think this venue is the best possible opportunity that we will see in our lifetime to keep our rural county that we so love,” Kerns said. “We have a choice to look at the change and mold it … so that no one suffers.”
One worry in particular was addressed before public comments even reached the podium April 22.
County planner Cathy Ruth said the developer wished to make amendments to the proposed zoning concerning heliport provisions.
The amendments limit the use of the heliport to emergency needs. It cannot be used, according to the agreement, for sales fly overs or scenic tours. The changes would also restrict the use of the heliport from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., except for cases of emergency. They also must travel along air corridors over I-26 and Hwy. 74 and comply with FFA requirements.
Restrictions were also approved regarding the development’s proposed RV park.
Recreational vehicles and travel trailers must be limited to five units per acre, with no lease exceeding six months. Quiet time for the park begins at 11 p.m. and sewage hookups must be approved by the Polk County Health Department. Developers and their attorney originally requested a 25-foot setback but neighbors and commissioners felt that wasn’t enough.
Donald Edwards who lives off Moore Rd. said that placed the RV park too close to his property.
“If they are moving the boundaries from 100 feet to 25 feet that is right in my front yard,” Edwards said. “I’m not interested in having 100 RVs in my front yard.”
Commissioner Pack requested instead that the RV park maintain a 100-foot setback and be blocked from adjacent properties by a vegetative berm to reach 72 inches within four years or a natural earthen berm at least 2 feet high with shrubs planted on top, to reach 36 inches within four years.
Citizens also requested and received regulations to alleviate the level of noise created and potential light emitted. Pack requested that spillover technology be used to prevent arena lighting from creeping into nearby property or polluting the night sky.
Noise, meanwhile, must be maintained at no more than 70 decibels between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. or 60 decibels at all other times. It cannot reach above those limits for any longer than a period of six minutes.
Those living along Larsen Lane also asked that it be ensured the developers did not use the one-lane access road for waste services or other commercial traffic.
Particularly important to some commissioners was an addition to the development agreement that triggered the need for a public safety facility. Commissioners included a requirement for the developers to invest up to $250,000 in a public safety facility once they obtain permits for 250 dwelling units or 125 residential building permits and a 125-unit hotel. The facility must be constructed within one mile of the development to respond to emergencies within the development or in the surrounding area, according to amendments made to the development agreement.
County and local fire district officials have the right, but not obligation to contribute to cost of construction of facility, which would be deeded to the county upon completion of its construction.
Bellissimo said he and fellow developer Roger Smith agreed to the eventual construction of a public safety substation because they, “wanted to step up and show our commitment to the partnership.”