The El Dorado Planning and Zoning Commission (EPZC) on Tuesday approved a waiver to make way for the addition of commercial storage units at a local apartment complex.
The commissioners acted on a waiver request they received last month from Columbia County-based Chris and Molly Properties, LLC, owner of Terrace Villa Apartments, 105 Kimberly Circle.
At a public hearing on May 17, Chris Drake and Allison Keith, both of Chris and Molly Properties, LLC, submitted a waiver application to convert the tennis courts at the Terrace Villa property into space for the units of storage.
Commissioners thoroughly discussed the proposed project, but were unable to vote on the matter due to lack of quorum.
Drake and Keith answered several questions about the project.
They explained that the tennis courts, which are adjacent to building 6 on the east side of the property near the end of Meadow Lane, are not in use.
The LLC is looking to install 42 metal storage units in the space and Drake and Keith said the units will match the brown and beige color scheme of the Terrace Villa apartment buildings.
Drake said the units will service Terrace Villa, noting potential tenants often ask if on-site storage is available.
Terrace Villa tenants will have first priority and the units will also be available to residents of neighboring townhouses on Meadow Lane, just north of Terrce Villa, and the general public, Drake explained last month.
When EPZC President Kelly Halstead inquired about security measures, Drake said floodlights and security/surveillance cameras would be installed.
He also told the commissioners that an existing eight-foot fence will be removed and floodlights will be shined downwards so as not to affect neighboring properties.
Since the planning and zoning commissioners could not vote on the matter without a quorum, Halstead said she would check to see if they could vote on the variance by email.
On Tuesday, Halstead said the Arkansas Municipal League advised against an email vote and the group called a meeting to address the issue.
Commissioners Scott Ellen and Devin Patterson said they were unsure whether residents of Terrace Villa were told directly about the project.
Commissioner Erin McMurrian made similar statements.
Halstead said a notice of the May public hearing was published in the El Dorado News-Times, as required, and no one attended the hearing to voice objections or support the project.
Patterson said he wondered if the storage units would “build up the quality of the (apartment) complex or reduce it.”
“That’s also my concern, will it create value or reduce it and increase crime with lots of people coming in and out?” McMurrian said.
She also noted that another small apartment complex, Landmark Apartments, is adjacent to Terrace Villa and tenants could potentially use the storage units.
Drake previously said the project is expected to take 90 days.
The planning and zoning commission approved the waiver request by a 3 to 1 vote. Patterson voted no.
Commissioners Netasha Williamson, Janice Long and Greg Williams were unable to attend the meeting.