Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
The owners of the 112 Drive-In now have approval to rezone their property along Highway 112 in north Fayetteville.
The City Council on Tuesday voted 8-0 in favor of a rezoning request that will allow for redevelopment of most of the 36-acre site where a variety of residential and commercial buildings are planned.
The rezoning will change the land from a strictly commercial zone to an urban thoroughfare district which allows several options for businesses and housing.
The property is set to be sold to CL Partners, LLC, according to Steve Brooks, an attorney with Eldridge Brooks Partners who represents the developers. Brooks asked the council to advance the request through all three required readings and to approve it as soon as possible so the land sale can move forward.
Brooks said he couldn’t speak in much detail about the development, but told council members the plan is to include a drive-in theater somewhere on the property.
Site plan courtesy City of Fayetteville (enlarge)
A site plan submitted with the request shows a plan to replace the current movie screen at the north end of the site with housing units, but the documents show a smaller outdoor movie screen on the southeast corner of the site next to an 805-seat indoor cinema with a beer garden. The southwest portion of the site plan includes a proposed 10,000-square-foot retail or restaurant space with associated parking.
Council members all agreed that regardless of what is eventually built on the land, the urban thoroughfare district is more appropriate for the area than the current district which does not allow any residential uses.
Council member Sloan Scroggin said he will be sad to see the original drive-in go because his family visits it often, but change is inevitable in a growing city, he said.
“It would be nice if we could freeze Fayetteville, but we can’t,” he said.
Scroggin said at the very least, it sounds like the proposed development might be the best chance for Fayetteville to retain some type of an outdoor movie theater.
Council member Teresa Turk said the floodplain across a portion of the site makes the current drive-in the most appropriate use of the land, but with no guarantee that the business will survive over time, she agreed that rezoning the property to urban thoroughfare was a good idea. Turk said she hopes the city’s regulations will help protect the sensitive areas when the site is eventually redeveloped.
Council member Sarah Bunch served as chair of the meeting while Mayor Lioneld Jordan rested at home following a recent heart procedure.
Bunch said the drive-in property has belonged to the same family for many years and now they’re ready to move on. She said it’s unfortunate for fans of the drive-in, but business owners make decisions like that all the time. She said the rezoning request is an appropriate change for the property and she supports it.
The 112 Drive-In is one of three remaining permanent drive-in movie theaters in Arkansas, along with the Kenda Drive-In in Marshall and the Stone Drive-In in Mountain View.