F’ville Council wants to bring back living above retail stores

Living upstairs above the store — a mainstay of early 20th century America — is coming back to Fayetteville.

The idea is to encourage more residential development in downtown Fayetteville. In keeping with that goal the Fayetteville City Council on Sept. 20 will hear the first reading of an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would encourage mixed-use development downtown in the Main Street District.

Director of Community Development Brian Wismer said city staff earlier this year discovered language in the ordinance that inadvertently discourages residential and mixed-use development in the Main Street Historic District. The proposed amendment would correct that language, Wismer said.

The proposed amendment to allow mixed use development downtown is in keeping with the city’s comprehensive plan, Wismer said, noting that one of the Quality Community Objectives in the plan references such use in the Main Street District being critical to downtown revitalization.

The proposal allows for residential and non-residential uses to be combined in one structure, with residential uses located above the first floor. No more than 10 residential units can be located within any mixed-use building.

As for square footage, studio apartments or condos must be at least 600 square feet in size, one-bedroom units must be a minimum of 700 square feet and two-bedroom units must at least 900 square feet. Units with three bedrooms must be at least 1,100 square feet while those with four bedrooms required at least 1,400 square feet.

Wismer said current zoning allows mixed uses but requires a minimum of 1,200 square feet. Amending the ordinance would allow for more flexibility and would address virtually any possible scenario that could arise dealing with living space, Wismer said.

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