The City of Benton Planning Commission met Tuesday, October 5th with a full agenda, including one controversial item, concerning storage units and a vacant business at 1212 Hwy 35 North.
Fitness Unlimited was an anchor business in the community for decades. It has been closed for business for over three years, with the property up for sale, and not many buyers have given it a look. The City wants to fill that spot. Residents want something other than an empty building there as well.
Enter Arkansas Storage Centers. It’s a successful company with several other central Arkansas locations, and they have their sights set on the former Fitness property. Plans are to demolish everything in the parking lot and the outdoor pool, and to build hundreds of storage units in their place, according to the documents submitted and the discussion in the video below.
MySaline shared the video of the Benton Planning Commission discussing the proposed new mini-storage business, and it brought up a question with residents:
- Does Benton need another set of storage units and should it be in that location?
The City of Benton published the Community Services Committee meeting agenda today, showing that an Councilperson has requested to discuss a moratorium on new storage units in the city limits of Benton. That meeting is scheduled Thursday, October 14th for right after the Streets and Drainage Committee meeting that starts at 5:15 p.m.
The City approved a different storage unit business in the previous week, to be located at the former Big Jakes Tires at 1775 AR-5, Benton. After that decision, knowing more was coming up for approval, MySaline posted a survey on our Facebook Group to learn the wishes of Benton residents on the subject.
Scroll down to see the video, comments & survey results below, as well as how to contact your city councilperson.
Benton Planning Commission video (begin at 51:12):
A few comments under the City’s video:
Shelli Poole Thanks for the info. Didn’t even know this was under consideration. As a resident that lives nearby, I would hate to see storage units on that property for several reasons. There are so many other more beneficial uses of that property that would better serve the City and it’s people. Especially considering Olive Garden is going in across Highway 5. Another restaurant or retail would better serve the area and generate more revenue. Not to mention be more pleasing to the eye than more metal buildings and fences.
Why do we need more storage units? Spoiler: we dont
I would hate to see prime commercial real estate that could have revenue generating practices; that would increase revenue for the city, unfortunately go to a development like mini storages that does not have any return financially for the residents of Benton. The rental on mini storage units are exempt from local sales taxes. But yet the city will have to provide fire services and potentially other services.
If you didn’t see it, they tabled the item regarding storage units coming into the property where Fitness Unlimited was located and will discuss it at the next meeting. If there is ever an issue like this that you care about, be sure to find someone on the Planning Commission and let them know your opinion. Now would be a good time to let them know your feelings on putting around 600 storage units at that property.
See more video resident comments at these links to video of the Planning Commission meeting on Oct 5th, 2021:
The Mini-Storage Survey:
See this survey and results on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/groups/mysaline/posts/855129545035745/
How to find your City Ward & contact your City Councilperson:
If you have an opinion either way on this proposed development, contact your City Councilperson. If you don’t know your City Ward, visit this link to find it. The public is also invited to attend the Community Services meeting on October 14th to hear or speak regarding the possible moratorium.
- Ward 1, Pos 1 Frank Baptist (Home) 315-6940 (Cell) 590-3835 [email protected]
- Ward 1, Pos 2 Steve Brown (Cell) 501-840-3736 [email protected]
- Ward 2, Pos 1 Robin Freeman (Cell) 501-722-8089 [email protected]
- Ward 2, Pos 2 Evelyn Calvin Reed (Cell) 501-672-5764 [email protected]
- Ward 3, Pos 1 Bill Donnor (Home) 315-0930 (Cell) 317-9828 [email protected]
- Ward 3, Pos 2 Jeff Morrow (Home) 315-7732 (Cell) 690-2020 [email protected]
- Ward 4, Pos 1 Judd Hart (Cell) 501-626-2808 [email protected]
- Ward 4, Pos 2 Shane Knight (Cell) 501-317-0276 [email protected]
- Ward 5, Pos 1 Steve Lee (Cell) 860-1859 [email protected]
- Ward 5, Pos 2 Jeff Hamm (Cell) 501-860-3057 [email protected]