The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved an ordinance Tuesday, July 12 that rezoned the 12.12 acres that include the former Fianna Hills Golf Club House to a Planned Zoning District (PZD) that will ensure the property continues to function. be what it was when the club was open.
The only businesses the PZD will allow on the property are stores that sell clothing, jewelry, luggage, shoes, and accessories; business or facility support services or administrative and clerical support services; restaurants or restaurants with outdoor dining; community recreation centers; or health or fitness studios.
In an application to the Planning Commission, representatives of David Millé, owner of the property, said the intention was to reopen the property as a restaurant and health club. The rezoning request said the tennis courts and swimming pool should be restored along with some type of exercise facility and that the other part of the building “should have a restaurant and function as a community center for residents. of Fianna Hills.”
Town Manager Robyn Dawson said she understands the goal is to reopen the restaurant as a pleasant restaurant, similar to what existed when the club was open. Manager Neal Martin asked if there was anything in the PZD that would prevent a future owner of the property from razing the existing structure and building a fast food restaurant. Maggie Rice, director of city development services, said there was none, but the PZD would not allow a restaurant with a drive-thru window.
“I think this is a good step forward for the community,” Dawson said at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.
Jackson Goodwin with Mickle Wagner Coleman, Inc., representing Millé, said there were no contracts yet for the property and rezoning the property was the first step in reopening the facility.
“Now that that’s done, he can reach out to see who might be interested in opening a restaurant there,” Goodwin said.
Council approved the rezoning of part of the golf course to PZD in November, which facilitated the development of three commercial lots on the southwest corner of Brooken Hill Drive and Jenny Lind Road. This PZD allows for a mix of light commercial, retail and professional office space on what was once the site of the second tee at Fianna Hills Golf Course.
Millé closed Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course on December 31, 2018. Repeated attempts to buy the country club and golf course by a group of local investors failed in September 2020. Millé worked to sell portions of the golf course to owners immediately adjacent to the course. When the replating resolutions were approved in 2021, Millé said 140 of the golf course’s 283 courses were under contract.
The clubhouse zoning application indicated that over the next 10 to 20 years the remainder of the golf course is expected to be fully developed or sold as lot extensions to the existing lots at Fianna.