Planning commissioners this week approved plans for an O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Drake Street just west of College Avenue in midtown Fayetteville.
The new store will include a 7,500-square-foot building with 33 parking spaces built on an undeveloped, triangle-shaped field across from Ben Jack’s and Potter’s House Thrift Store.
The Springfield, Mo.-based company will be required to build new 5-foot sidewalks and street lights along Drake Street, but won’t have to add a sidewalk behind the building on College Avenue.
Instead, O’Reilly will dedicate a 20-foot-wide pedestrian access easement along College Avenue to keep city and state officials from having to buy the land if sidewalks or other improvements are ever made in the area.
City planners said the steep slopes on the back side of the property would have required major grading and construction of retaining walls if sidewalks were built along College.
“In our opinion, the cost of that improvement would be well beyond the impact on the area by a 7,500-square-foot auto parts store,” said Jesse Fulcher, senior planner.
Planning commissioners agreed, and said based on the scale of the project, requiring O’Reilly to make full street improvements along both streets was too much.
“While normally I would’ve expected the applicant to pay for building the (College Avenue) sidewalk, given the pretty high burden of cost, I’m going to agree with staff,” said William Chesser. “Now that we have the 20-foot easement, I hope we can do something even more interesting there in the future.”
O’Reilly currently operates two other stores in Fayetteville, one at 600 S. School Ave. and another just a few blocks from the Drake Street development at 245 E. Township Street.
We’ve asked O’Reilly if the new store will replace the Township Street location. We’ll update this story if we hear back from company officials.