The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved an ordinance Tuesday (July 12) that rezoned the 12.12 acres that includes the former Fianna Hills Golf Club House to a planned zoning district (PZD) that will assure the property will continue to be what it was when the club was open.
The only businesses the PZD will allow on the property are stores that sell clothes, jewelry, luggage, shoes and accessories; business or facilities support or office and administrative 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 intent was to reopen the property as a restaurant and health club. The application for rezoning said the tennis courts and pool are expected to be restored as well as some type of workout facility and the other portion of the building “is expected to have a restaurant and function as a community hub for the residents of Fianna Hills.”
City Director Robyn Dawson said she understood the goal was to reopen the restaurant as a nice dining restaurant similar to what was there when the club was open. Director 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 development services for the city, said there was not but the PZD would not allow for a restaurant with a drive-thru window.
“I think this is a good step forward for the community,” Dawson said during Tuesday’ regular board meeting.
Jackson Goodwin with Mickle Wagner Coleman, Inc., representing Millé, said there are no contracts yet for the property and rezoning the property was the first step in getting the facility reopened.
“Now that this is done he can reach out to see who might be interested in opening a restaurant there,” Goodwin said.
The board approved the rezoning of part of the golf course to a PZD in November facilitated the development of three commercial lots on the southwest corner of Brooken Hill Drive and Jenny Lind Road. That PZD allows for a mix of light commercial, retail and professional offices at what was once the site of the second tee box of the Fianna Hills Golf Course.
Millé closed the Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course Dec. 31, 2018. On-again and off-again efforts to buy the country club and golf course by a group of local investors fell through in September of 2020. Millé has been working to sell parts of the golf course to homeowners immediately adjacent to the course. When replatting resolutions were approved in 2021, Millé said 140 of the 283 pieces of land on the golf course are under contract.
The clubhouse zoning application stated that in the next 10-20 years the rest of the golf course is expected to be fully developed or sold as lot extensions to existing lots in Fianna.