Fayetteville residents lay out their objections to a mixed-use development in their lakefront community at Fayetteville City Council meeting Thursday. PHOTO: LEON STAFFORD.

Lake community pushes back on massive Fayetteville mixed-use project

A developer who wants to build a mixed-use project in Fayetteville with some of the same elements of the area’s much-hyped Pinewood Forest development is getting some pushback from residents.

Neighbors of what would be Folio Crossroads — a 145-acre development with hundreds of homes, a boutique hotel, hiking trails and an urban farm — are objecting to the project. They say it’s not in keeping with the communty’s character and could aversely affect nearby Lake Bennett.

“Realistically, we all expect this land will eventually be developed, but we want protection for the lake and a project that would be in harmony with the area, which is low density,” homeowner J.D. Holmes says.

Rob Beecher, the developer of Folio Crossroads, could not be reached for comment.

Folio Crossroads is the latest development to come to Fayetteville as the south metro community hopes the presence of Pinewood Studios and a walkable, more restaurant-focused downtown square can attract millennials and others. The city is trying to offer a mixture of housing — including apartments and tiny houses —- to signal that Fayette County is a place for more than the Delta Air Lines pilots and retirees that many associate with the community.

Fayetteville’s biggest attempt at that change to date has been Pinewood Forest, a 234-acre “mini-city” under construction across the street from the studio with the backing of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. It willl include 100 townhomes, 600 single-family homes and 600 multi-family apartments, including treehouses, when completed in five to seven years.

But it required the Fayetteville City Council to bend its zoning laws to allow the construction of homes smaller than 1,000 square feet, the minimum allowed in the city.

Folio Crossroads would be built on forested land abutting the lake. Plans call for thousands of feet of office, retail and restaurant space as well as a 100-room boutique hotel. About 265 homes would be built on 4,000-square-foot lots. The urban farm would be open for school tours and education.

A grocery store and a movie theater also have been suggested as amenities for the project.

Residents who live across from the project, about 30 of whom came out to a Fayetteville City Council meeting Thursday to lobby against the project, think it’s too much for their area. About 25 homes, worth between $400,000 and $800,000, are built near the lake and those who live there want to keep the area residential rather than commercial.

They told the council that if the project goes forward, it needs to include a 100-foot undisturbed buffer from the lake and a detention pond to stop construction runoff. They also want to see the homes built on larger lot sizes and for the developer to prohibit front facing garages.

The Council tabled the proposal until a future meeting.

Resident John Sciera said he thinks the project is a good idea that is better suited for downtown Fayetteville.

“They are trying to use what happened at Pinewood Forest and duplicate it and that just won’t work here,” he said.