Commission Approves License for JJ Sports Complex in North Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE – The development of a youth sports complex on the north side of the city overcame an initial hurdle on Monday.

Planning commissioners voted 8-0 to approve a conditional land use license for JJ’s Sports Complex, a youth sports training facility for baseball, basketball, strength and agility.

The complex is planned on approximately 4 acres of farmland southeast of Van Asche Drive and Interstate 49 near the Johnson border. The property is about a mile west of JJ’s Live and is owned by Jody Thornton, owner of several JJ’s restaurants in the area.

In a letter to city planners, Blake Jorgensen of Jorgensen + Associates, the project’s engineering firm, said the sports complex is intended to become Northwest Arkansas’ hub for competitive sports training for athletes of all ages. The plan is to have five separate buildings make up the complex, according to city documents.

The largest building would be a 15,400-square-foot basketball training facility with a full-size basketball court, practice area, 360-degree shooting ranges, and pass stations. Two 9,900-square-foot and one 4,000-square-foot baseball training facility would include an indoor practice field, batting cages, and pitching cages. A fifth, 9,900-square-foot building would serve as a ninja park with agility courses.

A conceptual plan of the complex was provided to the planners. City staff cited potential issues with the way sidewalks were shown on the property, but these specifics would be addressed at a later stage in the development process.

Jorgensen presented the proposal to the committee and said the development team would address any outstanding issues. He said the final plans will be more advanced than what the commission saw on Monday.

The complex will serve the needs of many parents who hire former college players to coach their children, Jorgensen said.

Commissioner Andrew Brink said several new homes are under development in the area and the proposal appears to be environmentally friendly.

Commissioner Matt Johnson said he didn’t like the proposed design of the buildings or their location, but praised the opportunity for amenities in a growing part of the city.

The original request was to set opening hours from 11am to 9pm daily with 20 employees. The commission decided to allow opening hours to start earlier at 5am and to remove the set number of staff.

On other deals, the commission voted 8-0 to forward to the City Council a rezoning request for two properties totaling 7.7 acres on the east and west sides of Bob Youngkin Drive, east of Gregg Avenue and Drake Street. Both properties are zoned for residential and office use. The west side property would be rezoned for community services, while the east side property would be rezoned for multi-family homes of up to 24 units per acre. The City Council will have the final say on the request.

Tim Brisiel of Legacy Ventures submitted the application to the commission and said the plan was to build multi-family residential units for residents age 55 and older. The proposed project would provide a variety of housing options for older residents near the Washington Regional Medical Center and other medical facilities in the area, he said.

Six neighbors in a nearby subdivision have expressed concerns about the rezoning, citing possible problems with traffic and drainage.

Commission Chair Sarah Sparkman said she lives in the area and the potential addition of walkable community services could be a boon to the neighborhood.

Commission Approves License for JJ Sports Complex in North Fayetteville

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