Update: Convenience Store Kum & Go Plans New WLR Location, Sparks Zoning Battle

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 27, 2013 12:00 am  

Update: Kum & Go officials decided not to move forward on plans for a west Little Rock project at the southeast corner of Rodney Parham Road and Breckenridge Drive. CEI Engineering Associates Inc. of Bentonville withdrew the planned commercial development rezoning application Friday, after Arkansas Business' print deadline, at the request of the Iowa convenience store chain.

The proposal was scheduled to go before the Little Rock Planning Commission on May 30. There is no official word on whether Kum & Go is regrouping or abandoning the project, which sought to redevelop an office building and a portion of an adjoining residential property.

Original story:

For the second time in three years, a proposed Kum & Go development in Little Rock has drawn vocal opposition from neighboring residents.

The latest rezoning battle involving the Iowa convenience store chain promises to be even more of a political donnybrook. The matter is set to go before the Little Rock Planning Commission on Thursday.

Three west Little Rock neighborhood associations have banded together to drum up opposition to the $2 million-plus project at the southeast corner of Rodney Parham Road and Breckenridge Drive.

“I’ve been amazed at the level of participation,” said Donna James, subdivision administrator with the city of Little Rock. “It’s probably one of the most organized campaigns against something that I’ve seen.”

Leading the charge against the Kum & Go project are officers in the Breckenridge Neighborhood Association, Colony West Homes Association and Sturbridge Property Owners Association.

Opponents have cited a laundry list of concerns that include increased traffic at an already busy intersection and the potential crime draw of a 24-hour store selling beer and wine. Those concerns orbit around worries that the Kum & Go will hurt property values.

Carolyn Evans-Stone, president of the Breckenridge Neighborhood Association, said the only business in the area currently open 24 hours daily is the McDonald’s drive-through at the southwest corner of Breckenridge and Rodney Parham.

“To bring someone in who’s 24-7 is going the opposite way we want to go,” she said. “I use Kum & Gos, but I don’t want it in my back door. I don’t want a 24-hour anything in my back door.”

The effort to rally other neighborhoods to the cause extended as far west as Pleasant Valley, where the leaders of the PV Property Owners Association have wearied of lobbying efforts.



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