Plan approved for potential reuse of former Fianna Hills Clubhouse

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The Fort Smith Board of Directors on Tuesday (July 12) approved an ordinance redesignating the 12.12 acres that comprise the former Fianna Hills Golf Club House into a Planned Zone District (PZD) that ensures that the property continues to be what it was when the club was open.

The only stores that the PZD will allow on the property are stores selling clothing, jewelry, luggage, shoes and accessories; Business or institutional support or office and administrative support; restaurants or restaurants with outdoor dining; community recreation centers; or health or fitness centers.

In an application to the Planning Commission, representatives of David Millé, the property’s owner, stated their intention to reopen the property as a restaurant and gym. The rezoning application says the tennis courts and pool will be restored, as well as some sort of exercise facility, and the other part of the building “to have a restaurant and function as a community center for Fianna Hills residents. ”

City Manager Robyn Dawson said she understood the goal was to reopen the restaurant as a nice restaurant, similar to what was there when the club was open. Director Neal Martin asked if there was anything at PZD that would prevent a future owner of the property from demolishing the existing structure and building a fast food restaurant. Maggie Rice, director of development services for the city, said there aren’t any, but the PZD wouldn’t allow a restaurant with a drive-through window.

“I think this is a good step forward for the community,” Dawson said during Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Jackson Goodwin of Mickle Wagner Coleman, Inc., who represents Millé, said there are no contracts for the property yet and that rezoning the property is the first step in reopening the facility.

“Now that that’s done, he can get in touch to see who might be interested in opening a restaurant there,” Goodwin said.

The Board approved in November the conversion of a portion of the golf course to a PZD, facilitating the development of three commercial lots on the southwest corner of Brooken Hill Drive and Jenny Lind Road. This PZD allows for a mix of light commercial, retail and professional offices on the site of what was once the second tee of the Fianna Hills Golf Course.

Millé closed the Fianna Hills Country Club and Golf Course on December 31, 2018. Repeated efforts by a group of local investors to buy the country club and golf course fell through in September 2020. Millé has been working on portions of the golf course adjacent to the course sell homeowners. When replanting decisions were approved in 2021, Millé said 140 of the 283 lots on the golf course were under contract.

The clubhouse zoning application indicated that the remainder of the golf course is expected to be fully developed or sold as property extensions to existing properties at Fianna over the next 10-20 years.

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