Fayetteville council approves rezoning needed for coffee shop plan on Mount Sequoyah

The Ozark building at Mount Sequoyah is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. The Planning Commission recommended approval of a plan to rezone the building to allow for a coffee shop or cafe. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

FAYETTEVILLE — A plan to put a coffee shop on Mount Sequoyah got a green light on Tuesday.

City Council members voted 7-0 to approve a rezoning request for one of the buildings on the mountaintop campus to allow for third-party commercial use.

Emily Gentry, president of the nonprofit Mount Sequoyah Center, said the plan is to partner with a business owner who will operate a coffee shop or cafe inside the center’s Ozark building, which sits directly behind the iconic Parker Hall on the east side of the campus entrance driveway.

The campus was previously zoned entirely for institutional use such as for churches, schools and government facilities. The property was owned by the United Methodist Church for 94 years before being transferred to the nonprofit group in 2016.

The new zoning requested for the building is Neighborhood Services General, which only allows for buildings up to three stories tall. The remainder of the 29-acre campus has no height limitations under its institutional zoning, but structures over two stories must be situated away from residential properties.

The group had previously submitted a plan to rezone the entire campus as a planned zoning district with various uses throughout the property, such as for small concerts, food services and a hotel. That plan, however, was withdrawn before it could be heard by the Planning Commission after neighbors raised concerns.

No one from the public spoke during the council’s discussion about the request.