Attorneys for developers say the project will help address a growing Northwest Arkansas, while attorneys for residents in the area say they worry about pollution.

BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — Developers are one step closer to creating a “glamping” resort on Beaver Lake after applications were approved in a unanimous vote by the Benton County Planning Board on Wednesday night.

According to plans submitted to the board, the resort will have 40 glamping tents, 12 covered wagons, a pavilion, and a spa located on Shockley Place Road at Beaver Lake. 

Attorney Brent Johnson, who represents developers Gene and Candia Nicholas, said the project comes in a time when Northwest Arkansas continues to grow. 

“Northwest Arkansas continues to grow,” Johnson said. “I believe that they realize that Benton County is continuing to grow and it’s starting to grow out that way. This is the next evolution in that and we’re doing it the right way. We’re doing it the safest way possible to preserve the lake and to accommodate everyone.”

The planning board initially denied the plans in 2022, but Johnson said he believes the right changes have been made to address the wastewater concerns that were raised by neighbors. 

“We went back to the appropriate state agencies, submitted plans to them,” Johnson said.  And our plans were approved by those state agencies and met with all the requirements. They brought in a waste soil scientist to engineer the waste wastewater disposal system and we basically have a sewage treatment plant on the facility now.”

Attorneys for the concerned neighbors, however, say that many issues are still left unanswered. 

In a memorandum to the board dated March 20, attorneys Robert Rhoads and Richard Mays write that noise impact, septic system inadequacy, erosion, and fire dangers are concerns of their clients. 

One of the biggest worries for residents who live on the lake, according to Rhoads, is water pollution. 

“More than one neighbor of this project, are concerned that primarily it will be detrimental to the lake and the lake water, and we believe that it will pollute the lake water,” Rhoads said. 

Rhoads also believes the activities and style of the resort is not compatible with the lake. 

“We also believe that it’s not a compatible operation,” Rhoads said. “It’s really an entertainment, camping ground with pickleball and potentially live music in a pavilion, potentially motorized vehicles in the lake and ATVs.”

According to Benton County Planning Director Madison Kienzle, a revised plan will go to the Benton County Fire Marshal for approval. After the plans get signed by the board chair, according to Kienzle developers can then apply for building permits.

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published 2024-03-24 11:44:45