Bikes, Babes & Bling permit could go before council

If Matthew Petty has his way, the fate of Bikes, Babes & Bling could soon end up in the hands of the Fayetteville City Council.

The Ward 2 Alderman has left comments here at the Fayetteville Flyer saying that he believes the Advertising and Promotion Commission is out of control and out of touch with Fayetteville’s character for supporting the rally, which it gave $20,000 to in November.

Petty then indicated in the comments of another story that he and some other aldermen were considering action to prevent the new bike rally from happening at all. That action likely will come on Tuesday as Petty is expected to make a proposal at the council’s agenda session that would require aldermen to vote on the approval of the special events permit for the female-targeted rally.

Petty was unsure of what form the proposal might take at this point.

“(City Attorney) Kit (Williams) has been sick, so I don’t know exactly what this is going to look like,” Petty said. “It could be a resolution to deny the permit, or it could be the permit itself. If the latter, a Council member will have to make a motion to approve or deny the permit, the same as we do for appeals.”

Bikes, Babes & Bling was originally scheduled for July 15-17 in Fayetteville, but a permit filed on Dec. 28 with the city seeks approval for a July 1-3 event.

“Another motorcycle rally puts a strain on most businesses and residents,” Petty said. “We shouldn’t be giving up our holiday for a motorcycle rally. If this goes through, you can kiss having your family over on the July 4th weekend goodbye.”

The special events permit application has been on the desk of Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who is awaiting a recommendation from his staff before signing it.

“We do about 300 permits a year, and they have never gone to the council for approval,” Jordan said.

He is, however, aware of the alderman’s intentions.

“Alderman Petty has for several weeks indicated an interest in bringing an ordinance or resolution requiring council approval. I suggested that he do so soon, or I would go ahead and sign the permit if recommended by staff.”

Tuesday’s agenda session could be Petty’s final opportunity to act.

“Unless the resolution is presented and passed at the council meeting on the 20th, we will proceed as usual,” Jordan told us Friday evening. “The organizers need an answer in a timely manner.”

In addition to questioning the timing of Bikes, Babes & Bling, Petty has questioned the economic benefit that the rally will have for the area.

“The financial benefit to the books at City Hall are highly questionable,” Petty said in a comment here in January.

But Brian Crowne, owner of George’s Majestic Lounge, and one of the business owners on Dickson Street that is in favor of the new rally, disagrees.

“Anyone in local government that doesn’t support events with promoters that have a sterling history of producing safe and profitable festivals is derelict of duty in this current economic environment,” he said. “Don’t we have a $2,000,000 short fall in our city budget already?”

Crowne, who recently partnered with Bikes, Blues & BBQ organizers with his other venue, The Arkansas Music Pavilion, is also concerned with the precedent a council vote might set for future events.

He says Fayetteville will not be viewed as a festival-friendly city if this rally’s permit is rejected. “It will only run festival promoters away if a proven approval process is complicated even further,” said Crowne.

As to what Fayetteville residents think about the prospect of a new bike rally, and for what it’s worth, Skip Descant noted in today’s Northwest Arkansas Times that the Bikes Babes and Bling Facebook page currently has about fifty times the amount of support than that of the Fayetteville Residents Against Bikes Babes and Bling group.