LIVE UPDATES: City Council Recap: June 21, 2016

On the agenda

  • Selling a portion of the West Avenue Parking Lot.
  • Changes to the way some festivals are approved.
  • Rezoning 35 acres on Dead Horse Mountain Road.
  • Rezoning 6.4 acres north of 1110 N. Frontage Road.
  • Rezoning 1.84 acres at the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and South Street.
  • Approving a C-PZD for 24.60 acres at Wedington Drive and Marioni Drive.
  • Adding the City of Springdale to Energy Improvement District No. 1.
  • Purchasing wayfinding signage and poles.

» Download the agenda

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, 2016 inside room 219 of City Hall, located at 113 W. Mountain St. in Fayetteville.

Listed below are the items up for approval and links to PDF documents with detailed information on each item of business.

Roll Call

Present: Adella Gray, Sarah Marsh, Mark Kinion, Matthew Petty, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Justin Tennant, Martin Schoppmeyer, John La Tour
Absent: Alan Long

» View current attendance records

City Council Reports

1. International Institute of Municipal Clerks Certified Municipal Clerk Presentation and Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders, and Treasurers Association Certified Arkansas Municipal Clerk Presentation (Details): Sherri Gard, Fort Smith City Clerk and ACCRTA President


Consent items typically are approved in a single, all-inclusive vote.

1. Approval of the June 7, 2016 City Council Meeting Minutes
Pass 7-0

2. CDBG Program Income (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $7,375.00 representing CDBG Program income received from a housing program lien payoff plan, energy efficiency rebates from SourceGas and donations from citizens and local businesses.
Pass 7-0

3. Assistance to Firefighters Grant (FEMA) (Details): A resolution to authorize the acceptance of a 90/10 assistance to firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $613,637.00 for the purchase of a mobile training simulator system for the Fire Department, and to approve a budget adjustment to provide for matching funds in the amount of $61,363.00 and a project contingency in the amount of $27,000.00.
Pass 7-0

4. Federal and State Law Enforcement Forfeitures and a Refund (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $23,435.00 recognizing revenue associated with federal and state law enforcement forfeitures and a refund from EOTech for defective rifle optics.
Pass 7-0

5. Fayetteville Police Department Donations (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $2,400.00 recognizing donation revenue to the Fayetteville Police Department in support of officer recognition.
Pass 7-0

6. Gallagher Benefits Services (Details): A resolution to approve the annual renewal contract with Gallagher Benefits Services in the amount of $57,600.00 for the provision of city employee benefits broker services.
Pass 7-0

Unfinished Business

1. Amend § 72.58 Off-street Parking Facilities; Rules and Rates (Details): An ordinance to amend § 72.58 Off-street Parking Facilities; Rules and Rates (m) to limit the mayor’s authority to assign any city-owned paid parking lots or on-street paid parking spaces within the Entertainment District or the closure of city streets for the use of a permitted special event to not more than two (2) days per year without express approval of the City Council.
Pass 5-2

Notes: This proposal initially would’ve changed the approval process for event applications that request closure of city streets or parking lots in the Entertainment District for more than two days. Festival applications were normally approved in-house by city staff and the mayor.

The ordinance first sought to require approval from the full City Council each year that a festival organizer wishes to host an event. However, the council’s Ordinance Review Committee made some changes to the proposal, which were approved in an amendment by a 6-1 vote (La Tour voted against).

Instead of bringing all major event applications to the City Council, the new ordinance allows a formal appeal of a newly-approved festival permit if at least two City Council members notify the City Clerk’s office in writing within 7 days.

La Tour said bringing appeals to the City Council would politicize a decision that is better left in the hands of city staff and the mayor. He said if some business owners don’t like a particular festival, they should adapt to the market and sell something people want during those events instead of asking an alderman to appeal the festival’s application.

Council members Marsh and Tennant said allowing citizens the opportunity to appeal an in-house decision to close city streets for large events is important.

During the final vote, Schoppmeyer and La Tour voted against. Schoppmeyer did not say why.

Quick Summary: This proposal was modified and then approved.

2. Falling Waters Appeal (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 16-5385 for approximately 35.31 acres on Dead Horse Mountain Road from R-A, Residential Agriculture to RSF-2, Residential Single Family, 2 units per acre subject to a Bill of Assurance limiting development to 51 homes.
Pass 6-1

Notes: This item was left on the first reading at the May 17 City Council meeting. At the time, neighbors who spoke said any new development would only compound the flooding issues the area already has and said the request should be denied.

A civil engineer speaking tonight on behalf of the applicant said a new bill of assurance promises that low-impact development procedures and water runoff management practices will be used where reasonable to help alleviate any new flooding problems created by the proposed development. He said the flooding issue that the neighborhood currently has at the end of Pumpkin Ridge Drive is caused by runoff from another area and is not affected by the property at question tonight.

Neighbors who spoke tonight echoed their sentiments from the last meeting, mostly speaking about flooding and traffic problems that could be caused by any nearby development. Some said they appreciated the promises to use low-impact development practices on this property, but said if the proposal is approved, they fear the applicant will use this development to justify adding more houses to the area in the future.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the proposal. He said there may be challenges presented by this development, but such is the way of change in a growing city. Clark said the city has a responsibility to react positively to change and should view this proposal as an opportunity to develop ways to mitigate problems generated from new developments.

Alderman La Tour said the applicant has the right to develop their property and if the neighbors don’t like added traffic, they should move to a smaller town.

Alderwoman Sarah Marsh said the bill of assurance offered tonight is too vague, and said the council should follow the recommendations of the Planning Commission and deny the request. She called the development “sprawl” and said it is not in line with the city’s master planning goals. She echoed her sentiments from May 17 and said approval of the request could set a dangerous precedent for the area that could lead to further development up the hill that could compound current flooding and traffic issues.

City Attorney Kit Williams cautioned the council about denying the request. Williams said the applicant has already spent a large amount of money to prepare their land for development, and that refusing to allow any economically feasible development on the land could be found to be an unconstitutional deprivation of preexisting use rights which may result in significant litigation damages to the city.

Alderman Petty said he generally doesn’t approve rezoning requests for property so close to the edges of the city, but said Williams’ legal argument to approve the request was too compelling to ignore. He said he wouldn’t be in support of any future requests to rezone property in this area.

Alderwoman Gray echoed her comments from May 17, and said she hopes the council will keep the costs that the applicant has already made in mind when considering the request.

Alderman Kinion said he has serious environmental concerns about the effects the proposed development could have on the area, but said he can’t make a decision that would likely trigger significant litigation damages.

Marsh was the only council member to vote against the request.

Quick Summary: Council members approved the proposal, but some said they only did so because the City Attorney is concerned that the applicant might sue the city.

New Business

1. Proposals for Development of South End of West Avenue Parking Lot (Details): A resolution to clarify and extend the timeframe to solicit proposals for development of the West Avenue Parking Lot and to consider parking neutral proposals for sale of smaller parcels on southern end.
Tabled 7-0 until July 5*

Notes: Consider reading our story from yesterday for details about this proposal.

Alderman Petty said although he and other council members have expressed interest in waiting until an ongoing parking study is complete next year before entertaining formal offers for development of the property, he brought this proposal forward tonight because it was “too compelling” to pass up.

He said the proposal solves a serious safety issue while helping manifest a longtime city planning goal of seeing the southern end of the West Lot be transformed into a mixed-use building.

Rob Sharp, a local architect responsible for preliminary designs for this project, said the development would incorporate Frisco Trail by moving cyclists out of the parking lot that they currently share with vehicles. He called the project “parking neutral” and said any loss in parking would be made up by the addition of on-street spaces along West Avenue.

Petty said selling the land would pay back the cost of the parking study and would provide significant property tax revenue for area schools. He said selling a small section of the lot would give the council a chance to dip its toes into the idea of developing the lot while still maintaining about 2 acres of land for future development. Plus, he said critical pieces – including a parking demand analysis – from the ongoing parking study are set to be completed within the next month that could help the council make a decision about the project.

Sarah Sparks Diebold, who spoke on behalf of the Dickson Street Merchants Association, said the council should hold off on any action with the West Lot until the entire parking study is complete.

Hunter Haynes, who recently expressed interest in developing the entire lot, agreed with Diebold and said the city should wait until the study is complete. He questioned the price being offered for the land and said the council should consider proposals for the entire lot after the study is complete instead of giving special consideration to a small portion of the property.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, applauded the idea and said now that the economy has recovered, the council should give strong consideration to mixed-use developments in the Entertainment District, especially those that are parking neutral. He said he sees no reason why the city shouldn’t entertain offers for such a small piece of property that could have a lasting, positive impact on the area.

Barbara Taylor, who serves on the Walton Arts Center Council, also said the city should wait until the parking study is complete before entertaining offers for any portion of the lot.

Carl Collier of Collier Drug Stores questioned the timing of the proposal and said the city only stands to profit more money from selling property by waiting until the parking study is complete.

Alderwoman Marsh praised the proposal and said putting more residents and businesses downtown should be a top priority for the city. She said she prefers the idea of incremental development of the lot, and said she was in full support.

Alderman Petty said he would prefer not to vote on the issue tonight, but rather wait until next month to see the results of the preliminary parking demand analysis.

Alderman La Tour said some offers are worth moving on quickly instead of waiting to see if better ideas arise. He said he was excited to see a proposal for a public-private partnership, and said he anticipates seeing the parking demand analysis in a few weeks.

Alderman Tennant said the project might be exactly what the area needs, but he isn’t convinced that it has to occur now. He said the opinions of the Dickson Street Merchants Association members shouldn’t be taken lightly. He said he would like to see what effects an expanded Walton Arts Center will have on the area before making a decision.

Quick Summary: After a lively debate, this proposal was put on hold until the next meeting.

2. Energy Improvement District No. 1 Membership Agreement (Details): An ordinance to authorize Mayor Jordan to sign a membership agreement allowing the City of Springdale to become a member of Energy Improvement District No. 1, and to amend § 33.381 Board of Directors, Membership, Terms of Office of Article XXVI Energy Improvement District No. 1 to provide for the City of Springdale’s representation on the board of directors.
Pass 7-0

3. Wayfinding Signs, Poles and Appurtenances (Details): An ordinance to waive the requirements of formal competitive bidding and authorize the purchase of wayfinding signs, poles and appurtenances from Architectural Graphics, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $122,930.98, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 7-0

4. RZN 16-5386 (North of 1110 N. Frontage RD./Lindsey Properties) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 16-5386 for approximately 6.40 acres located north of 1110 N. Frontage Road from C-1, Neighborhood Commercial to CS, Community Services.
Pass 7-0

5. RZN 16-5425 (NW Corner of Mill Avenue & South Street/Thurmond-Quinlan) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 16-5425 for approximately 1.84 acres located along the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and South Street from R-O, Residential Office, and RMF-24, Residential Multi Family, 24 units per acres to DG, Downtown General.
Pass 7-0

6. VAC 16-5424 (NW Corner of Mill Avenue & South Street/Thurmond-Quinlan) (Details): An ordinance to approve VAC 16-5424 submitted by Allison Thurmond-Quinlan for property located at the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and South Street to vacate street right-of-way.
Pass 7-0

7. C-PZD 16-5408 (Wedington & Marinoni Dr./Cross Church) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 16-5408 for approximately 24.60 acres at Wedington Drive and Marioni Drive from C-2, Thoroughfare Commercial and UT, Urban Thoroughfare to C-PZD, Commercial Planned Zoning District.
Left on the first reading

Notes: Consider reading our previous story about this project for more information.

Cross Church has amended their application to include a new rezoning request for a smaller portion of land and for P1, Institutional instead of the previous C-PZD. City Attorney Kit Williams said the other commercial developers who were previously a part of this request have backed out and will be building their projects under the current UT, Urban Thoroughfare zoning. The council approved the amendment 7-0.

8. Amend the Definition of “Setback” in § 151.01 (Details): An ordinance to amend the definition of “setback” in § 151.01 of the Unified Development Code to allow architectural projections of a building such as its eaves to slightly protrude into a setback under certain conditions.
Pass 7-0


– A Ward 4 meeting is planned for 6 p.m. on Monday, June 27 inside City Hall room 111.

– The next Dive-In Movie is set for sunset on Friday, June 24 at the Wilson Park pool.


This meeting was adjourned at 9:59 p.m.