LIVE UPDATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: Nov. 21, 2017

File photo

On the agenda

  • Enacting a small cell facilities and networks ordinance.
  • Approving an application for a private club on West Avenue.
  • Terminating a joint lease agreement for the Lewis Soccer Complex.
  • Rezoning 24 acres along North College Avenue.
  • Approving the 2018 Annual Budget and Work Program.
  • Filling a vacancy on the Fayetteville City Council.

» Download the full agenda

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 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*, John La Tour
Absent: Sarah Bunch

* Tennant arrived at 6:27 p.m.

» View current attendance records


Consent items are approved in a single, all-inclusive vote unless pulled by a council member.

1. Approval of the Nov. 7, 2017 City Council Meeting Minutes
Pass 5-0

2. Paymentus Corporation (Details): A resolution to approve a contract with Paymentus Corporation in the amount of $5,000.00 expanding the scope of services to add a field displaying customer past due balances in the online utility billing system.
Pass 5-0

3. 2017 Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program (Details): A resolution to authorize acceptance of a fifty percent (50%) matching grant award from the 2017 Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program in the amount of $6,070.00 for the replacement of body armor vests for Fayetteville Police Officers, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 5-0

4. Federal and State Law Enforcement Revenue (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $81,516.00 recognizing revenue associated with federal and state law enforcement forfeitures and insurance proceeds from a wrecked vehicle.
Pass 5-0

5. Fayetteville Police Department Policies (Details): A resolution to approve Fayetteville Police Department policies on grooming and uniform requirements and body-worn cameras.
Pass 5-0

6. Bid #17-65 Nabholz Environmental Services, LLC (Details): A resolution to award Bid #17-65 and authorize a contract with Nabholz Environmental Services, LLC in the amount of $257,802.00 for asbestos abatement services at the old City Hospital as part of the Fayetteville Public Library Expansion Project, and to approve a project contingency in the amount of $40,000.00.
Pass 5-0

7. Community Access Television, Inc. d/b/a Your Media (Details): A resolution to approve a renewal of the contract with Community Access Television, Inc. d/b/a Your Media in the amount of $161,580.00 for the provision of public access television services and the operation of the public access television channel through 2018, contingent on approval of the 2018 Annual Budget and Work Program.
Pass 5-0

Unfinished Business

1. Small Cell Communications Facilities (Details: An ordinance to enact § 110.03 Small Cell Facilities and Networks into Chapter 110: Telecommunication Franchise, Billposting, and Small Cell Facilities and Networks.
Pass 5-0

2. VIP Club (Details): An ordinance to approve the application of Sami Ammar Haddaji, on behalf of VIP Club for a permit to operate as a Private Club in the City of Fayetteville at 326 N. West Ave. #6.
Pass 5-0

Notes: This decision is required as part of a recent addition to state law that gives local governments the power to approve or reject permits for new private clubs. Read more about this item in our Nov. 10 story.

After meeting with the city and police chief, the owner agreed to close the club by 1:30 a.m. each night to help alleviate foot traffic in the area, and to have all employees attend the Fayetteville Police Department’s free fraudulent underage ID class. City Attorney Kit Williams said the classes may be something all private club applicants are required to agree to in the future. The ordinance was amended 5-0 to include those two conditions.

New Business

1. University of Arkansas Joint Lease Agreement Termination (Details): A resolution to terminate the joint lease agreement between the City of Fayetteville and the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas for the city’s use of 27.5 acres on Lewis Avenue and the university’s use of 10.02 acres on Razorback Road, contingent upon approval by the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas.
Tabled 5-0

Notes: Before the meeting a memo was distributed indicating that the Town and Gown Advisory Committee met Monday, Nov. 20 and voted (see memo) to recommend that the city not terminate the lease early, allowing it to run through the full period of June 30, 2018 to give the public and stakeholders time to evaluate all possible options for the land.

Mayor Jordan said he understands that there are many residents with ideas about what should happen to the land, including those who’d like to see it preserved as a green space. He reminded the audience that the Kessler Mountain Regional Park land was acquired and the park built in response to knowing that the Lewis Complex land would one day revert back to the UA after the lease was terminated.

“I certainly am in support of preserving all the green space in this city that I can,” Jordan said. “But right now I don’t see the finances needed to purchase another piece of property.”

Jordan said tabling the item would ensure that nothing happens to the land until at least June 2018.

Residents who spoke said they are in favor of tabling the item to allow more time to organize efforts to preserve the land.

The item was tabled indefinitely by a vote of 5-0.

2. Amend Telecommunications Board (Details): An ordinance to amend article IX Telecommunications Board in Chapter 33 Departments, Boards, Commissions, and Authorities of the City Code to reduce the frequency of meetings from monthly to bi-monthly.
Pass 5-0

3. RZN 17-5950 (4847 W. Wedington/Leisure Homes Corp.) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 17-5950 for approximately 1.83 acres located at 4847 W. Wedington Drive from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre and NC, Neighborhood Conservation to RSF-18, Residential Single-Family, 18 units per acre, for 1.27 acres and NC, Neighborhood Conservation for 0.56 acres.
Pass 5-0

Notes: The applicant noted that there will soon be two additional adjacent properties that need to be rezoned to Neighborhood Conservation as part of this project.

4. VAC 17-5960 (East of Barton Avenue, north of Huntsville Road/Meehan) (Details): An ordinance to approve VAC 17-5960 for property located east of Barton Avenue and north of Huntsville Road to vacate a portion of a utility easement.
Pass 5-0

5. VAC 17-5963 (Rock Street from West Avenue to School Street/Rock Street Row) (Details): An ordinance to approve VAC 17-5963 for property located at Rock Street between West Avenue and School Street to vacate a portion of the Rock Street right-of-way.
Pass 6-0

6. Chapter 151 and 161 UDC Revisions (Details): An ordinance to amend the Unified Development Code to change building height restriction measurements from feet to stories in Chapter 161 and to amend §151.01 definitions to define “story.”
Pass 6-0

7. Rezone College Avenue (Details): An ordinance to rezone all parcels within or near College Avenue as shown on Exhibit C of the Planning Department’s agenda memo comprising about 24.62 acres.
Left on the first reading

8. Amend §166.21 Downtown Design Overlay District (Details): An ordinance to amend §166.21 Downtown Design Overlay District by amending the applicability section to include College Avenue overlay district and to enact §166.26 College Avenue Overlay District.
Left on the first reading

9. 2018 Annual Budget and Work Program (Details): A resolution to adopt the 2018 Annual Budget and Work Program.
Pass 6-0

10. Ward 4 City Council Member Replacement (Details): A decision on how to fill a vacancy on the Fayetteville City Council in Ward 4.

Notes: Fayetteville City Council member Alan Long resigned on Saturday, which requires the remaining members to decide how to fill a vacant seat. City Attorney Kit Williams said the council must either elect a new member to serve the remaining unexpired term or call for a special public election. Regardless of the decision, Williams said an avenue must be chosen tonight, according to state law.

There are several residents interested in the vacancy, according to the City Clerk’s office. The following residents submitted letters of interest: Andrew Miles, Spencer Brown, Christopher White, Teresa Turk, JL Jennings, Mike Emery, Kyle Smith and Julie McQuade Heyes. Emery and Smith each received several letters of support through the City Clerk’s office. Two residents were nominated by third parties, including DeAndre Jones and Billy Townsend.

At the beginning of the discussion, council member Adella Gray moved that the council appoint a new member instead of calling a special election. Council member Sarah Marsh seconded Gray’s motion.

Council member John La Tour disagreed and said despite the cost, a special election should determine the new member since the former member only served 11 months of a 48-month term. He said it would be “immoral” to deprive voters in Ward 4 the opportunity to choose a replacement.

Council member Tennant said with so much time left on the former member’s term, it would be best to call a special election. He said it’s difficult to justify a decision to choose someone tonight with so little knowledge of any of the candidates. He said if it was just one year or less, he would feel more comfortable making an appointment.

If a special election occurs, it would cost between $10,000-$30,000, according to City Clerk Sondra Smith. The first opportunity for a public vote would be in mid-February.

Nathan Allen, a candidate who lost the Ward 4 election to former member Alan Long in 2016, said he is also in favor of a special election. He said he no longer lives in Ward 4.

Andrew Miles, a Ward 4 resident interested in the position, suggested appointing someone for a year and then holding a special election to find a member for the final two years.

City Attorney Kit Williams said he likes Miles’ suggestion, but said it is not allowed by state law so it’s not currently an option.

Laura Phillips, a non-Ward 4 resident, said waiting until February is the wrong move and she believes there are fine candidates here tonight who could fill the position.

Kyle Smith, a Ward 4 resident interested in the position, said he has advocated for special elections in the past, but those were for specific decisions that created policy. This decision is different, he said. Smith said he is a frequent audience member at council meetings and said he’s tired of seeing empty seats in the Ward 4 area of the council chambers. He said it’s most appropriate to appoint someone tonight to ensure immediate representation of the ward.

In all, three people spoke in favor of a special election and three people spoke in favor of an appointment.

Mayor Jordan said in his time as mayor and on the council, he’s seen five situations like this. He said on three occasions an appointment was made, and on two occasions there were special elections.

“This is not an easy position for you to be in,” Jordan told the council. “You have to use your conscience.”

Gray defended her motion and said there are qualified candidates here tonight who plan to run for City Council in Ward 4 in the next election, and said they have properly prepared themselves for the position.

Council member Petty said he feels a little sick to his stomach over this decision. He said he doesn’t care about the cost of the special election and said it would be totally worth the money if that’s what the council chooses. He said while he can assign a cost to the election, he can’t assign a value to having a body in a seat to cast a vote. He said he can justify making an appointment as long as there is someone who is completely qualified for the position.

Petty asked Williams if the council chooses to make an appointment and then later tonight decides there is nobody here who is qualified, could the council move to reconsider and then vote to call a special election. Williams said that would be allowable.

Marsh said she has reviewed all the letters the City Clerk’s office received. She said there are qualified applicants who are active in the community, and who are similar to the former council member in that they share the same ideological backgrounds. She said there are more seats than just the one in the council chambers where a City Council member sits, including the various subcommittees where each member is also required to serve. Those seats, she said, need a voting member in place as soon as possible. Former member Long, she reminded the council, was also vice mayor.

8:20 p.m. Gray’s motion to appoint a new member passed 4-2 (Tennant and La Tour voted against).

Mayor Jordan said anyone interested in the position may speak.

Kyle Smith was the first applicant to speak. He’s a school teacher and was involved with the writing and passage of the city’s civil rights ordinance. He estimated that he’s attended 25-30 City Council meetings in the last few years to keep himself informed, and even attended Saturday morning’s budget session. He is about to complete his term on the Environmental Action Committee. He said he could “hit the ground running” and jump right into regular council business. “I’m ready to get to work,” Smith said. “I love this city.”

JL Jennings was second to speak. He is the assistant director of retention for the football and tennis programs at the University of Arkansas. He serves on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and is the park’s representative on the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Board of Directors. When asked, he said he has attended council meetings in the past. He said he’s lived in Fayetteville on and off for 19 years with brief stints in Chicago, Illinois and in Benton County. When asked, Jennings said his job requires very limited travel so it wouldn’t cause him to be absent for meetings.

Andrew Miles spoke third. He said he’s lived in Fayetteville for 11 years and in Ward 4 for five years. He’s an entrepreneur who runs an e-commerce venture and is co-founder and CEO of a nano technology surface coating company. He also serves on the Environmental Action Committee. He said he ardently believes in public service and was encouraged to apply for this position by several friends and family. He said he’s particularly interested in ensuring the Mount Comfort Road corridor is properly developed so it doesn’t turn into another area like the congested Wedington Drive corridor. When asked about economic development, he said he’d like to diversify the industrial sector in Fayetteville, and utilize potential public-private technology partnerships.

Spencer Brown spoke fourth. He’s a former Fayetteville police officer, has over 10 years of pharmaceutical sales experience, and is the director of Mercy Hyperbaric and Wound Care Center in Rogers. He’s president of Helping Children Learn an organization that helps give scholarships to children in need and is a past board member of the Yvonne Richardson Center, which he said was a very humbling experience. He said he wants to keep Fayetteville unique while making sure the city grows in a responsible way. Other key issues, if chosen, would be to improve infrastructure, and to make sure green spaces are preserved.

Mike Emery spoke fifth. He’s an 11-year resident of Fayetteville and a 10-year resident of Ward 4. He serves on a several city boards and commissions, and spent many years in the special armed forces. He ran against former council member Alan Long in 2012 for the Ward 4 seat, and lost in a runoff election by a vote of 382 to 259. He announced he would run again in 2016, but later decided not to file so he could focus on the Environmental Action Committee and the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. When asked, he said the most important issues the city faces are finances, infrastructure and the enduring green network.

Teresa Turk spoke sixth. She owns a small environmental firm, and has lived in Fayetteville for 13 years, 12 of which have been in Ward 4. She serves on the Historic District Commission, the Civil Rights Commission, and is treasurer of the University Heights Neighborhood Association. She worked for former member Long’s campaign and said she shares his passion for historic preservation, which would be her highest priority if chosen. Her other key issues would be to alleviate infrastructure problems, and balance the growth of the University of Arkansas with the preservation of the surrounding neighborhoods. “I believe we can balance growth with the preservation of our culture here,” Turk said.

Brian Isham spoke seventh. He’s live here since 2014 and said he planned to challenge Long in three years when his seat comes up. He said he hasn’t served on any boards or commissions outside of his fraternity. He said he leads a leadership group of young men. He said he would put the citizens of Ward 4 first if chosen. His second priority would be the budget and his third priority would be planning for the future growth of the city.

9:16 p.m. No other applicants came forward. The discussion returns to the council. Petty asked if the council is required to choose someone who spoke tonight. Williams said as long as the person lives in Ward 4, they are qualified and can be appointed. He said there is no set procedure for making an appointment, and said the council could deliberate in private or in public before someone makes a motion to appoint someone.

Marsh moved to appoint Kyle Smith. Gray seconded the motion, but said she was impressed with all of the candidates tonight.

“I know Kyle Smith well because I’ve worked with him very closely on the civil rights ordinance,” said Gray, noting that he also has strong knowledge of other city issues. “He certainly could hit the ground running and would fit right in with the council.”

Petty said he can’t think of a reason not to support Smith, but said he would make the same statement about several of the other candidates. He said he hopes those who aren’t chosen would consider running for City Council in the future. Petty said Smith is an impressive candidate who uses data when presenting arguments. He said he hasn’t always agreed with Smith on every issue, but he respects him and would be proud to have the opportunity to have his mind changed by him on the council.

Kinion said every candidate has a quality that would enhance the city government. The nature of having to select just one, he said, has turned into a much tougher situation than he imagined. However, he said Smith’s presence in the community and his qualifications are evident. He encouraged any of the other candidates to apply to fill seats on the city’s many boards and commissions.

9:39 p.m. The council voted 4-2 (Tennant and La Tour voted against) to select Kyle Smith, but the group needs five votes to create the resolution to appoint Smith. Mayor Jordan has the right to cast a vote if he so chooses.

Jordan said he will support Smith and cast the necessary vote to create the resolution.

In the final vote to approve the resolution and elect Kyle Smith, the council voted 4-2 (Tennant and La Tour voted against). Mayor Jordan voted yes and the resolution passes.

Kyle Smith will take over the Ward 4, Position 2 seat through Dec. 31, 2020.


This meeting was adjourned at 9:43 p.m.