LIVE UPDATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: Feb. 20, 2018

File photo

On the agenda…

  • A grant and loan to acquire 228 acres for a mountain bike park.
  • Rezonings on Crossover Road, West Avenue, Greens Chapel Road and Double Springs Road.
  • Two street name changes.
  • Adding OurPharma, LLC to the Arkansas Tax Back Program.

» Download the full agenda

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 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, Sarah Bunch, John La Tour, Kyle Smith
Absent: None

» View current attendance records


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

1. Approval of the Feb. 6, 2018 City Council Meeting Minutes
Pass 8-0

2. Missy Gipson Short-Term Lease Agreement (Details): A resolution to approve a short-term lease agreement with Missy Gipson for the Drake Field Terminal Building Banquet Area for rent in the amount of $400.00.
Pass 8-0

3. Hazmat Services Revenue (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment recognizing hazmat services revenue received by the Fire Department from Washington County in the amount of $2,305.00 and increasing the related expense budget.
Pass 8-0

4. Bid #18-16 Art Thureson, LLC (Details): A resolution to award Bid #18-16 and authorize the purchase of two 12-foot wide prefabricated bridges from Art Thureson, Inc. of Waterford, Michigan in the total amount of $79,000.00 plus applicable taxes to replace two existing 5-foot wide bridges in Gulley Park.
Pass 8-0

5. Southwestern Electric Power Company Agreement (Details): A resolution to approve an agreement with Southwestern Electric Power Company to participate in an energy efficiency rebate program and accept an incentive rebate in the amount of $14,664.60, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

6. Watershed Conservation Resource Center Task Order No. 6 (Details): A resolution to approve Task Order No. 6 with the Watershed Conservation Resource Center in the amount of $25,140.00 for the repair of flood damage to the stream restoration project at Sweetbriar Park.
Pass 8-0

7. Lake Fayetteville Improvements Project (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $18,000.00 recognizing Parkland Dedication Fees from the Northeast Quadrant to be used to upgrade the water line and plumbing at the Veterans Park restroom facility.
Pass 8-0

8. University of Arkansas Memorandum of Agreement (Details): A resolution to authorize the mayor to sign a memorandum of agreement with the University of Arkansas to provide half of the funding for a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator position with the total amount paid by the city not to exceed $30,000.00.
Pass 8-0

9. OurPharma, LLC Tax Back Program (Details): A resolution to approve and certify the participation of OurPharma, LLC in the Arkansas Tax Back Program and to agree to authorize the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration to refund city sales tax back to OurPharma, LLC for qualified purchases.
Pass 8-0

10. Street Name Change (Details): A resolution to change the name of West Maclure way to West Maclura Way, and to change the name of West Zander Drive to West Anthem Drive.
Pass 8-0

11. Repeal Resolution No. 40-18 (Details): A resolution to repeal Resolution No. 40-18 and authorize the purchase of a 2018 Dodge Ram from Steve Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Little Rock in the amount of $26,971.00, pursuant to a State Procurement Contract, for use by the Police Department.
Pass 8-0

Unfinished Business

1. RZN 17-6034 (2468 N. Crossover Rd./Jones) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 17-6034 for approximately 4.40 acres located at 2468 N. Crossover Road from RSF-2, Residential Single Family, 2 units per acre to NS-G, Neighborhood Services-General.
Left on the second reading

Notes: This is the second reading of this request.

The applicant has said the rezoning is needed to allow small offices to be developed on the property after unsuccessfully marketing the property for 11 years as residential.

City staff have said they would rather see the property rezoned as Neighborhood Services-Limited as originally requested before the Planning Commission asked the applicant to change the request to Neighborhood Services-General – which the applicant agreed to.

During the Planning Commission meeting, significant public comment was made against the proposal citing safety, traffic, and general incompatibility.

For some context, the applicant in 2013 requested the property be rezoned to Residential Office, but the City Council eventually denied the request. At the time, council member Matthew Petty suggested the applicant instead request one of the smaller-scale, form-based Neighborhood Services zonings. He said since residents were concerned that a large commercial center might end up on the property instead of a small office, the Neighborhood Services zoning could be a good middle ground. At the time, council members Tennant and Marsh commended Petty’s idea, but said it was the wrong area for any type of commercial use.

Here’s a map of the subject property:

Some residents who spoke at the first reading on Feb. 6 were in favor of the rezoning, but several others said they were against the idea and cited safety and traffic as their concerns.

City staff said the applicant called the planning office today (Feb. 20) and asked to change the request back to Neighborhood Services-Limited. This zone is preferred by city staff because it limits the sizes of buildings. NS-Limited limits retail buildings to 2,000 square feet, whereas NS-General allows up to 8,000 square feet. The height restriction of three stories is the same for both zones.

The council amended the request to NS-Limited with a unanimous vote.

A nearby subdivision representative who spoke tonight reiterated his neighbors’ concerns about traffic and safety.

Council member Tennant said traffic will be an issue no matter what is developed on the land. He said if the area is built in a residential manner as its current zoning allows, there could be up to 120 vehicles entering or exiting the property each day at peak times.

Council member Marsh moved to send the request to the third and final reading. La Tour seconded. The motion failed. The discussion will resume at the next meeting on March 6.

New Business

1. Centennial Open Space Acquisition (Details): A resolution to approve the attached real estate contract in which Centennial Bank agrees to sell and convey to the City of Fayetteville approximately 228 acres pursuant to a special warranty deed for $3,302,250.00, to authorize Mayor Jordan to apply for and accept a generous 50/50 matching grant from the Walton Family Foundation for this acquisition, to authorize Mayor Jordan to enter into a no-interest five-year loan from the Walton Family Foundation in the amount of $1,651,125.00 and to approve the attached budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

Notes: We wrote a story about this proposal last week. Click here to read it.

This proposal is to accept a grant and a loan from the Walton Family Foundation as part of a plan to acquire 228 acres in west Fayetteville for future development of a new single track trail system to serve the region’s growing mountain biking community, as well as local hikers and trail runners.

The land is known as Millsaps Mountain (or more recently Mountain Ranch) and is adjacent to Interstate 49 between Wedington Drive and MLK Jr. Boulevard. It is owned by Centennial Bank and there are currently no active uses on the property.

If approved, the city would enter a contract with the bank to purchase the property for $3,302,250. The idea comes from the Walton foundation, who offered the city a 50-50 matching grant for half the money and an interest-free loan to pay for the rest. In other words, the foundation has offered to front the money for the entire purchase. The city would pay its half back to the foundation in equal installments of $275,187.50 for the next five years.

The foundation has already funded a master plan for future trail development on the property that envisions infrastructure that would set Fayetteville apart from other nearby cities with mountain bike trails.

The city and foundation believe the trail system should be built so that it can be used not only for recreation, but also for programmed racing events that would draw competitors and spectators from around the country.

Here’s a map:

Council member John La Tour said he is slightly concerned about the agreement’s requirement that the property be preserved in perpetuity, but said overall, he’s excited about the potential of the acquisition as it relates to tourism.

Council member Marsh questioned where the city’s money would come from. City Finance Director Paul Becker said the payments would be taken from the city’s general fund reserves. Marsh said it’s clearly a good deal, but she has concerns about how the city will pay to build and maintain the trails.

Don Marr, the city’s chief of staff, said there is no required timeline for developing the land, which was a specific request of the mayor. Marr said there may be opportunities for future matching grants to build trails, or the council could decide to use bonds to develop the park. While there is no timeline for development, Marr said there is a timeline for buying the land, which was about to put up for auction before the Walton Family Foundation stepped in with this proposal. The proposal, he said, requires the city to close on the property by March 30.

Marsh said she wants to make sure the city isn’t using money that could be put toward sidewalk improvements, staff raises or other needed expenses. Becker said it’s not appropriate to take money away from a specific one-time purchase and use it for employee raises because salaries are needed year after year.

Residents and representatives from the Arkansas branch of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association said a park of this size and nature would be a major asset to the local mountain biking community and would attract lots of cyclists from outside the community.

Molly Rawn, executive director of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission, said recent research indicates that avid mountain bikers take at least two cycling-specific trips per year. She said this acquisition would build upon the city’s recent push for more mountain biking infrastructure – including the new trails at nearby Kessler Mountain – and could help generate big revenue from tourism dollars once cyclists begin to come to Fayetteville to ride.

Tour representatives from local environmental groups, along with several residents and the president of the Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of preserving the land.

The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

2. RZN 18-6076 (203, 205 & 207 S. West Ave./Rouse) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 18-6076 for approximately 0.47 acres located at 203, 205 & 207 South West Avenue from NC, Neighborhood Conservation to RI-U, Residential Intermediate, Urban.
Pass 8-0

Notes: Both city staff and the Planning Commission are in favor of the request. The applicant has said that the intent is facilitate re-development of the site.

3. Appeal RZN 17-6046 (East of Greens Chapel Rd./Walker) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 17-6046 for approximately 29 acres located east of Greens Chapel Road from R-A, Residential Agricultural to RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre.
Pass 5-3

Notes: City staff and the Planning Commission both recommend denial of the request. The applicant is here tonight to appeal the commission’s decision.

The property is an undeveloped 29-acre parcel east of Greens Chapel Road and north of Drewrys Bluff Road in west Fayetteville. The property is bordered on the south and west by phases I and IV of the Legacy Pointe subdivision, and on the north and east by large lots in the older residential-agricultural pattern.

City staff believe the proposed zoning is compatible with the land use patterns to the west and south, which consist of single-family neighborhoods and have street stub-outs that would connect to the subject property. However, they said it’s somewhat incompatible with the land uses to the north and east which are very low in density and rural residential in nature.

Here’s a map:

Council member La Tour said the proposed rezoning would fit nicely against the neighborhoods to the west and south, especially considering there are dead-end streets in those neighborhoods just waiting to be extended into a new neighborhood.

Council member Marsh said the city’s 2030 Master Plan discourages suburban sprawl, which, she said, is exactly what the council would be encouraging if it approves a rezoning that allows another subdivision on the outskirts of town.

Council member Smith said there are neighborhoods further west of the subject property, so it’s not exactly the edge of town. Marsh said the council’s intent when approving the Rupple Road extension is that it would be the western-most boundary for residential growth. The subject property is about a mile and a half west of Rupple Road.

Council member Tennant said the property is sort of trapped in no-man’s land in that the master plan may call for no development there, but if the council denies any attempt to develop it, the land could just sit unused forever surrounded by previously built residential neighborhoods. He said he’d likely approve the rezoning request if the vote occurs tonight.

Council members Bunch and Kinion said while they are both against sprawl, this piece of land is unique, not only because of the reasons Tennant stated, but also because it presents an opportunity for the addition of affordable housing in Fayetteville, much like the neighborhoods that directly abut the land to the west and south. Both said they would likely support the rezoning.

Council member Petty said he’s not looking at this decision in the frame of whether or not it’s sprawl. He said building streets for neighborhoods that only allow four units per acre is not financially sustainable, which is why the city is behind on street and sidewalk maintenance. He said he won’t support the rezoning.

Kinion said while it’s true there’s a pattern of allowing unsustainable growth in Fayetteville, this particular piece of land is in an area that would be inexpensive to develop since there are street stubouts and infrastructure already in place.

In the final vote, Marsh, Petty and Smith voted against.

4. RZN 2018-0090 (City of Farmington, Red Canyon Development, LLC) (Details): An ordinance to approve the City of Farmington’s rezoning of that property described in rezoning petition RZN 2018-0090 for approximately 126.03 acres located at Double Springs Road from A-1, Agriculture District to R-1, Single Family Residential.
Pass 8-0

Notes: This property is actually in the city of Farmington and was already approved by the Farmington City Council, but since the Fayetteville city limits are located across the street, the request won’t go through unless the Fayetteville City Council agrees that the rezoning will not adversely impact the adjoining land uses in Fayetteville.

City staff are in favor of the resolution.

5. Amend Article XI Environmental Action Committee (Details): An ordinance to amend Article XI Environmental Action Committee in Chapter 33 Departments, Boards, Commissions and Authorities of the Fayetteville Code to add consideration of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies and policy recommendations regarding energy efficiency and clean energy to the purpose of the committee.
Pass 7-1

Notes: This item would make two changes to a part of the city code that defines the purpose and duties of the Environmental Action Committee. The volunteer committee meets once a month and makes recommendations to the City Council on matters concerning the environment.

According to a staff memo, Fayetteville’s recently adopted Energy Action Plan recommends that the purpose and duties of the committee be updated to include:

  • Consideration of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Policy recommendations regarding energy efficiency efforts and clean energy
    purchasing decisions

City staff and members of the Environmental Action Committee are in favor of the proposal.

La Tour voted against. He didn’t specifically say why, but earlier questioned whether members of the Environmental Action Committee could be held liable if they advise the council to approve any environmental policy changes that turn out to be bad for the public. The city attorney said the committee only gives advice and it’s the council’s duty to approve any policy changes.


– A damaged section of Frisco Trail will undergo repair work this week that will require trail users to take a detour around the construction area.

– Free Wi-Fi was added in 8 public parks, as well as in two popular parking locations near Dickson Street.

– The first of four spring bulky waste cleanup events is scheduled for next month at two locations in Fayetteville.


This meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.