LIVE UDPATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: March 6, 2018

File photo

On the agenda…

  • Rezoning 4.4 acres on North Crossover Road.
  • Defining the responsibilities of property owners to keep sidewalks clear of obstructions.
  • Prohibiting the use of tobacco in all city parks and trails.
  • Implementing phase one of the city’s new parking plan.
  • Selling 0.04 acres south of George’s Majestic Lounge.
  • Selling 0.1 acres at South Razorback Road and Sligo Street.
  • Clarifying that it’s against the law to stand on a median.

» Download the full agenda

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, 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. 20, 2018 City Council Meeting Minutes
Pass 8-0

2. Hazmat Services Revenue (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $11,198.00 recognizing hazmat services revenue received from Washington County and increasing the related expense budget.
Pass 8-0

3. Arkansas State Drug Crime Enforcement and Prosecution Grant (Details): A resolution to authorize acceptance of a 2017-2018 State Drug Crime Enforcement and Prosecution Grant for state funding of the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force in the amount of $54,693.47, and to authorize Mayor Jordan to sign all necessary documents to receive the grant funds.
Pass 8-0

4. Environmental Consulting Operations, Inc. (Details): A resolution to approve Amendment No. 4 to the contract with Environmental Consulting Operations, Inc. in the amount of $61,872.00 for wetlands mitigation site monitoring and management in 2018.
Pass 8-0

5. RFP #17-07 EcosConnect, LLC. (Details): A resolution to award RFP #17-07 and authorize the mayor to sign a one-year contract with EcosConnect, LLC, with an option to renew for up to four additional one-year terms, in the amount of $12,000.00 per year for backflow tracking services.
Pass 8-0

6. Garden District Townhomes, LLC (Details): A resolution to approve Amendment No. 1 to the Water Main Installation Cost Share Agreement with Garden District Townhomes, LLC to provide for reimbursement of the cost of materials for installing two fire hydrants in the amount of $5,121.60.
Pass 8-0

7. Bobcat Company (Details): A resolution to authorize the purchase of a Bobcat E45 Excavator with attachments from Bobcat Company of West Fargo, North Dakota in the amount of $69,857.30, pursuant to a National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Agreement, for use the by Transportation Services Department.
Pass 8-0

8. Superior Automotive Group (Details): A resolution to approve the purchase of three police package Chevrolet Tahoes from Superior Automotive Group of Siloam Springs in the total amount of $95,589.00, pursuant to a state procurement contract, for use by the Police Department.
Pass 8-0

9. Lewis Automotive Group (Details): A resolution to authorize the purchase of a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD Regular Cab from Lewis Automotive Group of Fayetteville, Arkansas in the amount of $21,131.00, pursuant to a state procurement contract, for use by the Facilities Management Division.
Pass 8-0

10. Williams Tractor (Details): A resolution to approve the purchase a 2018 New Holland RB450 4×5 Dry Hay Baler from Williams Tractor of Fayetteville in the amount of $30,241.00 pursuant to National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Contract, for use by the Wastewater Treatment Division.
Pass 8-0

11. Steve Landers (Details): A resolution to authorize the purchase of a Toyota Prius Hybrid from Steve Landers of Rogers, Arkansas in the amount of $23,108.00, pursuant to a state procurement contract, for use by the Fleet Division, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

12. Repeal Resolution No. 33-17 (Details): A resolution to repeal Resolution No. 33-17 and authorize the purchase of a 2018 Elgin Crosswind Street Sweeper from Environmental Products Mid-South of Memphis, Tennessee in the amount of $251,739.20, pursuant to a National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Contract, for use by the Transportation Services Department.
Pass 8-0

13. Sweetser Construction, Inc. (Details): A resolution to authorize Mayor Jordan to sign a contract with Sweetser Construction, Inc. in the amount of $3,891,372.55 for the construction of the Old Wire Road Protected Bike Lane and Sidewalk Project, to approve a project contingency in the amount of $194,000.00, and to approve a budget adjustment.
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-L, Neighborhood Services-Limited.
Tabled until March 20

Notes: This is the final 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.

The applicant first asked for Neighborhood Services-Limited, but the Planning Commission requested a more broad zoning so the applicant agreed to change the request to Neighborhood Services-General. City staff, however, preferred the original request, as did the City Council who on Feb. 20 voted to amend the application back to its original Neighborhood Services-Limited request.

NS-Limited is preferred by city staff because it limits the sizes of buildings to 2,000 square feet for retail use, whereas NS-General allows up to 8,000 square feet. The height restriction of three stories is the same for both zones.

Residents who are against the rezoning have cited the usual concerns about safety, increased traffic, and general incompatibility.

Council member Tennant on Feb. 20 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.

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:

Council Comments:
Tonight (March 6) council member Tennant said many neighbors fear a three-story building because they believe that’s too tall. Planning staff said it’s unlikely anyone would need to construct three stories for a 2,000-square-foot retail building (3,000 for office) on such a large piece of land.

Tennant said he feels for the property owner because nobody is ever going to develop the land as residential with its current access. He said he would love to be able to hold the item for a while until developers can discuss possibilities that could incorporate the land adjacent to the subject property. However, with that land not currently available, he said it’s unclear whether that could ever be an option. However, Tennant said that’s not necessarily fair to the property owner who’s been stuck with unsellable land for almost a dozen years, so he’s torn on what to do.

Council member Petty said he’s prepared to support the rezoning tonight. Petty said even if this was a strictly commercial project, he believes there’s already a good enough buffer between the land and the neighbors. As for height, he said all the surrounding property zones already allow three stories, so this wouldn’t change how tall a building can be constructed in the area. Petty said traffic is “horrendous” at rush hour and it’s only going to get worse with the growth of the city, but said this property won’t make enough of a difference for him to vote against the request.

Council member La Tour said the market is demanding variety in residential types, and this zoning allows just that. He’ll be voting in favor of the request.

Council member Marsh said Crossover Road is a major regional roadway and is a good place for a mixed-use building. As for traffic, Marsh said this development would only be accessed from Crossover, and therefore won’t have an affect on traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods. She said streets that have more entrances tend to have slower traffic, and maybe this development could help slow things down a bit. She’s in favor of the request.

Council member Gray said a recent tour of the area showed her just how congested the traffic is in the area. She said she sympathizes with the neighbors who are concerned about safety. However, she said she also sympathizes with property owners who have a right to sell their property, especially this particular person who’s been working to rezone the land to make it sellable for over 11 years. She said she’d like to table the request and explore some options that could address both sides of her concerns.

Council member Bunch said she’s familiar with the area and said traffic is definitely an issue, but agreed with Petty who said it will always be an issue. She said whether it’s rezoned or not, the size and access of the property pose significant limitations. Bunch said as much as she feels for the neighbors, she also feels for the property owner. She said the thinks the request is an appropriate zoning for the area. She’s ready to vote tonight, but would agree to table it if that’s what the council wants.

Council member Kinion said the proposed zoning is a compromise, and in a compromise, nobody is completely satisfied. What’s ideal for the property owner has proven to be impossible, and what the neighbors want isn’t necessarily fair. He said Neighborhood Services-Limited is a good compromise which is why he’s in favor of the request.

Council member Gray moved to table the request for two weeks. Tennant seconded the motion. The motion passed (Kinion, Tennant, Bunch, Gray voted yes and Mayor Jordan broke the tie in favor).

New Business

1. VAC 18-6075 (East of Dead Horse Mountain Road/Meadows at Stonebridge) (Details): An ordinance to approve VAC 18-6075 for property located east of 2000 block, Dead Horse Mountain Road to vacate a portion of a utility easement.
Pass 8-0

Notes: City staff and the Planning Commission both recommend approval with the following condition of approval:

  1. Any relocation of or damage to existing utilities or existing facilities shall be at the owner/developer’s expense; and
  2. An easement shall be re-dedicated over the existing 8-inch sanitary sewer main to the satisfaction of the City of Fayetteville’s Water and Sewer Department.

There was no public comment on the issue tonight. The item was passed unanimously.

2. RZN 18-6062 (south of 2901 Mount Comfort Road/Bauer-Henbest) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 18-6062 for approximately 16.76 acres located south of 2901 Mount Comfort Road from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to NC, Neighborhood Conservation for about 7.47 acres, to RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban for about 1.96 acres, and to R-A, Residential Agricultural for about 7.32 acres.
Pass 8-0

Notes: The property is located south and southeast of the intersection of Mount Comfort Road and Woodlark Lane. It is mostly undeveloped, except for one existing accessory structure. The southern portion of the site is encompassed with the riparian corridor and floodplain of an unnamed tributary to Hamestring Creek.

Both city staff the Planning Commission are in favor of the request.

Here’s a map:

A resident who spoke tonight said the nearby schools are at or near capacity, and more residential units in this area would only compound the issue. He said he’s been told that only about 150 kindergarten students will be admitted to Holcomb Elementary next year and the rest will need to attend Owl Creek School (Owl Creek is 3 miles south of Holcomb and about 2.5 miles south of the subject property).

The item was passed unanimously.

3. RZN 17-6052 (East of Rolling Hills Drive/Keenan) (Details): An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 17-6052 for approximately 22.59 acres located east of Rolling Hills Drive and Old Missouri Road from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to NC, Neighborhood Conservation.

Notes: This item should be removed from the agenda because it was discovered that the property owners’ application wasn’t fully completed. City staff said it was an error that should’ve been caught before the item was heard by the Planning Commission. City Attorney Kit Williams said the item should be pulled and sent back to the Planning Commission once the application is fully intact. The absent section was supposed to explain why the proposed rezoning would not conflict with the surrounding uses. Click here to read William’s memo of recommendation.

The item was indeed removed from the agenda. It will be heard at the next Planning Commission meeting on March 12 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall room 219. The earliest it could return to the City Council is April 3.

4. Automated Merchant Systems, Inc. (Details): An ordinance to waive the requirements of formal competitive bidding and approve a contract with Automated Merchant Systems, Inc. for credit card processing services.
Pass 8-0

Notes: According to city documents, Fayetteville currently utilizes multiple credit card processing vendors, but would like to move to a single vendor to streamline reconciliation, standardize fees, and improve staff efficiency.

There was no public comment on the issue tonight. The item was passed unanimously.

5. Amend Chapter 98 & Chapter 50 (Details): An ordinance to amend § 98.02 Duty of Property Owner and Occupant to Keep Sidewalks Free From Obstructions, §98.04 Growing Trees and Other Vegetation Near Intersections; Right-of-way to be Kept Free From Grass and Weeds, § 98.08 Spilling or Tracking Debris onto Public Streets and § 50.01 Definitions of the Fayetteville Code, and to enact §98.09 Abatement by City; Costs Responsibility of Owner.
Pass 8-0

Notes: This item came up after complaints about sidewalks being obstructed by vegetation and trash or recycling carts.

The proposed language requires property owners to keep a minimum clear space of 8 feet above the sidewalk and 2 feet back from the edge of the sidewalk. It also gives city staff the ability to charge property owners for the costs incurred to clear vegetation or obstructions from the sidewalk if they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves.

Staff said the intent is to first educate people and to only use the financial recourse as a last resort. Documents indicate staff have been working on pamphlets that will be given to people if they see an obstruction issue.

Here’s an example of a pamphlet used in Austin, Texas:

Council member Petty asked about homes that have parallel parking in front of the sidewalks. He wanted to know if it was OK to put a trash bin in the gutter to ensure the trash truck could empty his bin. Staff said as long as bins don’t impede the flow of traffic on the sidewalks, it’s fine.

There was no public comment on the issue tonight. The item was passed unanimously.

6. Enact § 97.083 Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products (Details): An ordinance to enact § 97.083 Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products into Chapter 97: Parks and Recreation to Prohibit Smoking and Tobacco use in all city parks and trails.
Pass 8-0

Notes: This proposal would prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco products in all public parks and on the city’s trail system (see our story).

The idea is sponsored by the Northwest Arkansas Tobacco and Drug-Free Coalition and was approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The ban would include cigarettes, lighted pipes, cigars, vapor devices, e-cigs, and all forms of smokeless tobacco. Cessation products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, inhalers, nasal sprays) would not be included in the ban. If approved, signs would be posted in parks and on trails to notify the public of the new law. Violators would be subject to a $50 fine.

A 2004 law already prohibits smoking inside Fayetteville’s restaurants, stores and other places of employment. Only bars and retail tobacco stores are exempt from the current ordinance.

Parks staff said the following Arkansas municipalities currently prohibit smoking in parks: Arkadelphia, Ash Flat, Atkins, Batesville, Bentonville, Berryville, Blytheville, Conway, Dover, Elm Springs, Fort Smith, Gosnell, Harrison, Helena-West Helena, Little Rock, Magnolia, Mena, Perryville, Phillips County, Pottsville, Prairie Grove, Russellville, Sebastian County, White Hall, Yellville.

Staff said the following out-of-state cities also ban smoking in public parks: Athens, Georgia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Gainsville, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; Ft. Collins, Colorado; Lawrence, Kansas.

In all, parks staff said in their research they found 1,531 U.S. cities with smoke-free parks.

There was no public comment on the issue tonight. The item was passed unanimously.

7. Downtown/Entertainment District Parking and Mobility Plan (Details): A resolution to approve and authorize Mayor Jordan to proceed with phase one of the implementation schedule for the Downtown/Entertainment District Parking and Mobility Plan developed by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, Inc.
Pass 8-0


From the consultants:

  • In general, Fayetteville has a lot of parking. On an average weekday, parking is almost never more than about 50% utilized. Evening utilization can be busier, and on weekends, the evening core is functionally full.
  • Residents think the system is confusing.

Master plan strategies include:

  1. Treat parking as a customer service – Have a first-ticket-free policy
  2. Streamline signage – Make it easier to understand where to park
  3. Make multimodal improvements – Crossings, lights, sidewalks, etc.
  4. Increase publicly accessible parking supply – Pursue lease agreements, add on-street parking in high-demand areas, establish a threshold that triggers a shared garage
  5. Implement more current parking technologies – Meters, pay stations, etc.
  6. Improve event parking – charge higher fees for WAC lot, create pay-by-foot system, use front spaces for valet
  7. Prepare for future development – create fee in lieu program for developers, update regulation of shared parking, incorporation transportation demand program
  8. Demand-responsive pricing – Higher fees in high-demand areas, lower fees in lots further from Dickson Street, etc.
  9. Streamline permit system – consistent pricing
  10. Create residential parking benefit districts – allow visitor parking during the weekday and reinvest the money into the neighborhoods

Tonight’s proposal is to implement Phase 1 of the new Parking Master Plan that includes a total of three phases.

Below is the Phase 1 schedule (see the full schedule here):

Council member Tennant said the biggest complaint he receives is from people who’ve parked in private parking lots where the fees are different, very confusing, and where cars are frequently booted (the city doesn’t tow or use boots).

Staff said one recommendation is to pursue shared parking agreements with those lot owners. Another option is signage improvements to help educate drivers when they enter into a non-city-owned lot.

8. Sale of City of Fayetteville Property about 0.04 acres (Details): A resolution to authorize Mayor Jordan to sell about 0.04 acres of city property south of George’s Majestic Lounge and west of the railroad tracks to the highest or best bidder.
Tabled indefinitely

Notes: Here’s a map:

City staff recommend waiting a bit longer to make sure the city doesn’t need the land before selling it. Council member Tennant said he brought the item forward at the request of the owner of George’s Majestic Lounge because he assumed the city didn’t need it and that only George’s would be interested. As it turns out, the owners of Underwood’s Fine Jewelry also would like the land. Tennant said he would be fine waiting to sell the land knowing that there’s a chance the land is needed.

The council voted unanimously to table the item indefinitely.

9. Sale of City of Fayetteville Property about .1 acres (Details): A resolution to sell about 0.1 acres of land at the northwest corner of South Razorback Road and Sligo Street to John Christopher Looney and Myriah Dawn Johnson for $5,000.00.
Pass 8-0

Notes: Here’s a map:

10. Amend § 74.01 (Details): An ordinance to amend § 74.01 Application of Regulations to add a Definition of Roadway.
Left on the first reading

Notes: Police Chief Greg Tabor said his department has received many complaints (over 40 in 2017) about people standing on medians at busy intersections. He said it’s a safety issue for both the person standing on the median and drivers who might be distracted. The current law already prohibits people from standing in a roadway, but the ordinance isn’t clear about medians.

This new definition of “roadway” clarifies that it’s the area between the furthest curbs or edges of a road and also includes any medians between lanes of travel.

Council member Sarah Marsh said she’s heard from constituents who believe this ordinance is targeting panhandlers. She said until she can see some data that suggests people standing in medians is unsafe, she won’t support the measure.

Police chief Greg Tabor said panhandlers are free to stand on the sidewalks, and that no citations have been issued for that activity.

Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff, said while panhandlers could certainly be affected by the ordinance, there is no intention to criminalize panhandling. He said there are safe places to panhandle – including sidewalks or the side of any road – but a median is not one of them.

Council member Tennant said he personally witnessed a person in the median at Joyce Boulevard and College Avenue who was selling bottled water and dropped his ice chest into the roadway and was almost hit by a vehicle when he walked into the road to retrieve it. He said two other cars swerved around the ice chest and nearly collided. He said he would be supporting the ordinance.

Council member Kinion said he knows the ordinance is not about targeting panhandling, but he’s concerned because a lot of people believe it is. He asked City Attorney Kit Williams if there was a way to include some language in the ordinance that specifies the measure is not about panhandling.

Williams said it wouldn’t make sense in this ordinance because the measure only defines what a “roadway” is. He said the intent of the change should be easily understood.

“There are plenty of places in this city where people can safely panhandle,” said Williams. “We don’t want people taking safety chances by getting into medians and endangering themselves or others. We don’t have to wait for someone to be killed before we pass this.”

Council member Smith also said he believes the intent is sincere, but he, too, is worried about perception.

Chief Tabor said his department utilizes discretion every day, and that he hopes his officers would take the same initiative to warn a person about this law before issuing a citation. He said the department’s system is very efficient in noting which citizens have been issued warnings and that information could be used by an officer who’s deciding whether to issue a citation or to simply ask the person to move out of the median and over to the side of the road.

Residents who spoke tonight said ordinances targeting panhandling in other cities have been shown to be ineffective and sometimes lead to multiple unpaid citations and later to arrests, which is something that’s unfair to someone who’s simply asking for help.

Williams said being a panhandler doesn’t give someone the right to break the law. This ordinance, he said, only clarifies the current law’s intention.

The council agreed to leave the ordinance on the first reading.


This meeting was adjourned at 9:42 p.m.