Fayetteville reconsiders trail noise, names baseball complex, holds on westside annexation

File photo

This is a brief summary of action taken at the Fayetteville City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. For the entire agenda, including detailed info packets and all of our notes on each item of business, see our City Council recap post.

Noise ordinance

City Council members will reconsider a recently passed law that extends the city’s motor vehicle sound regulations to include people riding bicycles on the trail system. The law prohibits the use of sound amplification from within a vehicle that is plainly audible at a distance of 30 feet or more.

The measure was first mentioned during a discussion on whether the law should apply to vehicle-related businesses such as pedal carriages. Council Member Sarah Marsh suggested also including bikes on the trails. She said she’d noticed people using excessive amplified sound on their bikes on the trails recently, some who were playing extremely loud music and others who were using loud amplifiers to preach.

The ordinance passed on May 5, but was walked back on Tuesday at the request of Council Member Sonia Gutierrez, who said she’d like the law to include anyone using the trails, not just people riding bicycles. She also mentioned possibly adding people on sidewalks to the mix, but City Attorney Kit Williams said that idea gives him some pause since there are free speech considerations that need to be taken into account when regulating activities on public sidewalks. He said he needs time to research the possibilities before drafting a proposal. The discussion will continue on June 2.

Baseball complex

The council unanimously approved a resolution to name the baseball complex at Kessler Mountain Regional Park the Chambers Baseball Complex at the request of the mayor and city attorney. The bank in 2010 donated over 200 acres to the city to build the park and an additional 47 acres in 2014. The bank sold 328 acres to the city at a “fair and reasonable” price. City Attorney Kit Williams said the value of the bank’s gift was almost $10 million.

The item was held on May 5 at the request of Council Member Matthew Petty who said he wished the city had a comprehensive fundraising strategy the council could reference when considering naming rights for parks and amenities. He said he’s appreciative of the gift the city received from the bank, and he ultimately voted in favor of the proposal, but told the council he’s working with the city attorney’s office to put together a request for proposals (RFP) the city can use to possibly hire a consultant to help draft a fundraising strategy for future naming rights.

Annexation on hold

The council began a discussion about a possible annexation of 152 acres north of Mount Comfort Road near Hughmount Road after several members, city staff, and even the applicant said they’d like more time to look into the proposal. A related rezoning request for much of the land was also held on Tuesday.

The applicant said the city inadvertently installed sewer lines across the property in 2008 without the owner’s knowledge and without any sort of easement in place. The city then agreed to supply water and sewer service to the property as long as the owners agreed to annex the land into Fayetteville “as soon as legally possible,” according to a letter from the applicant’s attorney.

City staff said the property wasn’t annexed because it would’ve led to a peninsula with unincorporated land on three sides, which violates Fayetteville’s rules on annexation. Staff said they’re comfortable recommending that a portion of the land be annexed, but not the northern section. The Planning Commission denied the request earlier this year.

Two residents of the Hughmount Village subdivision said they’d like to have their neighborhood be a part of the city, but said the area’s infrastructure won’t handle an increase in density if the property is developed as proposed.

Some council members said they’d like more time to look over the original agreements before making a decision. Others said they’d like more details on what type of infrastructure would be required and what the maintenance costs would be if the property is annexed. Staff said they are compiling and calculating those costs and will share them with the council next month.

Street name change

The council approved a proposal to rename North Smith Avenue to North Game Day View after a developer requested the change. The street is located across from Razorback Stadium. It is approximately 350 feet in length and services three single-family homes all owned by the same developer. As part of the application request, the developer said the name North Game Day View “would invoke a character and show a coherent relationship to the stadium” and agreed to pay for new signage if the new name was approved. The change was reviewed by the city’s street naming committee and unanimously approved. The proposal was part of the council’s Consent Agenda on May 19 and was approved along with 10 other consent items.

Other business

In other business, the council approved rezoning requests for 0.27 acres between Mount Comfort Road and Hendrix Street, as well as 1.81 acres on East Huntsville Road, and 8.6 acres on Rupple Road where a 40,000-square-foot church is planned.

The council left on the first reading a rezoning request for about 12 acres on Genevieve Avenue.

» See the full agenda and all action taken on Tuesday, May 19