LIVE UPDATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: July 20, 2021

Fayetteville Government Channel

On the agenda…

  • Approving signing bonuses for new law enforcement officers.
  • Requiring a second public notification if a denied rezoning is appealed to the City Council.
  • Approving a reduction in right-of-way dedication for a new public parking deck.
  • Approving a design contract for improvements at Millsap Road and College Avenue.
  • Purchasing 0.3 acres to increase the size of the Yvonne Richardson Community Center property.

» Download the full agenda

Meeting Info

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, 2021. It is lived streamed on the city’s YouTube channel, and held at City Hall in Room 219, or virtually on the Zoom app.

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

Roll Call

Present: Sonia Gutierrez, D’Andre Jones, Mark Kinion, Matthew Petty, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Sloan Scroggin, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk, Holly Hertzberg
Absent: None

» View current attendance records

City Council Meeting Presentations, Reports and Discussion Items

1. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Notes: Staff said the report has been fully audited and is now available on the city’s website.


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

1. Approval of the July 6, 2021 City Council Meeting minutes
Pass 8-0

2. Olsson Associates, Inc. Amendment No. 2 – 2019 Transportation Bond Project (Details): A resolution to approve Amendment No. 2 to the professional engineering services agreement with Olsson, Inc. in the amount of $115,164.00 for the design of the Midtown Corridor Project, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Transportation Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

3. Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. – 2019 Street Improvement Bond Project (Details): A resolution to authorize a professional engineering services agreement with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc., pursuant to RFQ #21-01 Selection #11, for the design of the Millsap Road and College Avenue project in the amount of $300,000.00, to authorize the mayor to acquire the necessary easements and right-of-way for the project, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Street Improvement Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

4. YRCC Land Purchase (Details): A resolution to approve a land sale agreement between the City of Fayetteville and the heirs of Bobby York for the city to purchase about 0.3 acres of land located on Mountain Street near the Yvonne Richardson Community Center for the amount of $75,000.00 plus closing costs, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

Unfinished Business

1. Appeal RZN 2020-028 (east of W. Michael Cole Dr. & W. Wedington Dr./Kidder) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-028 for approximately 5.1 acres located on West Wedington Drive east of Michael Cole Drive from R-A, Residential Agricultural to RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban and NS-L, Neighborhood Services-Limited.
Pass 6-2

This item was left on the second reading at the July 6 meeting.

The property is undeveloped. The applicant has not submitted any formal development plans, but has indicated an intent to develop townhomes.

The applicant previously submitted a request to rezone the property to RMF-18, but that request was denied by the Planning Commission. The decision was appealed to the City Council, and the request was revised to ask for Residential Intermediate-Urban for most of the property and Neighborhood Services-Limited for the remainder of the land. Council members tabled the item and sent it back to the Planning Commission to get a recommendation on the revised request. The Planning Commission voted 5-4 to deny the revised request. Staff said commissioners opposed suggested that the density of the request was still too high for the area compared to the previous request and were concerned that the proposal still represented sprawl. Commissioners in support appreciated the form-based nature of the zoning districts, and were encouraged that the use of RI-U would require buildings to be placed along the street.

City planners recommend approval of the request, but as mentioned above, the Planning Commission voted 5-4 to deny a recommendation.


June 15 Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Scroggin asked what the difference is between RMF-18 – which was originally requested – and the revised request. Staff said one difference is the allowable size of the buildings. RMF-18 allows 5-story buildings, whereas RI-U can only build two stories near the street, and if more are desired they must be set back from the road.

The council agreed to leave the item on the first reading. The council’s discussion will continue on July 6, however, the Ward 4 meeting on June 28 will also include a discussion about this item.

July 6 Discussion:
Robert Rhoads, who represents the applicant said since some council members have said they’re frustrated with developers who request zoning districts that allow commercial areas, but only build residential units, the applicant is preparing a Bill of Assurance to ensure that the commercial areas of the NS-L property in question will include commercial uses. He asked that the item be left on the second reading tonight to allow time to prepare and submit that document.

One person spoke in favor of the request.

Hertzberg said she won’t support the request after hearing from multiple residents who are against it.

The council agreed to leave the item on the second reading. The discussion will continue on July 20.

July 20 Discussion:
Staff said the Bill of Assurance has been received. The council voted 8-0 to amend the item to include language ensuring the ordinance would be subject to the Bill of Assurance.

Rhoads said the applicant has listened and reacted to all of the neighbors’ concerns through this process, and he hopes the council will approve the ordinance.

There was no public comment.

Scroggin said in the past, the city has allowed mixed uses in some of the newer form-based zones, but it has never required it. He said the only way to ensure mixed use happens would be to codify it as a requirement. He said with the Bill of Assurance in hand for this ordinance, mixed use is essentially codified, so he will support it.

Kinion agreed and said he will support the ordinance.

Turk said she appreciates the Bill of Assurance, but she recently drove around the area and said the current request would allow too much density, so she won’t support it.

Hertzberg moved to table the ordinance. Turk seconded. The motion to table failed 3-5 with only Turk, Hertzberg and Kinion voting in favor. Kinion said he supported the Ward 4 members’ desire to table, but since it failed, he will support the rezoning in the final vote.

The council voted 6-2 to approve the rezoning. Hertzberg and Turk voted against.

New Business

1. Sign-on Awards Package for New Law Enforcement Officers (Details)

A resolution to approve a hiring incentive program for new law enforcement officers, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

In an effort to entice more people to apply and join the Fayetteville Police Department, the police chief would like to offer sign-on bonuses for new officers.

The department had a 25% decrease in police officer applicants in 2020 compared with the previous five-year average, and this year, applicants are down 63%, according to staff documents.

There are currently no other departments in Northwest Arkansas offering sign-on awards, but the Jacksonville Police Department and the Little Rock Police Department are currently using them as a recruitment tool.

The proposal is to offer $10,000 in awards to certified officers who have previous experience, and to offer non-certified officers $5,000.

The awards would be paid in three installments.

Certified officers would receive $2,000 after being hired, then $4,000 after finishing a field training program, and then another $4,000 after completing an 18-month probationary period.

Non-certified officers would receive $1,000 after graduating from the state’s law enforcement training academy, then $2,000 after finishing a field training program, and then another $2,000 after completing an 18-month probationary period.

Finally, the new officers must commit to remain with the department for at least three years to receive the awards.

The program won’t add any full-time positions, but rather would only be used to fill open positions.

Funding would come from unreserved general fund balance for fiscal year 2021. Future funding would be addressed with the city’s annual budgeting process.

During public comment, four people spoke in favor of the resolution.

One person said he owns several local businesses and it’s hard enough right now to hire employees for himself. He said he can’t imagine how difficult it must be to hire law enforcement officers at this time.

Resident Sarah Moore said the council should take a step back and look at the problems which cause crime, such as food insecurity and the unavailability of affordable housing. She said the proposed funds could be used to help with those issues instead of hiring more police to respond and react to crimes.

During council discussion, Hertzberg said she appreciates Moore’s concerns and would like to be a part of a discussion on how to handle some of those issues, but she will be supporting the proposal tonight.

Scroggin said he’ll support the proposal. He said he plans to soon bring forward a proposal for another trail patrol officer since he’s heard from residents who say they won’t use the trail system unless there’s more police presence.

Kinion said the emotional trauma that Fayetteville’s officers have experienced is completely understandable given officer Carr’s point blank murder two years ago. He said aside from this program, he’s hopeful the new police headquarters that’s being built will also help with recruitment and retention.

Jones said Fayetteville’s officers have done a fine job at outreach to marginalized communities, and he believes the city’s police department is one of the most respected programs in the region. While there are several issues at play, Jones said if crime is increasing, this is clearly a safety issue that needs to be directly addressed.

Petty said it’s clear there’s a hiring challenge, and if the city is going to hire officers, it should place itself in a position to hire the best applicants possible.

Bunch said the Fayetteville department does a good job with what they have and what they’re asked to do. She said she would like to see a sobering center in Fayetteville some day. Chief Reynolds said while the new police headquarters doesn’t have a sobering center in the plans, it does include a booking center so people who commit misdemeanor crimes don’t necessarily have to be incarcerated.

Gutierrez said while everyone’s ideas tonight have been great, she said this proposal needs to move forward now. Turk agreed.

Mayor Jordan said with seven open positions and several more on the horizon, the city is in danger of losing an entire police beat. He said there are a lot of issues that can contribute to crime, but the staffing issue is something that needs to be addressed immediately.

“This goes beyond politics,” he said. “It’s about keeping people safe.”

2. Whiting Systems, Inc. (Details)

An ordinance to waive competitive bidding and approve the purchase of car wash chemicals from the supplier Whiting Systems, Inc. in various quantities through March 16, 2024.
Pass 8-0

This item is for car wash chemicals needed by the city’s fleet operations department.

There was no public comment.

The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.

3. Amend §157.03 Annexation and Zoning Map Amendments (Details)

An ordinance to amend §157.03 Annexation and Zoning Map Amendments to require public notification of Planning Commission denials of rezoning requests if appealed to the City Council.
Pass 8-0

This item was suggested by Council Member Sloan Scroggin.

Current law requires neighbors to be notified if a nearby property owner has applied for a rezoning request. Sometimes requests are denied, but then appealed to the City Council. This amendment would require a second notification to neighbors if an appeal was filed for a denied rezoning and the discussion is scheduled to continue at the City Council level.

There was no public comment.

The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.

4. Amend Chapter 173 Building Regulations (Details)

An ordinance to amend Chapter 173 Building Regulations of the Fayetteville Unified Development Code to align the city’s building regulations with building codes adopted by the State of Arkansas; to authorize prosecution of violations of § 173.08 Unsafe Buildings and Property Nuisances; and to adopt the International Property Maintenance Code.
Left on the first reading

Staff said many sections of the city’s building regulation laws are now over 20 years old and are in need of updating, general housekeeping, and a review for consistency. Two years ago the council approved a set of updates, including formalization of the temporary certificate of occupancy allowance, elimination of fire zones, and several text changes to align ordinance with codes adopted at the state level.

Staff said this proposed revision would align city ordinances with current building codes where possible, to eliminate unnecessary requirements that have little impact on the quality of the built environment within the city, and to improve the ability to enforce local building regulation laws.

One person spoke against the ordinance. He said adopting the International Property Maintenance Code, which regulates the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings, could lead to more tenants complaining about the properties they’re renting since it’s more strict than current law.

Scroggin asked if other cities are using the code, and staff said there are cities in Arkansas using it, including Fort Smith and Little Rock.

The council agreed to leave the item on the first reading. The discussion will continue on Aug. 3.

5. ADM-2021-052: (325 N. West Ave., City of Fayetteville Parking Deck) (Details)

A resolution pursuant to § 166.04(b)(3) of the Fayetteville Unified Development Code to approve the request to not dedicate additional right of way along West Avenue for the parking deck project.
Pass 8-0

This property will include the new parking deck that will replace the parking set to be removed as part of the cultural arts corridor project.

The applicant has requested a reduction in right-of-way dedication along the existing property’s West Avenue frontage from the typical master street plan requirements of 31.5 feet from street centerline to 20 feet from street centerline.

Staff said given the intention with the parking deck to develop a 15-foot sidewalk, bump-out furniture zone, and curb and gutter, the right-of-way request can be supported.

Both the Planning Commission and city planning staff recommend approval of the request.


There was no public comment.

The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.


This meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m.