Fayetteville City Council recap: June 20, 2023

(File photo)

Action taken

Approved

  • Honoring the life and legacy of Hank Kaminsky.
  • A plan to accept proposals to address the housing of homeless residents.
  • Changes to the landlord registry to include whether voucher assistance is accepted.
  • Rezoning 2.23 acres on North Gregg Avenue.

Tabled or held

  • Razing and removing a dilapidated structure on Wyman Road
  • Encouraging offering free mental health certification for city employees.
  • Rezoning nearly 113 acres off Dead Horse Mountain Road.

» Download the agenda (PDF)

Meeting info

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, 2023 inside City Hall in Room 219. The meeting will not be available on Zoom, and will not be broadcast live on the city’s YouTube channel, due to the recent cybersecurity incident.

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


Roll call

Present: Sonia Harvey, D’Andre Jones, Sarah Moore, Mike Wiederkehr, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Scott Berna, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk, Holly Hertzberg
Absent: None

» View current attendance records


Consent

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. Garver, LLC – Task Order No. 05 (Grant Application) (Details): A resolution to authorize an application for a Federal Aviation Administration grant in the amount of $475,738.00 to fund 90% of the costs for the design and construction of the Wildlife Fence Rehabilitation Project at Drake Field Airport, to approve Amendment No. 1 to Task Order No. 5 with Garver, LLC in the amount of $15,000.00 to provide environmental coordination services associated with the project, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

2. Garver, LLC – Task Order No. 06 (Grant Acceptance) (Details): A resolution to authorize the acceptance of a Federal Aviation Administration grant in the amount of $374,729.00 to fund 90% of the project costs for a proposed Airport Master Plan update at Drake Field Airport, to approve Task Order No. 6 in the amount of $413,366.00 with Garver, LLC for planning services, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0


Unfinished Business

1. Raze and Removal of Structure at 2860 E. Wyman Rd. (Details)

A resolution to order the razing and removal of a dilapidated and unsafe structure on property owned by Leroy H. Scharfenberg located at 2860 E. Wyman Road in the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $17,800.00.
Tabled 7-0 until 10/17/23

Background:
Staff said this item was brought to the attention of the city through an anonymous complaint. A staff memo states that upon inspection, it was discovered the property includes a structure that is on the verge of collapse, with a non-functioning roof, collapsing walls and a crumbling foundation.

Staff said the owner mentioned bringing the home back into compliance in October 2021, and was given time to address the issues. The owner applied for a building permit for the work in December 2021, but never paid the fee for the permit, so on May 31, 2022 the permit was voided. Recent inspections show that no repair attempts have been made, according to city documents.

» See photos in the agenda packet

Location:

July 5 Discussion:
The homeowner’s daughter spoke and said they have a plan to get her father out of the house and replace the house with a prefabricated home. They said they need at least until the end of the summer before they can get the plan together.

Scroggin said he’s OK with allowing some more time, but not too much more since the home seems to be on the verge of collapse.

City Attorney Kit Williams said he is concerned about any lengthy delays on this decision because the building safety department has determined that the house is very near collapsing.

The council agreed to allow another 30 days before a decision, and voted 8-0 to table until Aug. 2.

Aug. 2 Discussion:
The homeowner’s daughter said more time is needed to get the home into compliance. They said significant progress has been made on the property, and their father has moved out so there is no longer any danger to him. They asked the council for 60 more days for her family to work on the property, which could include razing the home themselves.

Councilmember Scroggin said he hopes the council will agree to give the family more time.

Councilmember Bunch said she’s concerned for the safety of the family if they’re demolishing a home with the utilities still turned on. The homeowner’s daughter said the utilities are set to be disconnected tomorrow.

The council agreed to table the item until the Oct. 4 meeting.

Oct. 4 Discussion:
City staff said a demo permit was issued for the property. Some of the work was completed, but much of the structure still stands.

Here are some photos taken this morning (10/04/22):


The owner’s daughter said they’re done all the work with the most basic tools, and they plan to continue working until the home is razed. They asked for another 120 days to complete the demolition.

One person spoke in favor of allowing another 120 days for demolition.

Scroggin said he’s worried about what would happen if the home fell while someone was inside working on it without proper heavy equipment, but it seems like a risk the family is willing to take. He asked if the city would be liable for any injuries sustained on the property. City Attorney Kit Williams said there wouldn’t be much liability, if any. Scroggin said he’d be in favor of allowing more time. Bunch agreed.

Wiederkehr said the lien put on a property that’s razed is not collected immediately, but is usually only sought when the property is sold. He said he just wants the family to understand that if the project becomes too much to handle, they don’t have to worry about paying back a lien to the city for a while.

The owner’s daughter said the reason they’d like to avoid a lien is because they hope to take out a loan on the property, and that is another trigger for paying back a lien.

Turk asked for a staff update after 60 days.

The council tabled the resolution for 120 days. The discussion will continue on Feb. 7, 2023.

Feb. 7 Discussion:
The owner’s daughter said they need another four months to complete the work because removing the roof has proved to be a larger job than anticipated.

Two people spoke during public comment and said they hope the council will grant the applicant more time.

Turk and Bunch said they are willing to give the applicant another four months, but this might be the last time they can support an extension.

Berna said if the applicant would contact him, he will personally provide some equipment that could help speed up the process.

The council voted 8-0 to table the item until June 20.

June 20 Discussion:
City staff said all three structures have been razed and are in the process of being removed. The property needs to be brought back to a buildable state before the issue can be marked as resolved.

The property owner’s daughter thanked several council members for helping the family through the process, including some who personally paid for dumpsters. She said there’s some small debris that needs to be removed, along with the concrete foundation. She estimated that another six weeks is needed to complete the job.

Councilmember Berna said he’d like to table for four months because he plans to use his grounds crew to take care of the remaining work, and they will be busy mowing lawns for the remainder of the summer.

The council voted 8-0 to table the item until Oct. 17.


New Business

1. Honoring the Life and Legacy of Hank Kaminsky (Details)

A resolution to honor the life and legacy of Hank Kaminsky.
Pass 8-0

Background:
This resolution was brought forward by Councilmember Sonia Harvey to honor the late Hank Kaminksy, a longtime local artist who died in March. Kaminsky’s 60-year career included art ranging from sand-cast jewelry, portrait busts and large-scale sculptures using clay, bronze and other metals. At least two of Kaminsky’s works found homes on city property, including the World Peace Prayer Fountain on the Town Center Plaza and a memorial bust of Senator J. William Fulbright on the downtown square.

Discussion:
Hank Kaminsky’s wife JoAnn and son Jesse stood with Councilmember Harvey while she read aloud the text of the proposed resolution which recognizes and honors the significant contributions of Hank to the Fayetteville community over the course of his life.

(Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

Decision:
The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution.


2. Innovative Concepts for Housing Solutions (ARPA) (Details)

A resolution to express the City Council’s support for RFP 23-12, Innovative Concepts for Housing Solutions and Case Management.
Pass 8-0

Background:
This resolution would express support for the development of an RFP process to solicit proposals to address the housing of homeless residents using the remaining $1.63 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds. If the council approves this proposal, applicants would then be able to submit proposals to implement projects that would address housing solutions and case management for the homeless population.

» Here is the RFP being considered

Discussion:
Paul Becker, the city’s finance director, read sections of the proposed RFP. It states that proposals shall be received by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 or just shy of one month from today. Turk said she’d prefer the deadline be at least one month and staff said they could extend it. A non-mandatory pre-proposal conference will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday July 6 in Room 111 of City Hall.

Decision:
The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution.


3. Mental Health First Aid Certification (Details)

A resolution to encourage the City of Fayetteville to partner with Arkansas Rural Health Partners and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arkansas to offer free mental health certification for Mental Health First Aid to all city employees.
Tabled 8-0 until July 18

Background:
Councilmember D’Andre Jones is sponsoring this resolution to encourage the city to partner with Arkansas Rural Health Partners and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for free mental health first aid training for city employees.

Discussion:
Councilmember Jones said he’d like to table the resolution for one month to allow time for a representative from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to come and speak to the council.

Turk asked about the cost, and Jones said the services would be free to the city due to a grant that the partners received.

The council voted 8-0 to table the item until July 18.


4. Amend §120.02 Landlord’s Representative Registry (Details)

An ordinance to amend §120.02 Landlord’s Representative Registry of the Fayetteville Code by modifying (D) to include whether the landlord would accept voucher-based assistance for their properties.
Pass 8-0

Background:
Councilmember D’Andre Jones is sponsoring this resolution that would add a section to the city’s landlord registry that would include whether a landlord accepts voucher-based assistance for a particular property. The resolution states that with the high demand for rental housing, some landlords are no longer accepting such vouchers which creates a need for prospective tenants with vouchers to located landlords who will accept them.

Discussion:
Turk, who was the sponsor of the original landlord registry ordinance, said she likes the intent of the proposal, but she thinks it’s missing an educational component that is needed so that landlords fully understand what is being asked of them.

Jones suggested an amendment that the city work with the Housing Authority to provide explanatory language about HUD requirements so landlords understand the requirement.

Moore suggested passing the ordinance tonight and working on a future amendment that includes an educational component.

Berna said he’s in support of the intent of the proposal, but with a few questions looming, he suggested the council wait until all the amendment details are firmed up before passing the resolution. Turk agreed, and asked if Jones would mind tabling the ordinance until the next meeting on July 6.

Jones said he’d like to move forward tonight, and asked if the city attorney’s office could come up with some simple language to address the concerns presented tonight.

Blake Pennington, senior assistant city attorney, drafted language stating that the city work with the Housing Authority on the requested language. Jones said he liked the language, and Harvey moved that it be added. Turk seconded, and the council voted 8-0 to amend the ordinance to include that language.

Five people spoke in favor of the ordinance. Most discussed the diminishing supply of affordable rental properties across the region.

Turk said she’ll reluctantly support the proposal because while she believes in its intent, she doesn’t believe it’s been thought out enough to have the desired effect.

Berna agreed.

“I’ll go ahead and support it,” said Berna. “But I don’t think holding it for two weeks was too much to ask to get it right the first time.”

Wiederkehr said it’s important to note that accepting vouchers is entirely voluntary because landlords are not required to accept them, which means this ordinance, while good in theory, will not actually create any additional voucher-accepted properties.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 8-0 to approve it.


5. Rezoning-2023-0013 (1275 N. Gregg Ave./Pathway Baptist Church, 405) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in Rezoning Petition RZN 23-003 located at 1275 North Gregg Avenue in Ward 2 for approximately 2.23 acres from RMF-24, Residential Multi-Family, 24 units per acre to RMF-40, Residential Multi-Family, 40 units per acre.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The subject property is located on the west side of Gregg Avenue, about 650 feet north of the street’s intersection with North Street. The property serves as the site of Central Baptist Church. A portion of the property was recently rezoned from RMF-24 to RMF-40 and this ordinance would rezone the remainder of the land to RMF-40.

Both city planners and the Planning Commission recommend approval of the rezoning request.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


6. Rezoning-2023-0014 – (SE of Dead Horse Mountain Road and Goff Farm Road/Riverwood Homes, 606, 607, 645, 646) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in Rezoning Petition RZN 2023-014 located southeast of Dead Horse Mountain Road and Goff Farm Road in Ward One for approximately 112.98 acres from R-A, Residential Agricultural and RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre subject to a Bill of Assurance to NC, Neighborhood Conservation; CS, Community Services; and R-A, Residential Agricultural.
Left on the first reading

Background:
The property is southeast of the intersection of Dead Horse Mountain Road and Goff Farm Road. It is currently minimally developed with low-density residential structures and also incorporates the Stonebridge Meadows Golf Club. The property is currently zoned R-A and RSF-4, and the RSF-4 section has a Bill of Assurance that limits the property to a density of 2.5 units per acre. The property has a long development history, though multiple plans have failed to come to fruition. It was previously part of the Villas at Stonebridge Planned Zoning District, which expired in 2015. Upon that expiration, staff recommended the property revert back to its original zoning of R-A. The property was eventually rezoned to its current RSF-4 designation with an associated Bill of Assurance limiting the density to 2.5 units per acre. In February 2018, a preliminary plat for Meadows at Stonebridge Subdivision was approved on a portion of this property, which was not built. After two additional failed rezoning attempts in 2021 – one was a Planned Zoning District that was denied by City Council in March, and the other a request to remove the Bill of Assurance which was denied by the City Council in December – another preliminary plat received approval on 51.32 acres of the site from the Planning Commission in July 2022.

The city planning staff recommends denial of the request, and said the proposed development is partially incompatible with surrounding land uses, the existing infrastructure cannot support the potential density without significant investment, the proposal contradicts City Plan 2040 and adopted land use policies, and the lack of detailed development plans for the large site raises concerns.

The Planning Commission in May voted 5-4 to recommend approval. Commissioners was opposed the request found that the proposal was not in line with the goals outlined in City Plan 2040, or with the Growth Concept map. Commissioners in favor stated that the traffic and infrastructure concerns could be addressed at the time of development.

Location:

Discussion:
In a letter to the council passed out before tonight’s meeting, attorney Robert Rhoads said the requested rezoning will allow the golf course to build a new clubhouse with a pool on what is the region’s only public 18-hole champion course. The balance of the property is to have a variety of uses such as a coffee shop/cafe, small mercantile, and some cottages, townhomes or condos.

Rhoads said the applicant is prepared to present a Bill of Assurance limiting the density on the NC property to 350 homes (without the Bill of Assurance, he said the new zoning district would allow for 800 homes). He said 100 of the homes will be for the age 55+ demographic, which could reduce the traffic impact.

Mark Marquess, CEO of Riverwood Homes, said about 100 of the remaining homes are designated as affordable cottages between 1,300-1,700 square feet starting at around $275,000, with about 100 more set as traditional manor-style homes at 1,800-2,100 square feet starting at $350,000, and about 40 lots available for estate homes at around 2,400 square feet.

Rhoads said if the property were left as is and developed with only 134 homes, the current economics would dictate that the homes all be priced starting at $500,000, which is far less affordable than his client’s proposed plan.

The applicant is also prepared to offer another Bill of Assurance that no apartment buildings or gas stations could be built on the CS property and that some of the land will be earmarked for retail, such as sidewalk cafes, offices, and coffee shops with no more than 50 residential lots.

Rhoads asked that the ordinance be left on the first reading to allow his clients some time to draft both of the Bill of Assurance documents.

Five people spoke against the request during public comment. They all said they were concerned about the added traffic that more homes could bring to the area, and said there isn’t adequate drainage infrastructure to handle more density. Some said their properties currently flood during heavy rainfall and they’re worried those issues will only compound with hundreds more houses nearby.

One person said while he thinks the project is sprawl, the city needs more housing and it might be time to make some concessions in order to address that problem.

The council agreed to leave the item on the first reading. The discussion will continue on July 6.


Meeting duration

This meeting lasted 2 hours and 23 minutes, and was adjourned at 7:53 p.m.