Fayetteville City Council recap: July 6, 2023

(File photo)

Action taken


  • Calling a special election on Nov. 14 to replace the Ward 1 council member vacancy that was left when Sonia Harvey resigned.
  • Approving the Fayetteville Heritage and Historic Preservation Plan.
  • Approving a contract for improvements to the Lake Fayetteville softball complex.
  • Lowering the cap on the total number of short-term rentals allowed in the city.


  • 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. Thursday, July 6, 2023 inside City Hall in Room 219. The meeting is also available on Zoom and will be broadcast live on the city’s YouTube channel.

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: D’Andre Jones, Sarah Moore, Mike Wiederkehr, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Scott Berna, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk
Absent: Holly Hertzberg

» View current attendance records

City Council Meeting Presentations, Reports and Discussion Items

1. Monthly Financial Report

2. Nominating Committee Report (Details)
Pass 6-0

The committee recommends the following candidates:

Page Summers – Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)
Aaron Eng – Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)

Kathy Spigarelli – One Unexpired Member Involved in Housing Services Term Ending (12/31/26)

Ryan Hardin – One Unexpired Member-at-Large Term Ending (03/31/28)

Vicki Spencer – One Community Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)
Margaret Britain – One Science Discipline Term Ending (06/30/26)

Lakeisha Edwards – One Arts and Culture Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)
Abigail Hill – One Working Artist Term Ending (06/30/26)

Meredith Mahan – One Citizen at-Large Term Ending (06/30/26)

Vacant (no applicants) – One Unexpired Public-at-Large Term Ending (12/28/26)

Vacant (no applicants) – Two Unexpired Citizen-at-Large Term Ending (09/30/25)

Vacant (no applicants) – One Unexpired Tree Service Community Representative Term Ending (12/31/24)

Joel Freund – One Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)
Mark Kinion – One Citizen at Large Term Ending (06/30/26)


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 June 6, 2023, and June 20, 2023, City Council meeting minutes.
Pass 6-0

2. Evans Construction & Remodeling, LLC – Service Contract (Details): A resolution to authorize a contract with Evans Construction and Remodeling, LLC in the amount of $49,000.00 for labor and materials for the Police Department Substation foundations and slab located in the Replacement Parking Deck.
Pass 6-0

3. Safe Streets for All / Vision Zero Resolution – Action Plan (Details): A resolution to approve and adopt a Vision Zero policy in the City of Fayetteville.
Pass 6-0

4. FPD Donations for YCPA – Budget Adjustment (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $4,750.00, recognizing donation revenue to the Police Department in support of the Youth Citizen’s Police Academy.
Pass 6-0

Unfinished Business

1. 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 second reading

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.


June 20 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.

July 6 Discussion:
The applicant has submitted the Bills of Assurance that were discussed at the previous meeting:

The first applies to the portion requested to be rezoned NC which limits the property to 350 lots. The second would allow no multi-family dwellings, no gas service stations, and designates 5 acres be limited to commercial use.

During public comment, one person spoke in favor and two said they had softened their stance since the last meeting.

Jones said it’s a difficult decision, but he’s leaning toward voting in favor of the request. He said he’s talked to a lot of the neighbors and many of them seem to have shifted their position to be in favor of the proposal.

Moore said she is concerned about the existing infrastructure and whether the improvements required for development would fill the necessary gaps, but she also said the city needs more housing. Moore suggested the council reject the portion of the Bill of Assurance that limits the NC property to only 350 lots.

The council agreed to leave the item on the second reading. The discussion will continue on July 18.

New Business

1. Fill Vacancy for City Council Member / Ward One, Position One (Details)

A resolution to call a special election on Nov. 14, 2023, to fill a vacancy in the office of the City Council Member for Ward One, Position One of the City of Fayetteville.
Pass 6-0

The council needs to decide how to replace Sonia Harvey, who resigned in June.

Harvey said her leased home was recently sold and she was initially unable to find a place to live in Ward 1, so she broadened her search to other parts of the city. She eventually found a home in Ward 2, which means she cannot continue to serve on the council as a representative for Ward 1. Harvey’s term wasn’t set to expire until the end of 2026.

When a member resigns, the remaining council members can either elect a new member to serve the remaining unexpired term or call for a special public election.

The council faced a similar situation in 2021 when Matthew Petty resigned after 13 years. The council voted 7-0 to hold a special election, and Mike Wiederkehr won the seat after defeating challengers Leslie Belden and Kristen Scott.

Tonight’s resolution proposes calling a special election to be held on Nov. 14.

Several council members said with the length of Harvey’s remaining term being so long, they would prefer to let the citizens decide who should fill the vacancy.

The council voted 7-0 to call a special election.

2. Fayetteville Heritage & Historic Preservation Plan (Details)

A resolution to approve the Fayetteville Heritage and Historic Preservation Plan.
Pass 6-0

This resolution would approve the Fayetteville Heritage and Historic Preservation Plan, which was put together after a mix of community engagement, funding from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, and consulting from Stantec Consulting Services. The plan aims to strengthen the preservation program, promote compatible development, identify and protect historic properties, provide learning opportunities about historic preservation and Fayetteville’s history, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion while protecting cultural heritage.

The plan includes 52 action items that outline the work to be done in the next 5-10 years. The actions involve building partnerships, improving digital resources, supporting the protection of historic buildings and places, securing grant funding, and sharing the story of Fayetteville’s cultural heritage. The Historic District Commission and Black Heritage Preservation Commission helped in the planning process and are already working on implementing some action items. Their recommendations to adopt the plan were made at their respective meetings in June 2023, with unanimous support.

There was no public comment.

The council voted 6-0 to approve the plan.

3. Crossland Heavy Contractors, Inc. – Change Order #1 (Details)

Pass 6-0

A resolution to approve Change Order #1 to the Construction Manager at Risk contract with Crossland Heavy Contractors for the Lake Fayetteville Softball Renovation Project. The change order amount is $2,702,903.00, which establishes a guaranteed maximum price for construction. Additionally, a project contingency in the amount of $93,500.00 is approved, and a budget adjustment for the 2019 Park Improvement Bond Project is authorized.

The city plans to invest in the softball fields at Lake Fayetteville by renovating the 48-year-old complex, which mostly serves the city’s adult recreational leagues and an occasional youth tournament.

The work calls for replacing the dirt fields with synthetic turf, improving the storm drainage infrastructure, adding new dugouts and fencing, and improving the spectator areas.

Money for the project would come from the parks bond issue voters approved in 2019.

There was no public comment.

The council voted 6-0 to approve the plan.

4. Ordinance Amendment §118.01 – Short Term Rental Density Cap (Details)

An ordinance to amend §118.01 of the Fayetteville City Code regarding the applicability of regulations for short term rentals. The amendment proposes to reduce the citywide density cap for short term rentals to 475 units. Additionally, an emergency declaration is made in relation to this amendment.
Pass 6-0

This ordinance would lower the cap on the total number of short-term rentals allowed in the city from 2% of all housing units in the city to a maximum of 475 Type 2 rentals.

With nearly 45,000 dwelling units in the city, the existing cap results in about 900 short-term rentals allowed.

The council’s Ordinance Review Committee recently voted unanimously to recommend the change to the cap as part of an effort to manage the issue of property owners who are operating short-term rentals illegally in Fayetteville.

The council in 2021 adopted regulations that categorize short-term rentals as either Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 rentals are homes that the owners live in, but sometimes rent out rooms. Type 2 rentals are rented all year, and have no owners living in them.

City staff said there are 392 Type 2 rentals currently registered, meaning only 83 more could be registered under the new cap.

It should be noted that the regulations – including the new cap if it’s approved – are included in a sunset clause that expires on Dec. 31 if it’s not renewed before then.

Berna said the committee came to the 475 number after meeting in the middle between those who wanted to cap the number at the current registered level and those who wanted the cap to be more than 500.

Moore agreed, and said the committee also wants to consider more changes, including how illegal rentals will be enforced.

During public comment, four people spoke in favor of the proposal. Three people – all from Cohobnb Properties – spoke against the ordinance.

The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 6-0 to approve it. The council also voted 6-0 to approve the emergency clause that puts the ordinance into effect immediately.

Meeting duration

This meeting lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes, and was adjourned at 8:01 p.m.