Fayetteville City Council recap: Jan. 18, 2024

(File photo)


  • Presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Brotherhood Award
  • Election of the vice mayor
  • A $44,560 contract for a stormwater education program
  • A $58,905 agreement for use of geographic information system software
  • Transfer of $1.63 million in ARPA funds to Seven Hills Homeless Center
  • Recognizing the National Day of Racial Healing
  • Honoring the 2023 Fayetteville High School football team


  • An appeal of a grading permit for a new gas station at the former Mr. Burger site off Garland Avenue


  • Approving a budget for an extension of East Stearns Street

» Download the agenda (PDF)

Meeting duration

This meeting lasted 3 hours and 4 minutes and was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Meeting info

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 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: Bob Stafford, D’Andre Jones, Sarah Moore, Mike Wiederkehr, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Scott Berna, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk, Holly Hertzberg
Absent: None

» View current attendance records

Presentations, Reports and Discussion Items

1. Martin Luther King Jr. Brotherhood Award – Presented by City Attorney Kit Williams

Notes: Senior Assistant City Attorney Blake Pennington presented this year’s award to Deputy Chief Finance Officer Steven Dotson for his work in helping distribute millions of dollars in ARPA funds to local nonprofits.

2. Election of Vice Mayor

Notes: Hertzberg nominated Bunch. Stafford nominated Jones, but Jones declined the nomination. The council voted 8-0 to approve Bunch as the 2024 vice mayor.


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 Jan. 2, 2024 City Council meeting minutes.
Pass 8-0

2. Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission – Education program (Details): A resolution to approve a one-year contract with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission in the amount of $44,559.78 for a stormwater education program for 2024 to satisfy portions of the NPDES Phase II stormwater permit requirements.
Pass 8-0

3. Hamestring Creek and Tributaries – Grant applications (Details): A resolution to authorize applications for matching grants for the Hamestring Creek and Tributaries flood mitigation efforts.
Pass 8-0

4. Nabholz Construction, Co. – Change order (Details): A resolution to approve Change Order No. 14 to the contract with Nabholz Construction Corporation in the amount of $137,742.40 for work related to the Cultural Arts Corridor Replacement Parking Deck Project, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Cultural Arts Corridor Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

5. Esri, Inc. – Software agreement (Details): A resolution to authorize Mayor Jordan to sign a three-year enterprise license agreement with Esri, Inc. in the amount of $58,905.00 per year for the continued use of geographic information system software, and to approve a project contingency in the amount of $5,890.50 per year.
Pass 8-0

6. Seven Hills Homeless Center – ARPA funds (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $1,630,000.00 to fund the approved ARPA projects addressing housing instability.
Pass 8-0

Unfinished Business

There is no unfinished business.

New Business

1. Ninth Annual National Day of Racial Healing – Recognition (Details)

A resolution to recognize the Ninth Annual National Day of Racial Healing on the Wednesday following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.
Pass 8-0

This item would formally recognize National Day of Racial Healing, which took place on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The annual observance was launched in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation initiative, which aims to introduce racial healing to a broader audience, address the legacy of racism in the country and inspire people to work towards racial equity in their communities.

City leaders last year held an event in recognition of the observance where Mayor Lioneld Jordan issued a proclamation.

The council amended the resolution to adjust the date to next week (Jan. 24) since city offices were closed this week due to inclement weather.

There was no public comment.

The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution.

2. FHS Football Team and Athletic Department – Recognition (Details)

A resolution to honor the 2023 Fayetteville High School Football Team and the Fayetteville Athletic Department.
Pass 8-0

Councilmember D’Andre Jones sponsored this resolution to honor the 2023 Fayetteville High School football team for its Class 7A State Championship win over Bentonville in December.

“The Fayetteville High School Football Team and the entire Fayetteville Athletic Department exemplify the spirit, character, dedication, and commitment to excellence for which we should all strive,” the resolution states.

The council amended the resolution to include the names of the players and coaches, and to only invite the coaching staff and the seniors to the meeting in February since the council chambers likely wouldn’t be large enough to hold the entire team.

There was no public comment.

The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution.

3. Hawkins Weir Engineers, Inc. – Contract amendment (Details)

A resolution to approve Amendment No. 4 to the professional engineering services agreement with Hawkins-Weir Engineers, Inc. in the amount of $483,940.00 for additional services associated with the project to alleviate flooding near the North College Avenue and East Sunbridge Drive intersection, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Drainage Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

This resolution would approve a $28,780 amendment to Hawkins Weir Engineers’ contract for design services targeting flooding at North College Avenue and Sunbridge Drive, raising the total to $483,940. Staff said the initial contract covered basic drainage designs, but after bids for the construction exceeded budget, a redesign became necessary. The work is part of the 2019 voter-approved bond program for drainage projects.

The council amended the resolution to clarify that the amendment is only for $28,780, bringing the total project cost to $483,940.

There was no public comment.

The council voted 8-0 to approve the resolution.

4. Stearns Street Extension – Budget adjustment (Details)

A resolution to approve a budget adjustment to create a project budget for an extension of Stearns Street between Vantage Drive and Old Missouri Road.
Tabled 7-1 to Feb. 6

This project would bridge the roughly 250-foot gap where the two side of East Stearns Street both dead end, creating an east-west route from Old Missouri Road to Vantage Drive. The connection has been on and off the street plan for about 30 years.

The eastern segment that connects to Old Missouri Road was built in the late 1980s as part of the Brookhollow residential subdivision. The western section that connects to Vantage Drive, was constructed in 2018 as part of a commercial subdivision. The gap includes undeveloped city right-of-way that a neighboring subdivision’s property owners’s association has used for maintenance purposes and has built a shed.

When the commercial subdivision was built, the city collected nearly $21,000 in fees from developers to put toward the connection. That money must be spent within seven years or it will need to be refunded, so city staff are looking to get the project started before it’s too late.

The city held a public meeting in July and surveyed residents to gauge support for the project. Staff said
the responses were quite polarized, with most responses being either “highly supportive” or “highly opposed”
to the connection.

The Planning Commission in September voted 8-1 to recommend approval of the connection, and the Transportation Committee in November voted 4-0 in favor of the project.


Bunch asked if the connection could be more narrow than the existing streets in order to mitigate the loss of trees in the right of way. Staff said once the design process begins, it’s possible there are ways that could be accomplished.

Turk said she’d like to tour the area before voting. Jones agreed.

Moore said the project has been through the Transportation Committee a couple of times with a lot of discussion, and the group – which is made up for four council members – has already recommended approval of the project, so she’d like to vote tonight.

Berna said he’d be fine tabling the resolution to allow enough time to tour the area.

Wiederkehr said as the city grows, Fayetteville needs as many east-west connections as it can afford to build. He said he’ll support the project, but he doesn’t mind waiting to vote if that’s what the other council members want.

Bunch said she was ready to vote tonight. She said she’s in support of the project, partially because she believes if this connection had been made sooner it would’ve already solved some existing traffic issues on the surrounding streets. She understands that neighbors don’t want change, but the project has been on the master plan for many years.

The council voted 7-1 to table the resolution until Feb. 6. Stafford voted against.

5. Appeal: ADM-2023-0048 – 1110 N. Garland Avenue, Roadrunner/Fayetteville Strong, Bartlett, 405 (Details)

A resolution to grant the appeal of City Council members Sarah Moore and Teresa Turk and deny variances VAR-2023-029 and VAR-2023-030 for a gas station development at 1110 North Garland Avenue.
Fail 4-4

A group of residents have filed an appeal of a grading permit and associated variances that were issued for a project that aims to build a new Road Runner gas station at the former Mr. Burger site off Garland Avenue.

The appeal was first heard by the Planning Commission in December, but the permit was upheld, so the group has brought their request to the City Council for a final determination.

Members of the group have said a gas station would diminish the scenic character and quality of the surrounding neighborhood and the city as a whole.

Gas stations are an allowed use for the site under the property’s commercial zoning district. The site, which also includes a lot to the west – was home to a gas station for many years before being redeveloped as a Little Caesar’s.

Road Runner representatives said aside from the gas station, they plan to install six high-speed electric vehicle charging stations that will be free to the public. Without the variances, they said, there won’t be enough room for the chargers.

“The EV charging stations we are putting in will cost $1,000,000 as they are not slow chargers like you see elsewhere in Fayetteville,” said attorney Robert Rhoads. “These are as fast as the Tesla superchargers, therefore they really will be used by people stopping to pick up snacks, or go to the restroom while their car charges for 10 minutes. And Road Runner will not charge the customer for the electricity. Building the gas station without these variances would eliminate these chargers as there wouldn’t be room.”

» See a brochure for the planned charging stations as provided to the council by Road Runner


Representatives for the property owners said the variances at question tonight are not necessary for the gas station to be built, but were requested in an effort to provide a safer traffic situation. For instance, the variances would move the curb cuts away from North Street and Garland Avenue to Lindell and Mount Comfort to keep traffic flowing more smoothly through the busy intersection. If the variances are denied, the gas station will still be built, they said, but it’s possible the design won’t be as safe as it could be.

Moore, who lives near the site, said some of the previous businesses there didn’t create a lot of traffic, but a gas station likely would, so she’ll support the appeal.

Turk also lives near the property, and said she has safety concerns about the added traffic volume from a gas station and she’ll also support the appeal.

Berna said the group seeking the appeal has said that the area in question is already a high-accident area, but after looking at the city’s data, he was surprised to see just how few traffic accidents have occurred in the area. He said high-accident intersections in Fayetteville can have up to 118 collisions, but the North-Garland area only saw two accidents in 2023.

During public comment, seven people spoke who said the appeal should be granted and one said the council should deny the appeal just as the Planning Commission did in December.

Stafford said he doesn’t think diverting traffic to Lindell or Mount Comfort would make the development safer.

Wiederkehr said the council shouldn’t deny variances on the grounds that the planned use is not as desirable. He said until there are major changes to city code, the council should be fair to its own established zoning districts and uphold what’s already been granted.

Berna said he has to put aside his personal desires to see something other than a gas station, but since it’s a by-right development, if the council wants the safest project, it should uphold the variances that were previously granted.

Hertzberg against Police Chief Mike Reynolds if the North-Garland intersection has a lot of traffic accidents. Reynolds said it’s not a very accident-prone area. When compared with other intersections, it doesn’t register in the top 20 in terms of accident counts, he said.

The council voted 4-4, so the original variances and permit are upheld. Turk, Moore, Stafford and Jones were in favor. Berna, Bunch, Hertzberg and Wiederkehr voted against the appeal. Mayor Jordan declined to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Meeting duration

This meeting lasted 3 hours and 4 minutes and was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.