Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mayor-elect Lioneld Jordan chairs Tuesday's agenda-setting session preparing for his first meeting as mayor on January 6, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Lioneld Jordan chairing meeting of the city council to set agenda for its January 6 meeting. Jordan has served as vice-mayor and chaired many meetings the past few years. Next Tuesday will be his first as mayor. Jordan is to be sworn in Friday morning at the Washington County Courthouse.
Please see Jeff Erf's Web log for the tentative agenda for the Jan. 6 meeting at Tentative agenda for Jan. 6, 2009, city council meeting

For the final agenda, check the same link Friday or Monday or go to Final agenda for Jan. 6, 2009, city council meeting for the agenda and link for live web streaming on Tuesday.
Below the photo, please find final report on campaign spending including the runoff from The Morning News edition for Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Coody Outspends Jordan In Mayoral Race

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody raised more money for his re-election bid than his opponent Lioneld Jordan. The incumbent mayor raised $87,375 -- and $12,464 was his own money that he lent the campaign.

But it was not enough. Coody lost his bid for a third term to Jordan, a two-term city councilman who raised $49,615. Final campaign finance reports were due Tuesday.

Jordan won the 2008 mayoral race in a runoff, capturing 57 percent of the vote to Coody's 43 percent.

"It's got to make you feel good when you raise $50,000 and your opponent raises nearly $90,000 and you win by about 14 percentage points," Jordan said Tuesday.

All told, the 2008 mayoral race picked up $200,857 in contributions. Steve Clark, a former state attorney general and the new president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, picked up $46,214 in contributions. More than $11,000 was a loan to his campaign made by Clark and his wife.

In Coody's final report, which spans Nov. 14 to Dec. 6, he accumulated $14,205 in contributions, much of it from developer interests. For example, Ruskin Heights LLC gave $1,200. Nock Investments contributed $1,000.

"The business community was supportive of my campaign. They recognize that I recognize the importance of a strong business base," Coody said Tuesday.

Jordan's final report, which spans Nov. 16 through Dec. 26, shows $8,000 of his final $10,131 in contributions came from union organizations such as the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees or the International Association of Fire Fighters. All told, union organizations contributed $12,099 to Jordan's mayoral campaign. But unions notwithstanding, the bulk of Jordan's contributions came from local residents.

"It was just a huge diverse group and it was an amazing campaign," Jordan said.

And ultimately, the challenger rallies the troops, Coody said.

"Unhappy people always go vote," he said. "And Lioneld had a broad base of support. And my supporters were happy."

With sizable amounts of money being spent in the last leg of the election --$19,169 going toward television, newspaper and radio advertising -- and other expenses, Coody's campaign ended in the red, owing $11,416.

Jordan closed his campaign with $2,951 still in the bank.

Three-hour public-listening session fills Chamber of Commerce meeting room early with small groups toward noon

Transition team committee Dec. 29, 2008, NWAT

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Linda Ralston (from left), Michelle Halsell and James Phillips facing the camera, with Cindy Cope at right and Julie McQuade facing the table. Not pictured were Jeff Erf and Walt Eilers (chairman of the Jordan mayoral transition teams' communition subcommittee).

Mayoral Transition Task Force communication subcommittee holds final public hearing January 13

Please announce:

The Transition Task Force Communication Subcommittee holds its concluding open public
hearing Tuesday, January 13 from 6:30 to 8 PM.

This 90 minute open hearing will be held in the Council Chamber (City Hall 219). The
hearing will be broadcast live on the Government Channel (Channel 16).

It will feature live public input for those attending and both a call in or an email
option for those viewing from home.

The contact information for the live call-in open hearing is:

Live Call-In 575-8299


For more information please contact Transition Team Chair – Don Marr 479-236-1739 or the
Communications Sub-Committee Chair Walt Eilers at 479-582-0784

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In a brief meeting the
FayetteviNe Housing Authority
today approved a basic
feasibility study for The Old
Post Office Building on the
The study to be performs
by McBryde, Crisp am
Associates, a local iiidustria
engineering concern, will in
chide alternate use, preliminary
design and cost estimates.
The unanimous decision carrn
arier Chad Kumpe, executive
director, reported the study I:
being done to find out what "wi
have in Hie building, *md wha
it would take to convert ini
alternate use." The study wii
not be restricted to one idea
We need to have some alter
nates in-Ue event the city do.
not have the money fo conver
the building into just city
ftccs," Kumpc said.
, Kumpe said that one of th
most expensive propositions
necessary for use as a bnildin
for cily offices is filling o
a floor in the 17-fool lobby
which might not be nccessar
if an alternate use was plannc<
He said that estimates I
convert the building to a lull
used office building are
excess of $300,MO.
;Kumpe said that no offici
reports have been received b
the city but discussions \
City Manager Don Grime
indicated he (Grimes) won'
like.to sec proposes for oth<
uses as conversion will 1
expensive, the city has r
money now, and expansion \v.
make the building iradequa
in a relatively short period
time for city offices.
Mayor Marion Or ton, wi
was prescn\, said a riccisi<
could he made Itater. but
seems reasonable to
alternate uses studied.
Kumpc pointed out
feasibility study is the type
study any investor would ma!
arid the cost of the study, s
at $5,600. will be added to t
purchase price.
The post office building w
scheduled to be turned over
the'City when Urban Rene
is- phased out at the end
this year. __

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Environmental effects of trail-building in Fayetteville, Arkansas, must take precedence over convenience

The spots on Skull Creek I photographed and posted online at the time of the trail celebration during the past year are especially bad. And the Walker Park trail built a couple of years ago and just about every stretch of trail in town has poster sites for stupid building practices and inappropriate site selection.
> The problem is simple. Developers who donate or owners who sell land to the city for trails must provide a wide enough swath to stay out of the riparian area.
> The tree canopy must protect the water from sunlight and the tree roots and other vegetation must prevent erosion and siltation. There is no simple rule such as staying 50 or 100 feet from the stream bank. In some places, no clearing or soil replacement with red dirt for the trail base should be allowed within 1,000 feet of the stream.
The city has been building trails without environmental protection being taken into account. We can't rip out what has been done but we can work to change policy and see that the planning includes the protection of the stream corridor.

The reason the land is available is that it is close to the streams and, in many cases, not only in the recognized flood plain but in the frequent overflow area of the stream. The tree-protection rules have been totally ignored in most areas.

Coody was desperately courting bicyclists and joggers and such to support him by creating fear that the trail-building would end without him. He NEVER acknowledged the environmental mistakes his trail builders made or talked about acquiring wider strips for the trails or requiring the staff to plan and build with the stream's health in mind.

Revision of the ordinances related to the trails may be necessary to improve the situation. Reportedly, the ordinance requires following stream corridors. The result is that the continuous green corridors along the streams is destroyed in the process. Meanwhile, the city has touted the green valley and the green-infrastructure project is trying to find places to protect.

Thanks to one member of the Environmental Concerns, a couple of years ago pushing and pushing, the council passed a resolution to protect riparian zones. ZERO changes have occurred in any category of city planning as a result of that. But at least a few times when speaking to the council I have been able to cite that resolution in my arguments.

I can show you a lot of spots to illustrate these problems in an hour of driving around the city and taking very short walks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bruce Shackleford offers view of inadvisability of rerouting Arkansas 112 across Hoskins' wetland

I am not sure about all of the particulars of property lines associated with the proposed 112 reroute, nor have I ever seen the proposed alignment of the 112 reroute, but I do know that the majority of the property near Clabber Creek between Highway 112 and Dean Solomon Road is existing and/or former wetland prairie. The distance between 112 and Dean Solomon is approximately 3,300 linear feet.

One of our WSIP sewer lines extends along the north side of Clabber Creek in this area and borders the southern edge of the Park West property. Prairies/wetlands are not the only concerns/considerations in the decision-making process for the 112 reroute. There are other matters to think about, that may create potential liabilities for the City when entering a "cost-share" agreement for this project, as described below:

1) There are two spring runs in the vicinity of (or perhaps within) the Park West boundaries. One is approximately 975 linear feet west of 112, and the other is approximately 2,325 linear feet west of 112. These two spring runs function ecologically much the same as the Wilson Springs runs, and provide seasonal habitat for the Arkansas darter, as shown by a survey conducted by USFWS several years ago. Impacts to darter habitat have been controversial for the City in the past. Will the proposed 112 reroute have a permanent adverse impact to darter habitat and stir this pot again?

For those who are not aware, the Arkansas darter (Etheostoma cragini) is a small fish (2 to 3 inches long) that inhabits the upper reaches of Clabber Creek. It has been designated as an Arkansas Species of Concern by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, listed as a fish of Special Concern by the American Fisheries Society and is a Candidate Species for federal listing as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

One of our sewer lines crossed these two spring runs and one of the wetlands. I wrote the specifications whereby the contractor was required to cross these spring runs during June through December when we knew the darter would not be there. During this time of the year, the darter stays within the immediate vicinity of the springs, including Wilson Springs, and the springs on the north side of Clabber Creek. Studies have shown that it migrates down the spring runs at times between January and May to spawn in Clabber Creek. Has the 112 reroute considered such self-imposed seasonal construction periods as we did on the WSIP, and is this practicable for a highway project?

2) There are jurisdictional wetlands throughout the area between 112 and Dean Solomon, including the Park West property. In fact, I have seen the 404 permit that requires compensatory wetland mitigation for the Park West development. For sewer lines, we do the design whereby wetlands are restored and put back to pre-construction conditions. This is achievable because the sewer lines are underground. This is not so easy to do for permanent surface structures, such as a highway.

Obviously, a highway project that spans jurisdictional wetlands will necessitate wetland compensatory mitigation. Will the 112 reroute involve permanent alterations to wetlands? If so, where will the mitigation site be located? Who will pay for the design, construction, and long-term monitoring of the wetland mitigation and the 404 permit application process? With the City paying for a portion of the project, the City will likely be required to be a co-permittee with Park West for the 404 permit issued by the Corps. If the mitigation does not comply with 404 permit requirements, is the City aware that they may be liable for enforcement action/monitory penalties and/or corrective actions? What controls will the City have during construction to assure 404 permit requirements will be met?

3) The ADEQ stormwater permit for construction activities (ARR150000) will be required for the 112 reroute. Due to changes in Reg 6 three years ago, ADEQ no longer allows contractors to be stormwater permittees. It is ADEQ's policy that the party(ies) with ultimate financial control of a regulated project shall be the permittee(s) who are responsible for compliance. If ADEQ makes the City a joint stormwater permittee with Park West, how much construction management control will the City have? Has the City explored the possibility that as a co-permittee they may be liable for enforcement action/monitory penalties and/or corrective actions if the project is not managed to be in compliance with stormwater permit requirements?

The involvement of a third party (i.e. contractor) further complicates matters. Speaking from experience, it is always a challenge to make the contractor do what they are supposed to do to keep the permittee from having violations. If this is not addressed from the beginning within the contract documents, then the permittee has little leverage to make the contractor follow regulatory requirements. When the permittee tries to do so after the fact, there will always be change orders that add to the cost of the project.

What control will the City have over the environmental specification language within the contract documents to hold the contractor's feet to the fire for this type of work within such an environmentally sensitive area?

It is always more efficient and cost-effective to avoid going into the "damage control mode" by staying in the "problem prevention mode".

Just some food for thought that I wanted to bring to the table.........


Bruce Shackleford, M.S., REM, REPA
President, Environmental Consulting Operations, Inc.
17724 I-30, Suite 5A
Benton, Arkansas 72019
"Integrating ECOnomy and ECOlogy, since 1990"
office: 501-315-9009
mobile: 501-765-9009

Joe Neal offers strict view of reasons not to reroute Arkasnas 112 through Hoskins' wetland

To all --

I have stated repeatedly and to anyone who listens that the widespread
lower elevation fields in that entire area are "seasonal wetlands,"
whether or not they meet the Corps of Engineer standards. Therefore, I
am opposed to their development. Every development in such habitats
has a clear, negative and measurable impact on the environment. From
an administrative view, they further burden the upper Clabber Creek
watershed. I know that, in these opinions, I am an unreasonable
person. But the truth is the truth, and I have not spent my adult life
as a biologist to ignore my training & experience in order to just get

"For the record," and especially for anyone who cares at this point, I
cannot visualize any compelling public interest for the
relocation/straightening of 112. The City of Fayetteville has in
recent years wisely adopted a clear and far-sighted policy of passive
speed controls on streets used for "cut throughs" and other
opportunities to accelerate traffic speed. The amount of money saved
in law enforcement probably can't be accurately measured; the safety
achieved by such reductions also are hard to measure; however, both
are hard realities. The historical bends in 112 nicely fits and
supports this passive policy. It is not in the interest of the
citizens of Fayetteville to accelerate traffic speeds on 112,
especially since Fayetteville and Tontitown the max allowed speed is
45 MPH now. I understand why such changes might be of benefit to the
developers in that area, but the changes would not be in the general
public interest. -Joe

JOSEPH C. NEAL in Fayetteville, Arkansas. "Nature is already as good
as it possibly can be. He who seeks to improve it will spoil it. He
who tries to direct it will mislead it and become lost himself." --
Chinese philosopher about 2,500 years ago

Friday, December 19, 2008

Transition team meets with mayor-elect to plan long-term goals

If you want to do the homework along with Lioneld Jordan's mayoral transition team, please see Documents being studied by Lioneld Jordan's mayoral transition team
Please click on images to ENLARGE view of second mayoral transition meeting.

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of second meeting of Lioneld Jordan's transition team on December 18, 2008.

NWAT report on second transition meeting

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Northwest Arkansas Times reports that Coody breaks tie to approve Southpass sewer cost share

Balanced budget : Aldermen pass budget that leaves reserves untouched
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/71682
2009 budget balanced Coody votes for Southpass

In October, Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody presented the City Council with a proposed 2009 budget that involved dipping into the city’s reserve funds to the tune of $ 535, 000.
Two months and three budget meetings later, on Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to pass a budget that didn’t require reserve money to have a balanced general fund.
“This year it was a little tamer than last year, but I think then we did a little more venting, which paved the way for calmer discussions this year,” Ward 2 Alderman Kyle Cook said.
The council started hacking away at the original proposed budget by trimming $50, 000 marked for speed tables at its first budget meeting in November. Later on, staff found $59, 000 in unallocated capital-improvement budget funds, and the council saved $10, 000 by cutting proposed Dickson Street kiosks. The city also found out its workers' compensation bill was $ 100, 000 less than expected.
Finally, the council decided to cut its road-overlay program by about $300, 000 to make up the difference, which meant the city would be able to pave only about eight miles of street instead of 11 to 12 miles. But, on Monday, City Engineer Ron Petrie said that there was a $ 249, 000 surplus in the city’s bridge-construction fund, which was recently discovered after state bids came in lower than expected. Petrie proposed using that money to help balance the budget and taking only about $50, 000 out of the overlay program. The council agreed Tuesday night.
Paul Becker, director of finance for the city, said that the city would take all the cuts it made from the capital improvement budget and make a one-time transfer of $ 417, 900 to the city’s general fund budget, which would balance it.
The last thought for the 2009 budget came from Ward 4 Alderman Lioneld Jordan, who is also the mayor-elect. He asked Becker if the council could revisit the possibility of using any excess money in 2008, if the city finishes 2008 in the black, for a cost-of-living adjustment for city employees. Becker said he wouldn’t know the end results of the 2008 budget until April of 2009, after the city’s first financial quarter of 2009 ends.
The council decided to send a $2. 15 million cost share with developer Tracy Hoskins to reroute Arkansas 112 back to the street committee. The cost share would partner the city with Hoskins to reroute Arkansas 112 just south of Sam’s Club diagonally northwest and reconnect it at Howard Nickel Road. Hoskins would then build his proposed mixed-use development, Park West, in the area.
The $2. 15 million would pay for only a quarter of the whole road. Petrie said that, if the contract passed, the road would essentially end in the middle of Park West. The contract guarantees that Hoskins will give the city the right of way to finish the road. City Attorney Kit Williams said the contract will be void and the money will be refunded to the city if Hoskins has not begun construction of Park West by November of 2010. Jordan, chairman of the street committee, said he felt more comfortable taking the issue back to the committee because the committee was given the cost for the whole reroute and not the $2. 15 million cost for a quarter of the construction. “We agreed we liked the realignment but we wanted to know what the cost was going to be, but we were never presented that until the past couple of weeks,” he said. There were some protesters and supporters who spoke about the development.
Aubrey Shepherd asked the council to turn the agreement down to protect the wetland prairie area the road and development is proposed to be built over. “If there’s a road built across that wetland prairie it should be on stilts, and we shouldn’t be doing it to encourage development,” Shepherd said.
Steve Rust, director of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council, asked aldermen to pass the agreement and encourage the development. He read part of a letter from an individual Rust said represented a prestigious hotel chain; Rust would not disclose which chain. The section of the letter Rust read stated that the hotel chain was interested in building a hotel in the area near Sam’s Club but it would not be interested if the road wasn’t redirected or the Park West development was not built.
Ward 4 Alderman Shirley Lucas expressed some concern about spending so much money to build half a road when there’s no guarantee more development will come to the city.
“What’s the phrase? ‘If we build it, they will come.’ We don’t even know if they’re going to come or not, and we’re spending a lot of money,” Lucas said.
The council also barely passed the tail end of the SouthPass development. Coody broke a 4-4 tie that entered the city into a $ 1. 4 million sewer infrastructure cost share for the 900-acre mixed-use development proposed for the south side of town.
“If this is for the contract, I don’t get a choice on how to vote because I don’t want to see the city get tied up in a lawsuit,” Coody said before he cast the final “yes” vote.
He was referring to the fact that the city (HE) had already signed a contract with developers John Nock and Richard Alexander for the SouthPass agreement and the council was advised at its Nov. 6 meeting by Williams that, if they failed to pass the development, the city could be subject to legal ramifications.
Jordan, Lucas, Ward 2 Alderman Nancy Allen and Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell voted against the cost share.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Southpass, budget pass, Hoskins freeway subsidy delayed

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

SouthPass, Budget Move Forward
By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody cast the deciding vote Tuesday night to extend a sewer line to the SouthPass regional park. The council tied 4-4, with Nancy Allen, Shirley Lucas, Bobby Ferrell and mayor-elect Lioneld Jordan voting against.
Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Fayetteville, Arkansas, city council on December 2, 2008

Because of many issues, such as cost and concern about developing on Mount Kessler, the SouthPass project has been controversial. The move Tuesday night was just another step in its slow march forward. Should the city kill the project -- a large mixed-use residential and park project in southeast Fayetteville -- it has been suggested by the city attorney that Fayetteville could be sued for not following through on contact obligations.
"I don't have any choice but to vote 'yes,' because I don't want to see the city end up in a lawsuit," Coody said.
The cost-share approved Tuesday night means the city will pay roughly $745,000 as its half of the cost of bringing sewer service to the project. The money will come from water and sewer impact fees.
The council also unanimously approved its $119.5 million 2009 city budget.
Jordan, who will be Fayetteville's next mayor and campaigned for cost-of-living raises, said the city could revisit raises in the first quarter of next year when officials know exactly how much surplus money the city finished 2008 with.
A 2 percent cost-of-living raise would cost roughly $800,000, said Paul Becker, Fayetteville's finance director.
Chickens can now legally cluck, scratch and lay eggs in Fayetteville backyards.
By a vote of 7-1 the council approved an ordinance to allow up to four hens per home. Robert Rhoads voted against, saying the ordinance seemed vague. It allows for both the slaughter of chickens, and prevents cruel treatment or killing of the birds.
"What is our business is passing legislation that may be confusing," Rhoads said.
"When it comes to the issue of slaughter, you know, we really haven't addressed it," said Jill Hatfield, superintendent of Fayetteville Animal Services.
A plan to require the chickens be registered with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission did not receive support.
"It would become a permitting process," said Brenda Thiel, a council member. "And I don't think we're really going to have enough chickens to justify that."
By a vote of 5-3, the council voted down an appeal by developers for Amberwood Place, a 40-acre development with 177 dwelling units, some of them slated as attainable housing. Lucas, Jordan and Ferrell supported the project, primarily because it provided homes in the $110,000 to $135,000 range, a house type many say Fayetteville is lacking.
"If we want some (affordable) places -- and we've asked our developers to do this -- we've got a situation right here, and I'm all for it," Ferrell said.
"I really think we need some more homes that people can afford," Lucas added.
Other council members agreed with the city's planning staff and Planning Commission, saying Amberwood Place is contrary to Fayetteville's City Plan 2025. And also, some council members were not in favor of grouping affordable housing as a bloc.
"I have a lot of concern about it being bunched together," Allen said. "I have concerns that today's affordable housing may be tomorrow's slums."
And a move to enter into a $2.16 million cost-share with developer Park West LLC to extend Arkansas 112 into an open field to both encourage and access new development was sent back to the Fayetteville Street Committee for further study.