LIVE UPDATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: May 18, 2021

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

QUICK SUMMARY:

The Fayetteville City Council on Tuesday…

  • Rejected a 51-acre R-PZD on Dead Horse Mountain Road by a 1-7 vote. Matthew Petty voted yes.
  • Unanimously approved a rezoning for 0.66 acres off Morningside Drive from NC, Neighborhood Conservation to CS, Community Services.
  • Unanimously approved a rezoning for 0.58 acres on Fletcher and Summit avenues from RSF-4 to RSF-18. The new zoning will allow up to eight units on the property.
  • Approved 7-0 a rezoning for 0.20 acres on Huntsville Road from RSF-8 to RI-U. Petty recused and said while he has no direct interest in the property, he has interest in another parcel to the east and he intends to use this rezoning as a precedent for a future request.
  • Unanimously approved a rezoning for 1.38 acres at the 4300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from R-A to CS. The applicant said the plan is to build a drive-thru restaurant.
  • Voted 6-2 to approve a proposal to require owners of short-term rentals to be included on the city’s new landlord contact registry. Holly Hertzberg and Mark Kinion voted no.
  • Unanimously approved a proposal to allow the operation of small, in-home childcare facilities by right throughout the city under certain conditions.
  • Rejected 1-6 a proposal to allow a council member to appeal any determination of the Planning Commission involving development on behalf on any resident who is opposed to an action taken by the commission. Turk voted yes. Kinion was absent during the vote.

On the agenda…

  • A residential planned zoning district on Dead Horse Mountain Road.
  • Rezoning 0.66 acres on Morningside Drive.
  • Rezoning 0.58 acres on Fletcher Avenue.
  • Rezoning 0.20 acres on Huntsville Road.
  • Rezoning 1.38 acres on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
  • Changes to the Landlord’s Representative Registry.
  • Changes to the law regarding small in-home childcare operations.
  • Allowing appeals of all Planning Commission decisions on developments.

» Download the full agenda

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, 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. Recognition Awards Presentation for Fire Department Personnel for Bravery and Meritorious Service to the Citizens of Fayetteville.


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. Approval of the May 4, 2021 City Council Meeting minutes
Pass 8-0

2. Walton Family Foundation Grant (Details): A resolution to authorize Mayor Jordan to accept a grant from the Walton Family Foundation in the amount of $385,000.00 to fund the construction of bicycle and pedestrian improvements along Prospect Street, Park Avenue, Trenton Boulevard, and Rebecca Street to create the Mission-Razorback Connector, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

3. Arkansas Department of Transportation (Details): A resolution to approve a payment of $199,940.00 to the Arkansas Department of Transportation for the construction of a side path along Wedington Drive at the intersection of Interstate 49, to approve a project contingency in the amount of $40,000.00, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Trail Improvements Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

4. U.S. Department of Transportation Grant – 2019 Trail Improvements Bond Project (Details): A resolution to approve a payment of $46,000.00 to the University of Arkansas for the preparation of a benefit-cost analysis by Olsson Associates, Inc. for a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation for improvements to Maple Street, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Trail Improvements Bond Project.
Pass 8-0

5. Washington County Radio System MOU (Details): A resolution to approve a memorandum of understanding with Washington County and the City of Springdale to improve public safety radio communications by establishing a county-wide system.
Pass 8-0

6. HFI Fletcher, LLC (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $19,824.38 recognizing revenue from a cost-share agreement with HFI Fletcher, LLC for a sewer main extension along a portion of North Fletcher Avenue.
Pass 8-0

7. Mount Olive Water Association (Details): A resolution to approve a fifteen-year water purchase agreement with Mount Olive Water Association.
Pass 8-0

8. Badger Meter, Inc. (Details): A resolution to approve a one-year master service agreement with Badger Meters, Inc. with up to 9 automatic annual renewals to operate the current and future advanced metering infrastructure water meters installed by the Utilities Department.
Pass 8-0

9. University of Arkansas Memorandum of Agreement (Details): A resolution to approve an amendment to the memorandum of agreement with the University of Arkansas for the installation and maintenance of street signs on certain roadways on or near the university campus.
Pass 8-0

10. Boston Mountain Solid Waste District MOU (Details): A resolution to approve a memorandum of understanding with Boston Mountain Solid Waste District in the amount of $15,000.00 for the collection of household hazardous waste in Fayetteville.
Pass 8-0

11. Fire Station 9 Access Easement (Details): A resolution to approve the conveyance of a permanent public cross- access easement to Robert and Vickie Parker for the purpose of providing public cross-access at Fire Station No. 9.
Pass 8-0

12. Flintco, LLC Change Order No. 3 – 2019 Police Headquarters Bond Project (Details): A resolution to approve Change Order No. 3 to the Construction Manager at Risk contract with Flintco, LLC for the Police Headquarters Project in the amount of $12,536,023.00, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Police Headquarters Bond Project.
Pass 8-0


Unfinished Business

1. R-PZD-2021-003 (2390 S. Dead Horse Mtn. Rd./Meadows at Stonebridge sd) (Details)

An ordinance to approve a residential planned zoning district entitled R-PZD 21-003 for approximately 51.33 acres located at 2390 S. Dead Horse Mountain Road to allow the development of 168 residential lots and 1 mixed-use lot.
Fail 1-7

Background:
This item was left on the second reading at the May 4 meeting.

The property was previously part of the Villas at Stonebridge Planned Zoning District, which expired in 2015. The property was eventually rezoned to RSF-4, with a 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 the property, but was never built. The property is currently rural and undeveloped in nature, and encompasses 51.33 acres.

The applicant requests to rezone the property to a Residential Planned Zoning District with 4 planning areas, described as follows:

Planning Area 1 (5.3 acres) – This area is residential in nature, with allowable uses including single-family dwellings and accessory dwelling units, and a proposed density of 3.77 units per acre. There is no lot width minimum, allowing for tandem lots in areas near Dead Horse Mountain Road where the property’s shape restricts a standard lot-and-block pattern; for lots without street frontage, there is a minimum 15-foot setback from all sides, mirroring the City’s tandem lot ordinance. For all other lots, the applicant has included a build-to-zone rather than a front setback, 5-foot side setbacks, and a 15- foot rear setback.

Planning Area 2 (14.93 acres) – Alley, rear-loaded single-family dwellings make up the primary usage of this planning area, and the applicant proposes lot widths and setbacks similar to the City’s NC, Neighborhood Conservation zoning district. The applicant proposes a density of 3.48 units per acre.

Planning Area 3 (25.06 acres) This area is also characterized by single-family dwellings and accessory dwelling units, with very similar parameters to the City’s RSF-4, Residential Single-Family, 4 Units per Acre zoning district, though also proposes a build- to-zone rather than a front setback. The proposed density for this Planning Area is 3.03 units per acre.

Planning Area 4 (5.05 acres) – This area is designed to allow a wider variety of uses beyond single-family residential, including 2-, 3- and 4-family dwellings, and limited non- residential uses, including sidewalk cafes, small-scale establishments, and home occupations. This Planning Area also allows for zero lot line side setbacks, and also includes a build-to-zone in the front of each lot. The proposed density for this Planning Area is 5.94 units per acre.

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

Location:

April 20 Discussion:
The council received a letter written on behalf of neighbors who are opposed to the request. The letter includes a request that the item be held on the first reading. Scroggin said he would also like to hold it tonight.

The discussion will continue on May 4.

May 4 Discussion:
Several residents spoke against the project. In general, they said they’re worried about an increase in traffic and drainage that could occur if the property is developed as requested.

One person who spoke in favor said the city needs housing and this is an opportunity to add more homes without having to do it at the very edges of the city limits.

An attorney representing a nearby neighborhood asked that the item be left on the second reading to allow time for the neighbors to meet with the developer to see if some of their concerns can be addressed. Here’s a letter detailing the neighbors’ concerns.

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

May 18 Discussion:
During public comment, five people spoke against the plan. They said they either don’t want to see the land developed, they don’t like the proposed development, they’re concerned about flooding in the area, or they’re worried more homes will cause traffic issues.

One person who works at the nearby golf course said if the property is developed with the proposed density, it could have a negative impact on the golfing experience. An attorney representing neighbors said the current zoning was approved five years ago and includes a Bill of Assurance that the property would only be developed with up to 2.5 units per acre. That Bill of Assurance, he said, should be honored by the council.

Decision:
The council voted 1-7 (Petty voted in favor) so the request failed.


2. RZN 2021-035: (S.E. of Morningside Drive & Huntsville Road/Park Meadows, Phase V) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-035 located southeast of Morningside Drive and Huntsville Road for approximately 0.66 acres from NC, Neighborhood Conservation to CS, Community Services.
Pass 8-0

Background:
This item was left on the first reading at the May 4 meeting.

The property is part of Phase V of the Park Meadows subdivision. It is currently entitled for single-family development within the aforementioned Park Meadows subdivision. Modified plans have not been submitted or proposed.

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

Location:

May 4 Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Scroggin said he hopes this development has a high density.

Gutierrez said she wants to the hold the item on the second reading to give her constituents more time to consider the request. The discussion will continue on May 18.

May 18 Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


3. RZN 2021-036: (216 & 224 N. Fletcher Ave. and 227 N. Summit Ave./Admiral East, LLC.) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-036 located at 216 and 224 N. Fletcher Ave. and 227 N. Summit Ave. for approximately 0.58 acres from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to RSF-18, Residential Single Family, 18 units per acre.
Pass 8-0

Background:
This item was left on the first reading at the May 4 meeting.

County records indicate the property has three duplexes on site, but the duplex addressed at 227 N. Summit Ave. was recently demolished. No development plans have been submitted by the applicant, though their letter of intent indicates a desire to develop up to eight single-family homes on the site.

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

Location:

May 4 Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Scroggin said the request is not a large increase from what has existed since the 1970s. The three duplexes on the land housed six families and the applicant said their plan is to build for eight families.

Turk said she’d like to leave the ordinance on the first reading and possibly take a tour of the area before the discussion continues. Gutierrez agreed.

The discussion will continue on May 18.

May 18 Discussion:
During public comment, four people spoke against the plan. One person said the change from RSF-4 to RSF-18 seems drastic. Another person said the neighbors would be in favor of the plan if the city looks into the stormwater issues in the area, if a good architect is chosen to develop the property and if the developer shares their plans with the neighbors. Others said they’re worried about whether the existing infrastructure can handle increased density.

Jones asked what infrastructure improvements would be required if the land is developed. Staff said this is just a rezoning request, not a development plan, so it’s impossible to know what needs to be done until a plan is proposed. If the land is proposed to be developed with eight single-family units, it would be subject to the platting process which is the highest level of scrutiny.

Petty said he’s visited the property many times over the past few years and he feels like it’s both fair to criticize a proposed increase in density and to also express hope that more density can work in the area if it’s designed in a smart way. He said in Arkansas, cities are required to approve rezoning requests separately and before developments are proposed. He said the increase from the current six units to eight units seems modest so he’ll support the request.

Gutierrez agreed, and said she hopes the developer addresses the lack of parking space on Fletcher when designing any future projects on the land.

Discussion:
The council advanced the item to the third reading and voted 8-0 to approve it.


New Business

1. 1155 Properties, LLC (Details)

An ordinance to waive formal competitive bidding and approve a cost share agreement with 1155 Properties, LLC for the upsizing of a water line along Drake Street with a refund in an amount not to exceed $47,752.10 to be paid by the City of Fayetteville, and to approve a project contingency in the amount of $4,775.21.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The applicant is developing property at the northwest corner of Gregg Avenue and Drake Street. They are required to reconstruct a portion of existing 8-inch diameter waterline along Drake. Staff said the city’s water master plan identifies a 12-inch waterline grid every 1/2-mile and therefore this reconstruction provides an opportunity to cost share for a 12-inch line instead of 8-inch line.
Pass 8-0

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


2. RC Park Meadows LLC Cost Share (Details)

An ordinance to waive formal competitive bidding and approve a cost share agreement with RC Park Meadows LLC for the overlaying of the west side of Morningside Drive with a refund in an amount not to exceed $75,155.88 to be paid by the City of Fayetteville.
Pass 8-0

Background:
Staff said in 2017, the city received a request from the applicant for a new residential subdivision along the west side of Morningside Drive, between 15th Street and Hunstville Road. The plan would encompass over 60 acres and include nearly 300 new homes. During review of the project multiple improvements were required, including turn lanes, sidewalks, trails, and widening of Morningside Drive along the property frontage.

While preparing to pave the eastern half of Morningside Drive, it was discovered that the west side of the road had an irregular cross section that would make it difficult to meet city street standards on the eastern half of the road where they were building the widening. Staff said in addition to that, the condition of Morningside drive is deteriorating, and the surface is in need of maintenance. This created an opportunity to work with the developer to have the entire width of this street repaved all at once, so staff are recommending this cost share to reimburse the developer for costs associated with paving the western half of the street.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


3. RZN-2021-038 (656 E. Huntsville Road/Hawkins) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-038 located at 656 E. Huntsville Road for approximately 0.20 acres from RSF-8, Residential Single Family, 8 units per acre to RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban.
Pass 7-0

Background:
The property is developed with a single-family home with a driveway accessing Lytton Avenue. The property received its current RSF-8 zoning designation from a request in the early 2000s where several property owners sought to downzone the property from RMF-24, Residential Multi-family, 24 Units per Acre. The applicant stated in their request letter that rezoning will help the city accomplish its goal of increasing density through infill by allowing the development of additional housing on the property in the future.

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

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision
The council advanced the ordinance to the final reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it. Petty recused from the vote, and said while he has no direct interest in this request, he does have interest in a large parcel of land to the east and he intends to use this rezoning as a precedent for a future rezoning request.


4. RZN-2021-039 (4300 block of MLK Jr. Boulevard / Hoskins) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-039 located at the 4300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. for approximately 1.38 acres from R-A, Residential Agricultural to CS, Community Services.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The property is at the city’s western border with Farmington, and is currently undeveloped. The applicant did not submit any associated development plans, but expressed an intent to develop a drive-thru restaurant.

The applicant’s original request was to rezone the property to UT, Urban Thoroughfare, but city planning staff recommended denial of that request, and the Planning Commission later recommended approval of a new request for CS, Community Services.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Gutierrez said she would prefer the recommended zoning district, which is CS-Community Services.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the final reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.


5. VAC-2021-016 (1000 W. Bulldog Ave./Delaware Ave. R-O-W) (Details)

An ordinance to approve VAC 21-016 for property located at 1000 W. Bulldog Blvd. to vacate a portion of public right-of-way.
Pass 8-0

Background:
County records suggest the right-of-way was platted in 1927 with the Oak Park Place subdivision. Staff said the property surrounding the existing right-of-way is owned either by the University of Arkansas or by the Fayetteville Public School district, and very little remains of a residential subdivision in the area.

Both city planners and the Planning Commission recommend approval of the request with the following conditions:

  1. Any damage or relocation of existing facilities will be at the applicant’s expense, or at the expense of the property owner or developer.
  2. A 20-foot utility easement is to be acquired for all utilities currently placed within the right-of-way of Delaware Avenue.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the final reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.


6. VAC-2021-018 (1000 W. Bulldog Blvd./FHS Properties) (Details)

An ordinance to approve VAC 21-0018 for property located at 1000 W. Bulldog Blvd. to vacate a portion of a general utility easement.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The property includes an existing utility easement located to the west of the Alan Fahring Activity Center at Fayetteville High School. The school intends to redevelop their athletic center and associated parking, which will require vacating the existing 20-foot wide easement, relocating, and re-platting a new 25-foot wide general utility easement. Staff said approval of the vacation will allow for the relocation of an existing sewer main to avoid conflicts with future construction.

City planners recommend approval. This item doesn’t need a recommendation from the Planning Commission because last year, the City Council amended city code to allow vacations of utility easements to proceed directly to council without first being heard by the Planning Commission.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the final reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.


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

An ordinance to amend § 120.02 Landlord’s Representative Registry of the city code to require registration of properties utilized as short-term rentals.
Pass 6-2

Background:
A recent law requires landlords in Fayetteville who own three or more rentals to register contact information of a designated representative for each of their properties. At the time, short-term rental property owners were exempted from the law.

When the council was discussing the recently adopted short-term rental regulations, it was suggested by some council members that the exemption be removed so neighbors could more easily contact the owner or representative of a short-term rental in case of a problem.

Discussion:
Hertzberg asked why anyone other than the fire department or police would need to contact the owner of a short-term rental. She said she can’t support this change.

Bunch said there are some real-world “neighborly” instances in which it would be helpful to contact the owner, such as if a branch falls from the neighbor’s tree onto your fence or other property and you need to talk to the owner about having it removed. That would be tricky if the house were being rented out for the week and the owner wasn’t there, she said.

Decision:
The council voted 6-2 to approve the ordinance. Hertzberg and Kinion voted against.


8. Amend §151.01 Definitions and Enact §164.24 Registered Child Care Family Homes (Details)

An ordinance to amend §151.01 Definitions and enact §164.24 Registered Child Care Family Homes of the Fayetteville Unified Development Code to allow the operation of small in-home child care facilities by right throughout the city under certain conditions.
Pass 8-0

Background:
Staff said many families in Fayetteville struggle with the costs associated with childcare. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as 7% of a household income per child, those costs are closer to 26% in Fayetteville.

The city’s current law requires home child care businesses to first obtain a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission. That requirement, staff said, does not align with state law which allows child care in homes without any licensing as long as there are five or fewer children.

It’s estimated that there are between 200 and 300 child care businesses operating locally that do not have the proper permits. Many of those businesses, staff said, attempt to hide their operations, which prevents them from receiving resources like continuing education for providers to childcare vouchers and access to rent or utility assistance.

Staff said representative from the NWA Child Care Association have informed staff that those insecurities and regulatory burdens have influenced advocates to focus on other cities in the region, such as Springdale, Bentonville, and Rogers.

Staff said aside from aligning the city ordinance with state standards, this change would assist in increasing the stock of facilities, and invite advocates back to Fayetteville to promote safer facilities through resource availability.

The change would remove the local stipulation for dedicated outdoor space that is proportional to the number of children, and remove the need for a conditional use permit for facilities with five or fewer children. The amendment allows facilities to open up to additional resources like those promoted by the NWA Child Care Association, which staff said would translate to safer facilities overall.

Discussion:
Tammy Rowland, the administrator of the NWA Family Child Care Association, spoke in favor of the ordinance. There was no other public comment.

Decision:
The council advance the item to the final reading, and voted unanimously to approve it.


9. Amend Chapter 167 Tree Preservation and Protection, Chapter 177 Landscape Regulations and Chapter 151 Definitions (Details)

An ordinance to amend Amend Chapter 167 Tree Preservation and Protection, Chapter 177 Landscape Regulations and Chapter 151 Definitions of the Unified Development Code to offer clarification, efficiencies, and additional options to both tree preservation and landscaping codes.
Left on the first reading

Background:
City staff have suggested changes to clarify standards, reduce redundancies, and streamline processes associated with the city’s tree preservation and landscape codes.

Here’s a summary of the changes:

Discussion:
Petty said while these changes should be passed because they clean up the current language and streamline the process, the city’s tree preservation rules don’t go far enough toward protecting the tree canopy. He said he hopes more proposed changes would soon follow this proposal.

Two people spoke during public comment and said there indeed are more things the city could do, but these changes are needed now.

The council agreed to leave the item on the first reading. The discussion will continue on June 1.


10. Amend §155.04 Council Member Appeal on Behalf of Resident (Details)

An ordinance to amend §155.04 Council Member Appeal on Behalf of Resident to provide for an appeal of every Planning Commission determination or decision involving development or other provision within the Unified Development Code.
Fail 1-6

Background:
Council member Teresa Turk would like the council to be able to appeal every determination of the Planning Commission involving development on behalf on any resident who is opposed to an action taken by the commission.

City staff are against the proposal for the following reasons (read the staff memo):

  • Planning Commissioners hold specialized knowledge in matters of zoning and development that Councilmembers may not possess.
  • The increased potential for an appeal erodes the Commission’s authority.
  • The breadth of potential appeals is expansive and may lead to redundant or duplicative hearings.
  • Ordinance amendments may more-fully resolve a City Council policy concern where an appeal addresses the result of the existing ordinance.
  • Appeals add time and risk to development proposals in an extended period of housing shortage.
  • The Planning Commission is appointed, affording it an apolitical perspective.

Discussion:
Bunch said the Planning Commission plays an important role in that they have specialized knowledge about development issues. She said commissioners don’t take their decisions lightly, and while she doesn’t always agree with their recommendations, she believes in their ability to make sound decisions, especially about topics that the council doesn’t have expertise in. She said she’s leaning against supporting this proposal.

Jones said he’s heard from constituents who are against the proposal because they think it will slow development and because it can be seen as an insult to the city planning staff and Planning Commission. Jones said the city needs more housing and now is not the time to be potentially limiting the development process.

During public comment, Paula Marinoni spoke and said she’s against this proposal because it would add more hurdles to the development process.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, spoke against the proposal. He said the perception that Fayetteville is making development more difficult is widely held and widely discussed. He said if businesses who are considering moving to Fayetteville perceive the city makes it difficult to build and operate, they will move on.

Two others spoke against the proposal, including former council member Kyle Smith.

Petty said the burden of proof is on the applicant to prove that a development decision is good policy and not on the council to prove that it’s not. He said the Planning Commission’s job is to apply the council’s policy so if they’re making bad recommendations, it’s the council’s job to change the policy.

Turk said she thinks her proposal has been mischaracterized and she was only trying to level the playing field. She said she thought the change was minor and she didn’t think it would cause as much of a problem as people have suggested tonight.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the final reading, and voted 1-6 to reject it. Turk cast the only vote in favor. Kinion was absent for the vote.


Adjourned

This meeting was adjourned at 10:18 p.m.

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