LIVE UPDATES: Fayetteville City Council recap: Aug. 17, 2021

Fayetteville Government Channel

On the agenda…

  • A cash incentive program to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Approving the 2022 employee benefits package.
  • Creating a new Outdoor Refreshment Area at Centennial Park.
  • Establishing a commission to preserve historical Black structures and cemeteries.
  • Several appeals of Planning Commission decisions.

» Download the full agenda

Meeting Info

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17, 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, Mark Kinion, Matthew Petty, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Sloan Scroggin, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk, Holly Hertzberg
Absent: D’Andre Jones

» 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. Approval of the Aug. 3, 2021 City Council Meeting minutes
Pass 7-0

2. Community Development Block Grant Program (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the amount of $6,389.00 recognizing revenue from the Community Development Block Grant Program to provide staff support for the Yvonne Richardson Community Center Kids Nite Afterschool Program for the 2021 fall semester.
Pass 7-0

3. Garver, LLC Amendment No. 1 – 2019 Drainage Improvements Bond Project (Details): A resolution to approve Amendment No. 1 to the professional engineering services agreement with Garver, LLC in the amount of $71,300.00 for design and construction phase services associated with the Missouri Creek Drainage Basin Project, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Drainage Improvements Bond Project.
Pass 7-0

4. Bid #21-62 Kajacs Contractors, Inc. (Details): A resolution to award Bid #21-62 and authorize a contract with Kajacs Contractors, Inc. in the amount of $748,000.00 for construction of the Richland Creek Waterline Crossing Project, and to approve a project contingency in the amount of $149,600.00.
Pass 7-0

5. Bid #21-52 Arcstar Electric, LLC – 2019 Street Improvement Bond Project (Details): A resolution to award Bid #21-52 and authorize a contract with Arcstar Electric, LLC in the amount of $598,443.00 for the installation of decorative lighting on Spring Street from West Avenue to College Avenue, to approve a project contingency in the amount of $60,000.00, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Street Improvement Bond Project.
Pass 7-0

6. Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) Woolsey Working Farm (Details): A resolution to approve a 3-year lease agreement with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust for approximately 4.3 acres of property located east of Broyles Road to develop and manage the Woolsey Working Farm, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 7-0


Unfinished Business

1. Appeal ADM-2021-038 (2512 W. Mount Comfort Road/Hays) (Details)

A resolution to grant the appeal of Daniel Hays and approve a major modification of large-scale development LSD 19-6780 by granting a variance to the city’s access management standards to allow a second driveway at 2512 W. Mount Comfort Road.
Fail 1-6

Background: This item was tabled at the Aug. 3 meeting.

The property is currently the site of a mobile home park, a barn, and semi-trailer storage. In 2013, large-scale development was approved to develop a Kum & Go gas station on the property, but construction never occurred so the development entitlements expired. A second large-scale development was approved in 2019 to develop a Casey’s General Store which was built. As a part of the Casey’s plan, the applicant proposed to close an off-site driveway to address traffic safety concerns. Staff said that closure was a factor in their support for a new curb cut onto Mount Comfort that serves Casey’s, and the Planning Commission required it to be closed as a part of their project approval. The applicant is now requesting a modification to the Casey’s plan to allow use of the driveway.

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

Location:

Aug. 3 Discussion: One person spoke in favor of the appeal.

Scroggin said it sounds like there is a legal dispute between Casey’s and the applicant, and that it might need to be decided by a judge, not the City Council. He said he’d like to table the item to allow the city attorney to take a closer look.

Bunch moved to table for two weeks. The motion passed 8-0. The discussion will continue on Aug. 17.

Aug. 17 Discussion: Hertzberg asked if the council could provide the variance to the Hayes family, but limit it only to them and not to anyone in the future if the property is sold.

City Attorney Kit Williams said it would be very difficult legally to accomplish that without first negotiating it with an attorney representing the Hayes family. He said that type of language would need to be very specific and couldn’t be crafted on the spot tonight.

Hertzberg moved to table the item, but there was no second.

Decision:
The resolution failed 1-6. Hertzberg cast the only vote in favor. Jones was not present for the vote.


2. Amend § 158.05 Off-site Improvements/Delays (Details)

An ordinance to amend § 158.05 Off-site Improvements/Delays to conform this section to the requirements of A.C.A. §14-56-103 Development Impact Fees-Definition.
Pass 7-0

Background: This item was left on the first reading at the Aug. 3 meeting.

Staff said the city’s laws regarding refund procedures for off-site impact fees need to be amended to clarify that they comply with state law. The issue arose after a church received a refund of off-site impact fees from the city and later claimed that the amount should have included more interest than what the deposit actually earned in the city’s interest-bearing account.

City Attorney Kit Williams disagreed and said state law only requires cities to refund the actually accrued interest of a deposit amount. To prevent further confusion, Williams recommend the council amend city code to clarify that information.

Aug. 3 Discussion: Williams said he’d like the council to hold the item to allow him time to bring back a slight amendment. The council agreed. The discussion will continue on Aug. 17.

Aug. 17 Discussion: Williams’s changes are noted in his memo at the end of the agenda item packet.

The council amended the ordinance 7-0 to include the updates.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the third reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it.


New Business

1. A Program To Use Federal Covid-19 Funds (Details)

A resolution to request that the administration establish a program to use federal Covid-19 relief funds to encourage unvaccinated employees of businesses in Fayetteville and Fayetteville residents to get vaccinated.
Pass 7-0

Background: This proposal would create a cash incentive program to encourage Fayetteville residents and employees of Fayetteville businesses to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The idea was first discussed at a meeting of the Fayetteville Advertising & Promotion Commission. At the time, Council Member Petty suggested the city provide a matching dollar amount to employers who already give money to their employees for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Petty has since said he would support a program that does not require a match, and that gives $100 to anyone who either lives in town or works in town after they show proof of full vaccination.

Discussion: Petty said he’d like to amend the proposal to set a $400,000 budget using federal COVID relief funds and continue the program through Oct. 15, 2021.

He also suggested the amendment include language stating that special emphasis should be taken to ensure healthcare and social assistance workers, educators and support staffs, and hotel and food service workers reach the highest percentage possible for vaccinations. The language also encourages local courts to consider reducing existing and future fines that otherwise would go to the city to persons who quickly become vaccinated after the passage of the resolution.

Turk said she’s concerned about the $400,000 amount. She said she likes the idea, but hasn’t seen programs like these succeed around the country. She said she doesn’t want to tie up $400,000 that could be spent elsewhere if it’s needed. She suggested instead budgeting $200,000 and increasing the budget later if it’s successful and there’s money available.

“I hope that all of it is used, but we haven’t really seen that kind of response,” said Turk. “I just don’t want money left on the table idly if it is not successful.”

Petty said he thinks the $100 incentive is higher than what some areas and businesses have offered. He said if businesses want to add money to the program for their employees – which some are doing, it could be more successful here. He said he wants to make sure there’s enough money to administer the program, so he’d like to stick with the $400,000, especially considering there’s an end date of Oct. 15.

Scroggin said while it’s a high dollar amount, the payoff could be exponential in savings for local hospitals and businesses that could stay open longer. He said he doesn’t think the funds will be used up in less than two months, so he’d like to keep the full $400,000 budget allotment. Gutierrez agreed, and said she thinks the number is actually conservative.

Kinion said he’s also worried about tying up $400,000 in federal funds. He said he, too, would like to budget less now and increase it later if necessary. He motioned to set the cap at $250,000. Turk seconded. The amendment failed 2-5 with only Turk and Kinion voting in favor.

The original amendment for $400,000 passed 7-0.

City staff said the program could be rolled out in about two weeks, but it would cover anyone who becomes fully vaccinated as of today (Aug. 17).

Decision:
The council voted 7-0 to approve the resolution.


2. Ozark Tennis Academy (Details)

An ordinance to waive the requirements of formal competitive bidding and approve a contract with Ozark Tennis Academy, LLC to provide tennis instruction to Fayetteville residents.
Pass 7-0

Background: Ozark Tennis Academy earlier this year was selected as the tennis instruction provider for the city’s Parks and Recreation tennis programs after three vendors submitted proposals. Staff said Ozark Tennis Academy was selected based on a selection criteria, in which the company will be paid 90% of program registration for the tennis instruction.

Staff said it was not anticipated that fees for instruction service would exceed $20,000, but the tennis programs have proven to be more successful than expected with the spring group session having 42 participants and 63 private lesson participants. The summer group session, which is currently taking place, has 60 participants and the youth summer camp has 63 participants. Tennis instruction payments for these programs have so far totaled $16,559. The expected participation for the remainder of 2021, including the upcoming fall program, is expected to result in excess of $20,000 payment to for tennis instruction.

This proposal would cover the expected overage.

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the third reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it.


3. VAC-2021-020 (61 S. Harmon Rd./FHS Properties) (Details)

An ordinance to approve VAC 21-020 for property located adjacent to 61 S. Harmon Road to vacate a portion of an alley right-of-way.
Pass 7-0

Background: The property includes 0.159 acres of unbuilt alley right-of-way within the Fayetteville High School campus. The applicant proposes to vacate the property to allow for renovations to their athletic complex.

Both city planners and the Planning Commission recommend approval 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. Adjacent property owner consent must be on file with City staff.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the item to the third reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it.


4. 2022 Employee Benefits Package (Details)

A resolution to approve the 2022 employee benefits package.
Tabled 6-1

Background: The employee benefits package for 2022 is outlined below:

Health Insurance: The one-year look back period of the city’s health claims shows a 91.2% utilization rate of claims paid versus premiums paid. Under the city’s current renewal rate guarantee with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, this utilization rate would result in a 6% premium increase for 2022 for the city’s medical plans. City staff and the broker have reviewed the structures of the plans and utilization of the city’s current offerings of both the HSA-compliant, HDHP and the PPO plan and recommend plan modifications to both plans to negate the 6% premium increase and lower premiums for both plans in 2022 as compared to current 2021 premiums.

The 2022 HDHP plan will have a lower deductible ($2800 individual/$5600 family), after deductible is met coinsurance will be 80%, maximum in-network out of pocket ($5600 individual/$11,200 family). In adopting this plan structure, the overall premium will decrease by 7.4% from current year’s premiums.

The 2022 PPO plan will have a higher deductible ($1500 individual/$3000 family), however; this plan will provide co-pays for primary care, specialists and urgent care visits, co-insurance will be 80%, maximum out of pocket ($4500 individual/$9000 family).

In adopting this plan structure, the overall premium will decrease by 0.6% from current year’s premiums.

Staff and the broker recommend renewing with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield for 2022 with the proposed plan structure changes and premium decreases of 7.4% to the HDHP option and 0.6% to the PPO option. By moving to the proposed plans, staff said annual cost savings will be over $800,000.00 to premiums.

COBRA: Staff recommends changing vendors for COBRA administration to Consolidated Admin Services (CAS). The move to CAS will cost an additional $2,556 annually over WageWorks based on current enrollment. CAS is an Arkansas-based provider that will provide better communication and support for internal and external customers than the current vendor.

City-paid life and LTD benefits: OneAmerica has provided a rate hold on Employer Paid Basic Life and Employer Paid LTD products for 2022. Staff recommends renewing with OneAmerica for the same benefit coverage and current rates.

Flexible spending accounts: Staff recommends American Fidelity continue as the administrator of Flexible Spending Accounts with no cost for services.

Health savings accounts: Staff recommends First Security Bank continue as the administrator of Health Savings Accounts with no cost for services.

Employee paid dental insurance: Delta Dental has provided a rate hold for 2022. Staff recommends renewing with Delta Dental.

Voluntary employee paid benefits: OneAmerica has provided a rate hold for 2022 on employee paid Short Term Disability and Employee Paid Life Insurance. Staff recommends renewing with OneAmerica for these products.

Supplemental benefits paid by employees: Staff recommends continuing to offer additional supplemental benefits to employees through American Fidelity which include: Disability Income Insurance, Accident Only Insurance, Cancer Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, Life Insurance, AF Term Life Insurance, AAF Permanent Life Insurance and Hospital Gap Insurance.

Discussion:
The council voted 6-1 to table the item until next Tuesday (Aug. 24). Petty voted against.


5. Amend § 97.081 Intoxicating Beverages (Details)

An ordinance to amend § 97.081 Intoxicating Beverages of the Fayetteville Code regarding possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on city park property and trails within the downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area, and to clarify that the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on any other city park property or trail is subject to special event permit approval.
Pass 7-0

Background: This proposal would allow possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on city park property and trails within the Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area, and would clarify that alcohol on any other city park property or trail is subject to a special event permit. It would also allow for future expansions of the ORA, such as a forthcoming amendment to include West Avenue and the trail between the Mill District and Dickson Street.

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it.


6. Amend § 111.07 Outdoor Refreshment Area (Details)

An ordinance to amend § 111.07 Outdoor Refreshment Area to create the Centennial Park Outdoor Refreshment Area.
Pass 7-0

Background: This proposal would create a new Outdoor Refreshment Area at Centennial Park during special events.

The new bike park will host a UCI Cyclocross World Cup race on Oct. 13, and the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships on Jan. 29-30.

The city currently has two Outdoor Refreshment Areas – one in downtown and another at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center.

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 7-0 to approve it.


7. Commission to Preserve Historical Black Structures and Cemeteries (Details)

A resolution to establish a commission to preserve historical Black structures and cemeteries and to create Black historical markers in Fayetteville.
Pass 7-0

Background:
This proposal would create a commission that works to preserve historical Black structures and cemeteries and identify locations for Black historical markers in an effort to recognize the struggles and achievements of Black citizens. The resolution states that the efforts would promote diversity and equality and would oppose discrimination in Fayetteville.

The commission would also work in collaboration with the Fayetteville Historic District Commission, the Washington County Historical Society, and the Washington County Remembrance Project to provide guidance and recommendations to the City Council concerning possible street name changes.

Discussion:
Council Member D’Andre Jones proposed the resolution, but he is absent tonight after a recent surgery.

City Attorney Kit Williams said Jones requested the resolution be voted on tonight. He said once established, the council’s Nominating Committee would take up the duty of interviewing applicants and recommending members for council approval at a later time.

During public comment, Tyler Wagner said he supports removing any potentially racist street names around town. He said the Heritage Village neighborhood off Wedington Drive contains street names like Plantation and Chattel, which are words used in conjunction with slavery.

Council Member Turk said she agrees that the street names are offensive. Hertzberg suggested the name changes be discussed at the next Ward 4 meeting.

Decision:
The council voted 7-0 to approve the resolution.


8. Appeal RZN-2021-051 (S. Futrall Dr. east of 1-49/Barnes South Parcel) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-051 located east of Futrall Drive between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Wedington Drive for approximately 9.40 acres from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to UT, Urban Thoroughfare.
Fail 0-6

Background:
This item is part of an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of three rezoning requests.

The Planning Commission last month voted to deny this request, stating that the high intensity uses in UT were not compatible at the proposed location. Some commissioners asked whether the applicant had considered a CS, Community Services zoning district for the site. Staff documents indicated the applicant was not interested, since CS does not currently allow mini-storage as a use by-right or conditionally.

City staff are also against the request, stating that it is not consistent with adopted land use policies, the Future Land Use Map designation, and the goals of City Plan 2040.

Location:

Discussion:
Tom Terminella spoke on behalf of the applicant and said the southern parcel would be used for a mini-storage business. He said the other two parcels would be developed with multi-family dwellings.

During public comment, three people spoke against the request. Most said they are worried about the impact of development on the Markham Hill forest to the east.

Council Member Scroggin said a blanket rezoning that could allow up to seven stories on the property is not appropriate. He also said it’s not the right area for a storage facility.

“I think the Planning Commission got this right,” said Scroggin.

Scroggin said if the applicant wants to bring a Planned Zoning District with specific designs, he might consider some type of development in the area, but for now he’d like to vote against all three rezonings tonight.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 0-6 to deny it. Petty’s vote wasn’t audible.


9. Appeal RZN-2021-052 (S. Futrall Dr. east of 1-49/Barnes Central Parcel) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-052 located east of Futrall Drive between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Wedington Drive for approximately 1.37 acres from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to UT, Urban Thoroughfare.
Fail 0-6

Background:
This item is part of an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of three rezoning requests.

The Planning Commission last month voted to deny this request, stating that UT was too high intensity of a zoning designation for the lot, but found that CS, Community Services may have been a more appropriate request. Commissioners in favor of the request stated that Futrall Drive suggested that development pressure would continue for this area and it needed to be considered thoughtfully, and felt that urban form zoning districts were a compatible fit at this location.

City staff are also against the request, stating that it is not consistent with adopted land use policies, the Future Land Use Map designation, and the goals of City Plan 2040.

Location:

Discussion:
Terminella said it’s clear the rezonings won’t be approved, so he asked that the remaining ordinances be withdrawn.

City Attorney Kit Williams said the best way to move forward is to continue with the process and either approve or deny the requests.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 0-6 to deny it. Petty’s vote wasn’t audible.


10. Appeal RZN-2021-052 (S. Futrall Dr. east of 1-49/Barnes North Parcel) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 21-052 located east of Futrall Drive between Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Wedington Drive for approximately 9.77 acres from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to UT, Urban Thoroughfare.
Fail 0-6

Background:
This item is part of an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of three rezoning requests.

The Planning Commission last month voted to deny this request, stating that CS may be a compatible request at this location, but this particular site merited the most attention towards preservation and low-density. The applicant indicated no interest in amending their request, according to staff documents.

City staff are also against the request, stating that it is incompatible at this location.

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

Decision:
The council advanced the ordinance to the third reading, and voted 0-6 to deny it. Petty’s vote wasn’t audible.



Adjourned

This meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

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