Fayetteville City Council recap: July 19, 2022

Flyer file photo

What to watch for

The council will discuss raising the monthly water and sewer rates for customers who live outside the city limits. The rates would stay the same for those whose addresses are inside the city limits. The topic was first brought up in June when the council agreed to hold a public hearing, which is scheduled for tonight.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats unless they are first obtained from and in cooperation with the city’s animal shelter or another animal rescue organization.

There are currently no pet stores in Fayetteville that sell dogs or cats, though some do sponsor adoption events through the city’s animal shelter.

While there aren’t any issues at the moment, the proposal aims to prevent a situation that began in Rogers in 2019 when a pet store franchise that sells puppies from large, commercial breeders opened in the Pinnacle Hills Promenade, according to a staff memo. Since that store opened, it has garnered a lot of negative attention from customers who have purchased sick puppies with a wide variety of health issues from severe worms to Parvo, the memo states.

Tonight’s agenda also includes five rezoning requests and one vacation request.


On the agenda…

  • Changes to some customers’ water and sewer rates.
  • Prohibiting the retail sale of dogs or cats.
  • Rezoning 3.1 acres on Happy Hollow Road.
  • Rezoning 2.99 acres on Skillern Road.
  • Rezoning 0.28 acres on South College Avenue.
  • Rezoning 3.5 acres on Vale Avenue.
  • Rezoning 0.17 acres on Church Avenue.
  • A vacation request on Candlewood Drive.

» Download the full agenda

Meeting info

A meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2022 inside City Hall in Room 219. The meeting is also available on Zoom and is broadcast live on the city’s YouTube channel.

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 Harvey, D’Andre Jones, Mark Kinion, Mike Wiederkehr, 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. Announcement of the completion of the audited 2021 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report – Paul Becker


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 July 5, 2022 City Council Meeting Minutes
Pass 8-0

2. Wilson Bauhaus Interiors (Details): A resolution to approve the purchase of equipment and furnishings for the new Police Headquarters Building from Wilson Bauhaus Interiors and other dealers, as authorized by Resolution 97-21, in the amount of $965,009.91 plus any applicable taxes and shipping charges, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

3. On point Dumpster Rental NWA, LLC (Details): A resolution to approve an agreement with On point Dumpster Rental NWA, LLC for the hauling and disposal of solid waste in the City of Fayetteville.
Pass 8-0

4. SPO Networks, Inc. (Details): A resolution to approve an agreement with SPO Networks, Inc. for the hauling and disposal of solid waste in the City of Fayetteville.
Pass 8-0

5. Sweetser Construction, Inc. (Details): A resolution to award Bid #22-34 and authorize a contract with Sweetser Construction, Inc. in the amount of $362,283.00 for construction of the Wilson Park Trail Bridge Replacement and Promenade Improvements, to approve a project contingency in the amount of $25,000.00, and to approve a budget adjustment.
Pass 8-0

6. City Sales and Use Tax Bonds (Details): A resolution to approve a budget adjustment in the total amount of $75,513,868.00 to appropriate proceeds from the 2022 City Sales and Use Tax Bonds.
Pass 8-0

7. Landscape Structures, Inc. (Details): A resolution to authorize the purchase of playground safety surfacing from Landscape Structures, Inc. for installation at David Lashley and Hotz parks in the amount of $101,039.75 pursuant to a Sourcewell cooperative purchasing contract, and to approve a project contingency in the amount of $10,000.00.
Pass 8-0

8. Arkansas Air and Military Museum, Inc. (Details): A resolution to approve a three year lease agreement with the Arkansas Air and Military Museum, Inc. for property located at Drake Field, with options to renew for additional three-year terms.
Pass 8-0


Public Hearing

1. Public Hearing on the Proposed Ordinance to Change or Establish Water and Sewer Rates (Details)

A resolution to conduct a public hearing on the proposed ordinance to change or establish water and sewer rates.
Certified 8-0

Background:
The city has been conducting a water and sewer rate study since August 2020 in an effort to establish new water and sewer rates “that fully recover the cost of providing service to customers, adequately provide for maintaining and expanding the city’s infrastructure, and provide adequate reserves for future needs.” The current rates were adopted in 2008.

» Click here to see the study

The rate study prepared by Black and Veatch reflects some of the following guidelines:

  1. The city has adopted a cost of service rate schedule based on customer class.
  2. The city is using a volumetric block system within customer class to encourage
    conservation.
  3. New rates reflecting the true cost of service by customer class as determined by the rate
    study will be implemented on January 1, 2023.
  4. A 3% annual inflation increase shall be applied at the first of each new calendar year until
    a new study is adopted.

The study recommends various changes, including a 3% increase for monthly water and sewer service charges for those outside the city limits by 2026.

» See the full recommendations here

Discussion:
Heith Caudle, mayor of West Fork, said the sewer rate changes will have a major affect on West Fork residents since that city entered into a contract with Fayetteville for sewer service. Caudle said if anything, West Fork’s rates should be lowered since his city has already used reserve funds to pay for the city’s pass-through service.

Ernie Penn, mayor of Farmington, said he hopes to be able to sit down with city leaders to negotiate any rate changes.

Decision:
The council voted 8-0 to certify that a public hearing was held.


Unfinished Business

1. An Ordinance to Amend §51.136 Monthly Water Rates and §51.137 Monthly Sewer Rates to Change Water and Sewer Rates: (Details)

An ordinance to amend §51.136 Monthly Water Rates and §51.137 Monthly Sewer Rates to change water and sewer rates as recommended by the cost of service study conducted by Black & Veatch.
Tabled 8-0 until Dec. 6

Background:
This ordinance would make the recommended changes to the city’s water and sewer rates as discussed in the public hearing on tonight’s agenda.

The changes would apply to water and sewer customers who live outside the city limits. Rates would stay the same for those whose addresses are inside the city limits.

Discussion:
Paul Becker, the city’s chief financial officer, asked that the ordinance be tabled to allow time to meet with Farmington city leaders to negotiate a new contract. He requested the item be held until Dec. 6.

Mayor Jordan said he would also like to table the item to allow time to make some changes to the recommendations.


2. RZN-2022-021 (S. Happy Hollow Road/Black Pine Construction and Development) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 22-021 located at 248 S. Happy Hollow Road in Ward 1 for approximately 3.1 acres from RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre to NC, Neighborhood Conservation.
Pass 5-4

Background:
The property is about 800 feet south of the Mount Sequoyah Woods trailhead. It is developed with a single-family home. A request to rezone the property to RI-U, Residential Intermediate, Urban was brought forward in August 2021 which was ultimately denied by the Planning Commission. The applicant has not submitted an associated development proposal.

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

Location:

June 21 Discussion:
Robert Rhoads, an attorney who represents the applicant, said after the previous request was denied, the applicant listened to the Planning Commission’s comments and has revised the request appropriately. He asked that the council advance the ordinance to the third reading and approve it tonight.

Rhoads said while there are no plans yet, the applicant anticipates that there will be between 16-20 lots on the property.

Turk said she has some concerns about the request and would like to take a closer look at the property before making a decision. She suggested holding the item for two weeks until July 5. The council agreed.

July 5 Discussion:
Rhoads said it’s quite likely that the tree preservation will exceed the city’s requirements, based on the topography of the site.

There was no public comment.

Turk said after driving by the property and through the surrounding area, she thinks the requested district would allow too much density for the neighborhood.

Harvey said it’s a tough call, because she has heard some concerns about drainage and density, but the city needs more housing and there have been some improvements to the city’s development requirements when it comes to drainage.

Bunch agreed, and said the city needs more housing, especially in this part of town, so she’ll support the request.

Jones said he heard from some residents who’d like the council to wait another two weeks before making a decision.

The council agreed. The discussion will continue on July 19.

July 19 Discussion:
Several neighbors spoke in favor of the request and said the area needs more housing. Others spoke against the rezoning and said more density would lead to traffic and drainage issues.

Scroggin said the area is prime for more density since there’s a nearby school and park within walking distance. Hertzberg agreed.

Wiederkehr said the current high volume of traffic on Happy Hollow gives him concerns about increasing the density allowance in the area.

Turk said she thinks some of the drainage concerns from the neighbors are warranted. She also said the neighbors should know that the current zoning allows two-family structures with a conditional use permit, so even if the rezoning isn’t approved, the area could see added density.

Kinion and Harvey said they agree with the neighbors who are concerned about drainage and a potential traffic increase.

Decision:
The council voted 5-4 to approve the ordinance. Jones, Scroggin, Bunch and Hertzberg voted in favor, and Mayor Jordan broke the tie.


3. RZN 22-022 (3061 E. Skillern Rd./Bearden) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 22-022 located at 3061 E. Skillern Road in Ward 3 for approximately 2.99 acres from R-A, Residential-Agricultural to RSF-4, Residential Single Family, 4 units per acre.
Left on the second reading

Background:
The property is 0.10 miles east of the intersection of Old Wire Road and Crossover Rd. It includes one single-family home. The site is currently zoned R-A, Residential Agricultural. The applicant would like to rezone the property to RSF-4, Residential Single-Family 4 units per ace.

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

Location:

July 5 Discussion:
The applicant said the plan is to add one single-family home to the property, and the rezoning is needed to build the home the way they want with certain setbacks.

Scroggin said some residents have told him they’d prefer RSF-2 instead of RSF-4, so he asked whether the applicant could still build their home in that district. The applicant said the setback requirements of RSF-2 would not allow a proper lot split to build the second home. Staff said the city’s updated tandem lot option could be a solution within RSF-2.

Hertzberg said she doesn’t think RSF-4 is a problem for the area, especially considering the property is mostly surrounded by RSF-4. She said all the of concerns she’s heard from neighbors were alleviated by the applicant’s statement that the plan is to only build one additional home.

Robert Rhoads, a resident who lives nearby, requested the item be held on the first reading tonight.

The council agreed. The discussion will continue on July 19.

July 19 Discussion:
Robert Rhoads, a resident who lives nearby, said he would like the council to hold the item on the second reading to allow more time to discuss the request with the applicant. Rhoads said he hopes to convince the applicant to submit a Bill of Assurance that would limit density to four homes on their property.

Hertzberg said the applicant is simply asking for the same property rights as their surrounding neighbors and it isn’t fair to ask them to limit density on their property when the other neighbors don’t have to do the same.

Scroggin said he’s fine waiting, but he agrees with Hertzberg in that RSF-4 is an appropriate district for an area that is already mostly zoned RSF-4.

The ordinance was left on the second reading. The discussion will continue on Aug. 2.


4. VAC 22-015 (2584 N. Candlewood Dr./Harbaugh) (Details)

An ordinance to approve VAC 22-015 for property located at 2584 N. Candlewood Drive in Ward 3 to vacate a portion of a drainage easement.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The property is roughly a quarter-mile north of the Candlewood’s intersection with Township Street. It includes a single- family home, and an elevated driveway and retaining wall with a 24-inch corrugated metal pipe. City records indicate that the driveway and retaining wall were built without proper building permitting, review, or inspections. The applicant proposes to vacate a portion of an existing drainage easement.

City planners recommend in favor of the request under the condition that new drainage pipe be installed and approved by the city, and the old pipe filled with approved materials prior to final approval of the vacation. The Planning Commission does not hear these types of vacation requests.

Location:

July 5 Discussion:
The applicant requested the item be left on the first reading. The council agreed. The discussion will continue on July 19.

July 19 Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


New Business

1. RZN 22-024 (502 S. College Ave./Davis) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 22-024 located at 502 S. College Ave. in Ward 1 for approximately 0.28 acres from NC, Neighborhood Conservation to RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The property is roughly 250 feet north of the intersection of South College Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It contains one single-family home. The property is within the Walker Park Neighborhood Master Plan area, and received its current zoning designation of NC, Neighborhood Conservation as a result of that plan in 2008.

The applicant said the plan is to subdivide and redevelop the property to include two single-family homes.

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

Location:

Discussion:
Harvey and Jones said they haven’t heard from any residents about the request.

There was no public comment.

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


2. RZN 22-026 (2015 S. Vale Ave./Titan Vale, LLC.) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 22-026 located at 2015 S. Vale Ave. in Ward 1 for approximately 3.50 acres from NS-G, Neighborhood Services-General to CS, Community Services.
Pass 8-0

Background:
The properties are in south Fayetteville and are largely undeveloped aside from one single-family home. Previously a staff-initiated rezoning associated with the implementation of the Fayette Junction Master Plan in 2011 designated the property as CS, Community Services. Unbuilt street right-of-way running east-west bisects the property about 325 feet north of Cato Springs Road. County records show the right-of-way was platted in 1924 with the Meadow Vale Subdivision as Hendon Street. Another 10-foot-wide leg of alley right-of-way runs from the unbuilt Hendon Street right-of-way to the north property line. There is no indication that either segment was ever improved or utilized by the public.

Several development applications have been sought on the site. The properties were rezoned to their current NS-G designation in February. After the property was rezoned to NS-G, a conditional use permit was approved by the Planning Commission to allow Use Unit 26, Multi-family Dwellings. A previous request to vacate the Hendon Street right-of-way failed at the April 20, 2021 City Council meeting. Another request to vacate the 10-foot-wide alley right-of-way was approved by the Planning Commission in May, but is waiting for consent from an adjacent property owner before it can be placed on a council agenda.

The applicant said the plan is to develop the site like other nearby residential properties, and that the new district is needed because of an existing requirement which limits the applicant from achieving the permitted density under the current zoning. The applicant’s request letter states that the most recent rezoning request was to gain relief from a 10-foot front setback associated CS zoning.

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

Location:

Discussion:
There was no public comment.

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


3. RZN 22-025 (507 S. Church Ave.) (Details)

An ordinance to rezone that property described in rezoning petition RZN 22-025 located at 507 S. Church Ave. in Ward 1 for approximately 0.17 acres from NC, Neighborhood Conservation to RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban.
Tabled 8-0 to Aug. 16

Background:
The property is in south Fayetteville on the west side of Church Avenue, about halfway between the street’s intersections with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Archibald Yell Boulevard. It contains one single-family home, and lies within the 71B Corridor Plan and Walker Park Master Plan areas. It received its current zoning designation of NC, Neighborhood Conservation, as a result of the Walker Park plan.

The applicant actually requested the DG, Downtown General zoning district in order to allow for a fourplex development that would be linked with the property to the west.

City planners are in favor of the original DG, Downtown General request, but the Planning Commission instead forwarded the request to the council with a recommendation for the RI-U, Residential Intermediate-Urban.

Some commissioners said they had concerns about the nonresidential uses and building heights allowed in the DG zoning district, given the established residential character of the neighborhood.

The applicant verbally supported altering the request to RI-U at the Planning Commission meeting, but has since expressed a desire to maintain their original request for DG, according to a staff memo. The applicant also inquired about possibly offering a Bill of Assurance.

Location:

Discussion:
The applicant requested the item be tabled until the Aug. 16 meeting. The council agreed.


4. Amend §92.04 Sale of Diseased Animals; Kennel and Pet Shop Regulation (Details)

An ordinance to amend § 92.04 Sale of Diseased Animals; Kennel and Pet Shop Regulation to prohibit the retail sale of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens unless obtained from and in cooperation with the Fayetteville Animal Shelter or another animal rescue organization, and to declare an emergency.
Pass 8-0

Background:
This ordinance would prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats unless they are first obtained from and in cooperation with the city’s animal shelter or another animal rescue organization.

There are currently no pet stores in Fayetteville that sell dogs or cats. The city’s two biggest pet supply retailers – Petco and Petsmart – both have corporate mandates against the sale of dogs and cats. Some stores do sponsor adoption events through the city’s animal shelter.

While there aren’t any issues at the moment, the proposal aims to prevent a situation that began in Rogers in 2019 when a Petland store opened in the Pinnacle Hills Promenade, according to a staff memo. Since that store opened, it has garnered a lot of negative attention from customers who have purchased sick puppies with a wide variety of health issues from severe worms to Parvo, the memo states.

Discussion:
City Attorney Kit Williams proposed an amendment that would require the city’s Animal Services department to approve which government or nonprofit animal shelters or rescue organizations could cooperate with a store that wants to sell pets. The council passed that amendment 8-0.

Justine Lentz, the city’s animal services superintendent, said her department has seen several animals come through the shelter that were raised in puppy mills and it’s a sad situation.

Animals raised in those conditions, she said, often have health problems and an inherent fear of humans because they’re typically treated like livestock.

Lentz said the animal services board researched and discussed the proposal, and found similar legislation in more than 300 cities in 26 states across the country, including a new law that was passed in Dallas, Texas in May.

Karen Barker, a representative for Petland Inc., said the company does its best to make sure the puppies it sells get plenty of interaction with humans before being sold.

“We have procedures and protocols in place,” Barker said. “We are always focusing on the one priority, which is the health and happiness of the puppy while it’s at the store.”

Samantha Boyle, who owns a Petland franchise with stores in Joplin, Missouri and Rogers, said she hopes to soon open a new Fayetteville store.

Boyle said the claims about her Rogers store were unsubstantiated. She said she knows for a fact that none of the breeders she’s ever worked with would be considered puppy mills.

“A lot of the breeders we use are people just like you,” she told the council.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said the council could be overstepping its boundaries by trying to regulate what can be sold just because it doesn’t like how the product is being sold.

Clark said he was also discouraged to hear that the new Petland store in Fayetteville has gotten through all the processes required to open and is now facing a potential new regulation.

Williams said this wouldn’t be the first time the council has put regulations on the sale of dogs or cats. He said the city once allowed pets to be sold in parking lots, but that’s no longer the case.

The proposal on the table tonight, he said, is not targeting Petland.

“We’re not directing this at any particular store,” said Williams. “We want all the stores in Fayetteville to refrain from practices that facilitate puppy mills.”

Councilmember Teresa Turk asked if the ordinance could be held on the first reading to allow the Petland owners time to talk with the city’s animal services department about their specific practices and prototcols.

Councilmember Sloan Scroggin said regardless of when a decision is made, it should be independent of the planned Petland store.

“I feel like this can’t be about Petland,” Scroggin said. “It needs to be about whether we want a certain type of business prohibited or not.”

Kinion agreed, and said while the local Petland franchise owners might run a clean shop, that doesn’t mean other stores won’t act in a way that facilitates large-scale breeders.

Councilmember Holly Hertzberg, who co-sponsored the measure along with Councilmember Sarah Bunch, said she was ready to make a decision immediately.

“For me, this is not to do with any particular business,” Hertzberg said. “This is about the care of animals.”

In the final decision, the council voted 8-0 to approve the measure.

Tuesday’s proposal came with an attached emergency clause motion, that would’ve put the new law in immediate effect, but the motion failed after Kinion, Turk and Wiederkehr voted against. An emergency clause requires a supermajority to pass.

Before the vote, Mayor Lioneld Jordan said had it come down to a tie, he would’ve voted to support the proposal.

“I believe that this type of ordinance needs to be passed, not because of any particular business, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Jordan said.

» Read our full story here


Adjourned

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

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