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

Unique house on Center Street demolished

Home torn down to become nature area
BY BRETT BENNETT Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/72469/
The steep hillside along Center Street east of Duncan Avenue makes the land challenging to build on for developers.

Now, the one remaining structure that was at the top of the small ravine is no more, and for the upcoming new year, the hillside is undeveloped once again and being restored to a more natural habitat.

Just before the July 4 holiday, a small brown flat-roof apartment building known for featuring a sign with the words "Be Free" on the front door was torn down by the University of Arkansas, the current owner of the property. The demolished building was located near the recently built Duncan Avenue Apartments owned by the university.

"That was one of my renters who put that sign up," former property owner Tom Howard said.

The home might have stood out to drivers going by for two reasons. It was the only building on that north-side stretch of Center Street in recent years, and the flat roof made it difficult to discern if it was a residence or small commercial office building.

"It was unique," Howard said. "I really liked it."

Although it looked short from the road because of the way the building was positioned against the hillside, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Mike Johnson said it had an upstairs and downstairs. The home actually had a driveway that went down into the ravine, but the driveway is also now gone.

"Downstairs there was a garage. If you had anything bigger than a Volkswagen you couldn't fit it in there," Howard said.

It was most recently used by the contractor working on the Duncan Avenue Apartments.

"We used it as a construction office," Johnson said. "It wasn't in very good shape."

The structure was originally built in the late 1940s by Harry Vandergriff, a retired Fayetteville School District superintendent, administrator and high school football coach.

Vandergriff and his wife built two homes on that side of Center Street. One was a white stucco structure that was torn down several years ago, and the next one they built was the recently demolished brown home, he said.

They moved into the brown building and rented rooms in the white stucco house to UA students, he said.

"We built it and we moved into it and had our first child," he said.

They found a builder who helped construct the house but it was built without any formal building plan designed by an architect, Vandergriff said.

They lived in the home for a brief time then sold it and built a new house on Virginia Avenue. Vandergriff said the location of the home on Center Street was convenient to the high school.

"We enjoyed it while we were there," he said.

The university has since built a paved trail path behind the home that goes behind the new apartments.

"It's kind of the beginning of what we're calling the Oak Ridge Trail," Johnson said.

According to Linda Osterich, an employee in the city's permit office, the city has issued 30 demolition permits for 2008, most of which were for commercial structures.

The University of Arkansas does not have to obtain a permit from the city offices to raze or build a structure, she said.

Also, a demolition permit for a single-family house is not always required provided the nature of the demolition meets certain requirements, she said. A single-family home demolition may be permit exempt, for example, if it affects only one structure and not multiple houses within the same area, she said.

Other demolitions in Fayetteville for 2008 include the former Beer Barn building at 646 W. Sycamore within the last month.

It was formerly used as a beer store and the one-time location of Soap & Suds, a laundry where people could reportedly drink while washing their clothes. After Beer Barn, it was the first location for the Church at Arkansas before the church moved to a commercial building on Mission Boulevard.

According to records at the Washington County Assessor's Office, the structure was approximately 5,510 square feet and built in 1984. The records indicated the building was owned by Lenwyn K. and Kathy Edens until Feb. 15, 2006, when it was sold for $500,000 to Blind Squirrel in the Barn, LLC.

After demolishing the building, workers tore up the concrete in the parking lot to be crushed and re-used as rock.

City Planner Jeremy Pate said a request was made and approved early this year to use the property to build additional apartments for the Skate Place Condominiums on Chestnut Street north of the one-time Beer Barn location.

"There are three buildings each with five units, and they will each have 15 units," he said. "It's a small project, but it's extended to the north."

According to the city's permit office, no one has yet applied for the building permit to build the new structure. A demolition permit was granted earlier this month.

The Fayetteville School District also demolished a home, which was technically a portable building, behind Asbell Elementary School this past semester.

The district used the space to house its "resource center," and it moved to the Jefferson Building which houses the district's adult and community education program.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

FNHA, city dedicate Mount Sequoyah Woods, new pavilion and perpetual easement

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Efforts Aim To Preserve Fayetteville’s Urban Forest

By Skip Descant The Morning News
FAYETTEVILLE — The mayor is calling it Fayetteville’s Central Park. It’s 67 acres of trails winding their way along the east side of Mount Sequoyah, eventually bringing hikers to the new Underwood-Lindsey Pavilion.

“This land we’re seeing right now is preserved in perpetuity,” Mayor Dan Coody said to a crowd gathered about two weeks ago under the new pavilion built of Arkansas boulders and enormous white oak timbers.

The land, known as Mount Sequoyah Woods, is owned by Fayetteville, with the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association holding the easement. This preserves the property from development. The natural heritage association raised $479,000 to help purchase the property that until 2006 was owned by the Western Methodist Assembly. The final payment to the city completing the association’s commitment to raise $300,000 was completed about a month ago.

“Our success has been way beyond our wildest dreams,” Bob Caulk, a member of the association, told the Fayetteville City Council recently.

The forest — which some naturalists say supports 15 squirrels per acre, a conservative figure — was in danger of being developed.

“There were at least two developers looking at this property,” Coody said as construction crews could be heard in the distance.

Like many Ozark hillsides, Mount Sequoyah Woods was logged in the early 1900s, and still holds the remnants of a few old homesteads, Caulk said.

“There are several stone walls in the park, suggesting farming,” Caulk explained. “There are many trees scattered throughout the park that are older, perhaps virgin, but most are less than 100 years old.”

But today, the park is a maze of unpaved and loosely defined trails.

“The key to the future is to get kids out in the woods,” Caulk said, at least half-seriously. “We may be the last generation of free-range kids. Everybody seems tied to computers.”

The pavilion, which resembles the naturalistic and sturdily built structures put together on parkland all across the country by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, was designed and lead by Robert Runyan, a carpenter who has spent a lifetime perfecting traditional building techniques.

“We thought long and hard and we knew we wanted a pavilion, but we weren’t sure what kind,” said Pete Heinzelmann, a member of the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association.

The most striking feature of the pavilion is the white oak hand-hewed timbers Runyan found down in Winslow.

“A lot people don’t think you can still build this way anymore,” Runyan said from the pavilion site. The key to sound buildings, Runyan added, is a well-built foundation.

“The foundation of a house is probably the most important thing there is, and it’s what’s often skimped on,” Runyan said.

The pavilion’s foundation is some two feet deep. The secluded location prevented heavy concrete mixing trucks from accessing the site and the concrete was trucked to a site further up the hill, where it flowed through a pipe system, Runyan explained.

“The logistics of getting materials from point A to point B was probably the biggest challenge,” Runyan said.

Web Watch

Fayetteville Natural Heritage Foundation


By The Numbers

No Development

Land preserved by the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association

100 acres of urban forest

2 acres of urban wetland

Source: Staff Report

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

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

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.