Lawyer’s presence not required, he said
The absence of the city attorney at the Sept. 5 Pea Ridge Planning Commission delayed a decision on a home occupation request as planners questioned the city’s legal obligation when presented with subdivision covenants that forbid a home business in that subdivision. At a tech review meeting later that week, city officials had several questions for which they wanted a legal opinion.
City building official Tony Townsend said he has not been able to contact Mike Bearden, city attorney, and that emails he has sent to him have been returned as “undeliverable.”
One of the issues under discussion was what the city’s position should be in issuing home occupation permits to residents in subdivisions for which there are covenants or restrictions prohibiting home businesses.
Bearden, who bought Slinkard Law Firm and replaced Howard Slinkard as city attorney when Slinkard retired, said Monday that he has been told by Townsend that he is not needed at Planning Commission meetings.
“He said I don’t neeed to go unless Tony wants me there,” Bearden said,adding that he sends an email to Townsend every week before the schedule meeting and doesn’t receive a response. “I’m not even getting an agenda, hardly ever … I quit calling because he said he didn’t need me.”
Bearden has relocated his office to 9 Halstead Circle but said his telephone number has remained the same.
He serves as city attorney for both Pea Ridge and Garfield.
Garfield Mayor Gary Blackburn said he talks to Bearden several times a week.