City de­nies C3 zone

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­NETTE BEARD abeard@nwadg.com

Pea Ridge City Coun­cil mem­bers re­jected a re­zone re­quest that had been ap­proved by the Pea Ridge Plan­ning Com­mis­sion dur­ing their reg­u­lar meet­ing Tues­day, Sept. 19. The re­quest, from Abun­dant Life Prop­er­ties was to re­zone 7.23 acres from Com­mer­cial (C-3) to Res­i­den­tial (R-3).

Ac­cord­ing to build­ing of­fi­cial Tony Townsend, the zone al­lows for three- and four-story build­ings and the de­vel­oper planned to con­struct 72 units of lux­ury apart­ments.

“The com­mis­sion thought it was well suited,” Townsend said. “The vote was 5-1.”

Al­der­men Ray Easley and Bob Cot­ting­ham noted that land is prone to flood­ing.

“I’m op­posed to it. We’re de­feat­ing our­selves tak­ing it away from com­mer­cial. I don’t think it’s a great place for R3,” Easley said.

Easley, Cot­ting­ham and Lance San­ders voted against the re­zone. Al­der­man Steve Guthrie voted in fa­vor of it.

Al­der­men ap­proved in­creas­ing the max­i­mum ceil­ing of the un­der­cover op­er­a­tions fund from $10,000 to $50,000. City Clerk Sandy But­ton told city of­fi­cials that the amount had been set at $1,000 in 1990 and in­creased to $10,000 in 1993. “Ev­ery year it comes close to hav­ing to be amended,” she said.

But­ton, who is also the court clerk, said the money is de­rived from court cases in­volv­ing drugs.

“We want to set this amount so we don’t have to amend the bud­get. We’re hav­ing more and more cases … $50,000 is just a num­ber. We’re not try­ing to set it as a num­ber to use,” she said.

The mayor said any­thing over the limit goes into the gen­eral fund and that city statutes state specif­i­cally how the money can be used. He said some of it could be used to take care of the ca­nine.

“It’s not a slush fund,” But­ton said. “We’re try­ing to get it to a point where we don’t have to amend the bud­get. It’s pretty much a ceil­ing that will work for sev­eral years.”

City of­fi­cials au­tho­rized the mayor to ac­cept state­ments of qual­i­fi­ca­tions and per­for­mance date for eval­u­a­tion with re­spect to the city’s need for le­gal ser­vices.

“What’s go­ing on with the city at­tor­ney?” San­ders asked.

“We were do­ing his ser­vice on a month to month ba­sis,” the mayor said. “We need to go ahead and ad­ver­tise … Mr. Bear­den is wel­come to look at it.”

Mike Bear­den was in­tro­duced to the coun­cil in Novem­ber 2016 when city at­tor­ney Howard Slinkard an­nounced his re­tire­ment and told the coun­cil that Bear­den was buy­ing his prac­tice. Bear­den has served as the city at­tor­ney since then.

In other busi­ness, the Coun­cil:

• Ap­proved Res. 406 to levy ad val­orem taxes of the city of Pea Ridge. The amount was 5 mils as it has been for many years, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Jackie Crab­tree.

• Au­tho­rized the mayor to ad­ver­tise for a city at­tor­ney; and

• Au­tho­rized the mayor to dis­cuss po­ten­tial sale or trade of city-owned land to TH Lum­ber.

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