POA declines land sale offers
A full audience in the board room and a live Facebook audience heard the POA board vote to decline two offers on undeveloped property.
The Ark-Mo land — 367 acres — was purchased in 2000 for $1.1 million. At the time, the Property Owners Association golf courses were crowded and the plan was to add one more course. Since then golf rounds have been steadily declining and the land, which was paid off in 2007, has remained unused.
In 2014, the land was appraised for $1.5 million, board chairman Ron Stratton said. It was put on the market shortly thereafter.
Last week, at a work session, the board listened to an offer from Linda Lloyd, the principal broker for Acorn Realty. Lloyd, who serves on the Bella Vista City Council, has developed property before. Her plan called for a mixed-use development with various-sized lots, a small neighborhood of tiny houses, an eco-lodge, and a small development of co-housing — defined as a group of separate dwellings that share some amenities like a gathering space or commercial kitchen.
The tract, which straddles the state line between Arkansas and Missouri, is not common property, so the new development would not be part of the Bella Vista POA.
Lloyd offered $1.1 million and asked that the POA finance that amount for two years at 5 percent interest. She brought a PowerPoint presentation to the meeting to explain her plans.
“This would set Bella Vista apart as an up-to-date and visionary community,” she said about her plan. She said she would use green building materials.
Before the scheduled open forum, POA general manager Tom Judson announced that he had received a second offer on the property. The offer came with a request for anonymity, he said, and he had no information on the planned use by the second potential buyer. That offer was $1.2 million, with POA financing at 5.25 percent.
During the open forum, several members had questions about Lloyd’s experience and the terms of the sale.
Stu Sorenson, who described himself as a real estate agent, said
he believed Lloyd’s plan offered the best use of the property.
Charles Flannery said the land should be kept in reserve in case the planned hydrology study reflected bad news for the existing golf courses, which have been repeatedly flooded.
The vote was unanimous to decline both offers.
The board is not planning to build a seventh golf course, Stratton said, but the flooding problems on the existing courses must be considered.
At least two board members expressed concern about financing a land sale.
A vote to take the land off the market passed but was not unanimous. Board member Josh Hart said he believes the current offers are too low — but he would consider selling for the right amount.
The hydrology study for Little Sugar Creek, which has caused flooding problems at the three golf courses it flows through, was also a topic at Thursday’s meeting. The board heard about three bids for the study, all from engineering firms in the region. The board settled on a bid from Burns McDonnell in Springdale. The study will be complete on Dec. 29. The city may share some costs, Judson said.
If the city approves its share of the costs, the POA will pay $90,200. Without the city, the cost will be $109,464. Judson asked the board to approve the larger amount plus 5 percent for contingencies. The board agreed.
Also, a plan to move board meetings back one week to accommodate some new accounting issues was approved as a second reading. Beginning in September, the board’s work session will be on the third Thursday, Sept. 21, and the regular board meeting will be on the fourth Thursday, Sept. 28.