Complaints mark beginning of new year at HIPC

Thursday, January 12, 2006

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- The Holiday Island Planning Commission (HIPC) started 2006 Friday much like it started 2005 -- with property owner complaints and challenges.

Bob Snyder of 10 Country Club Drive said he had come to the meeting "because of the lot situation beside me." He was referring to construction of a 1,810-square-foot spec house by Vernon Greer and John Swallow at 12 Country Club Drive.

Snyder said nothing has been done and the site is "a mess."

The construction has been controversial from the start because of a drainage issue from the 18-hole golf course onto the lot. HIPC and District Manager Kevin Crosson had several meetings with the contractors last year over who is responsible for diverting runoff.

Building Inspector Red Perkins said he had spoken with Swallow the day before, who told him he was waiting for a subcontractor to handle the drainage issue before Swallow could start construction. He said Swallow told him he would come to the Friday meeting, but Swallow did not appear.

"I'm asking for relief for someone to get something done," Snyder said.

Chairman Joe Schuler suggested Snyder sue the contractors, and when Snyder said he thought that was HIPC's job, replied they have no jurisdiction.

"Well, you just told that guy (property owner Mike Finefield, who applied for a permit extension) to clean up his lot," Snyder said.

Schuler replied the complaint would be "duly noted."

Property owner James McKinney handed the commission a letter with two questions: "What legal entity and authority does the Planning Commission have with Holiday Island?" and "What happens to the funds and fines collected from contractors and residents by the commission?"

"We'll take your questions under advisement, but I don't know that you will get an answer," Schuler said. "I don't owe you an answer."

"I think you owe the property owners of Holiday Island an answer," McKinney replied.

The third complaint came from property owner Will LaPage of 5 Chickasaw Place, who reported excessive noise from ATVs and guns being shot in rapid succession at night.

"I kept hoping the noise would go away, and it had for a brief time, but now it's back," he said.

Schuler asked whether he had called the sheriff. LaPage said he had talked to a dispatcher, who told him there is no law against discharging firearms. Crosson said he believes there is a state law against it.

Schuler said the commission will write a letter to the property owner LaPage believes is responsible for the problems.

In other business, HIPC:

* Approved a 60-day extension to property owner Mike Finefield on Permit #2047. He is building a 3,511-square-foot house at 81 Sailboat Drive.

* Discussed a commercial sign for the new Bank of Eureka Springs branch office on Parkwood Drive with Larry Troillett, architect for the project. Troillett requested an electronic message-board sign 16 to 18 feet high. Schuler was not clear whether HIPC has any authority to approve a sign in the Park shopping center.

The commission meets every Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. at its office in the Park Shopping Center at 1 Parkcliff Drive, Suite D. Permits and related requests are considered first, followed by other business.

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