Eureka bars and restaurants are now required to recycle

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The Eureka Springs City Council on Monday passed into law an ordinance mandating recycling of glass and cardboard by bars and restaurants, approved setting up a bank account for Black Bass Lake and Dam restoration funds, and viewed a presentation on wastewater problems for the area.

The council also said it intends to hold workshops on increased parking rates for event coordinators and workers, a clean city ordinance, and group tour franchises, but it has not yet set the date for them.

Ordinance 2187 mandates the recycling of glass and cardboard by bars and restaurants; it was approved on its third and final reading Monday and takes effect in 30 days. The ordinance states that any business that disposes of glass and cardboard at more than 10 percent of their total garbage weight can be cited and fined if it does not recycle the material but instead puts them in the garbage.

The purpose of the ordinance is to help curb the amount of garbage the city puts in its landfill, so that it can avoid the very expensive problem of a full landfill -- a problem that many cities in Arkansas are now facing, said Alderman James DeVito.

The council later passed Resolution 626 instructing the city's finance director to establish an account for any funds that the council may raise to repair, improve and maintain Black Bass Lake and Dam.

Money for the "temporary" account could come through private donations or public fundraisers and will be listed as a line item on the financial statements, separate from the city's general funds said Alderman Dee Purkeypile, who suggested the resolution. The money will first go toward planning and consulting engineers and eventually go to engineering work and construction. All purchases with the account must be approved by the mayor or Public Works director.

WATER QUALITY

The Springs Committee has been monitoring the water quality of springs in the Eureka area for six years and has concluded that every spring they have monitored has some level of bacteria contamination. One of the common bacteria is E. coli, a bacteria that is normally only found in the stomachs of mammals. This suggests that the city's broken sewage lines could be responsible, an official from the Springs Committee said.

The council was then showed a presentation on wastewater treatment and the actions taken by Stone County, Mo., to preserve their water. The presentation contained several slides identifying the problems and solutions surrounding the issue and was given by David Casaletto, executive director of Ozark Water Watch.

"Nutrients, mainly phosphorus, are entering Table Rock Lake from everywhere in the watershed," said Casaletto during the presentation. "The lake was placed in the EPA's 2002 list of impaired water bodies due to nutrients. This ultimately results in undesirable water conditions and fish kills."

He explained that a point source for phosphorous is municipal treatment plants and non-point sources are septic and decentralized sewer systems, storm water runoffs, overuse of commercial fertilizers, and poultry litter spread on fields and other farm operations. Even land disturbances can cause a rise in phosphorus because of nutrients in the soil.

WORKSHOPS PLANNED

The council also decided Monday to hold a workshop to discuss proposed Ordinance 2189, which would increase prices for parking spaces during special events. The workshop's purpose is to gather more information and decide what to do. The ordinance would apply to personnel working and running the events, but not the locals and tourists in attendance, officials said.

When festivals and events such as the summer Blues Festival take place in Eureka Springs, the festival officials will rent parking spaces from the city to store their vehicles for a day or more. In the past, festival workers have received special rates to do so, but with Ordinance 2189 they will pay the same rates as everyone else, said City Clerk Ann Armstrong.

The council decided to hold a workshop about the proposed Clean City Ordinance.

"It's called Clean City Nuisance Ordinance, and we need to set a workshop," said Alderman David Mitchell. "It is an expansion of the discussion of an old process that was under review in the past; that was demolition by neglect."

The concept has changed into an ordinance on its fifth draft that encompasses lawn care, stationary or broken vehicles and boats and "scavenged vehicles" Mitchell said. With this ordinance the council is trying to regulate how yards and homes appear with one fell swoop.

The council will also soon hold a workshop to discuss the regulations for group tour franchises.

In other business, the council numbered and read for the first time proposed Ordinance 2190, which would remove 80 Mountain St. from the status of "religious buildings" in R-1. The council then immediately tasked City Attorney Tim Weaver with drafting an ordinance to rezone 80 Mountain St. to C-3.

The building has been used in recent months as a theater, and some neighbors have protested the use because of additional traffic in the area surrounding performance times.

Aldermen also directed Weaver to draft an ordinance that adds "intimate theater" to conditional uses allowed in C-3 zones and establishes the definition of "intimate theater" set by the Planning Commission.

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