BV council approves Nighthawk rezoning on first reading

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Berryville City Council voted to approve Nighthawk Custom's rezoning request at its Tuesday meeting.

The council voted to place Ordinance 997 on the floor. City attorney Clint Scheel read the ordinance, which says that it amends the land use plan of its zoning ordinance by withdrawing the former classification of R1 single family residential for a parcel of property located at 1306 W Trimble Ave/ and substituting C2 highway commercial for the area.

City administrative assistant Jay Lee said the ordinance affects the back half of one of the lots owned by Mark Stone, owner of Nighthawk Custom. He said Stone submitted the request in order to expand the business.

The council voted to approve the rezoning ordinance on its first reading. Mayor Tim McKinney said the council would have the second and third readings by title only at its next meeting.

The council then voted to place the conditional use permit application for Nighthawk Custom on the floor.

Lee said the conditional use permit and rezoning request are all part of the proposed expansion of Nighthawk Custom. The business is involved in light manufacturing, he said, but a mechanism was put in place during the last revision of the city's zoning ordinance that requires businesses to obtain a conditional use permit to manufacture products on commercial property.

"Mark had started his business prior to that revision of the zoning code, so he was grandfathered in originally," Lee said. "But now that he's wanting to expand onto additional property, that mechanism is coming into play."

McKinney said he had not heard of any opposition on the expansion project from the residential neighborhood near Nighthawk Custom, which manufactures custom firearms.

"I think one thing involved is that there's going to be an indoor firing range instead, and I think the neighbors were happy with that," he said.

Lee said the planning commission had a public hearing for both the rezoning request and the conditional use permit application on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and recommended that the council approve the requests.

"With the type of light manufacturing they're doing, I think we can do it this way," McKinney said. "If Nighthawk ever moved for some reason, the next tenant wouldn't automatically be able to manufacture. By doing a conditional use permit, there won't be a danger of the property changing hands and letting heavy manufacturing move in."

The council voted to approve the conditional use permit application from Nighthawk Custom.

The council later voted to pass Resolution 998, authorizing McKinney to pay Berryville's share of the district court judge's salary.

The resolution says that McKinney is authorized to execute an interlocal government agreement for the proportionate share of the district court judge's salary as part of the state district court program. According to Arkansas law, it states, each city located in a state district court judgeship shall pay its proportionate share of said judgeship to the state. The resolution says that the local elected officials of Carroll County, Madison County, Berryville, Eureka Springs, Huntsville and Green Forest have finalized a proposed agreement detailing the shares each will be responsible for paying.

Alderwoman Cindy George asked when the city will provide the funds for the district court judge's salary.

"Will it be monthly, quarterly, or do they want it all up front?" she asked.

"I don't think they've been very clear on anything yet," McKinney said.

"We honestly don't know yet," Lee said.

"This is going to lower our cost a little bit initially," McKinney said, "but don't count on it lasting forever."

McKinney said each entity within the agreement will pay about a one-seventh or one-eighth portion. Carroll County will pay two portions, he said, because the county holds court in both Berryville and Eureka Springs.

"This is just the salary we're paying for, not the benefits. I think the half for the local responsibility was about $58,650," he said. "That's what the counties and the cities have to come up with."

McKinney said the deal would save the city a few thousand dollars overall, dropping its current contribution of about $12,000 to about $8,400.

"Supposedly it sets it at this rate for some time," he said, "at least until they decide to change it."

The council voted to pass Resolution 998.

The council also voted to accept a bid of $38,932 from FenceCo, Inc. to install a wrought iron fence around the Public Square park and the Parks and Recreation storage building at the Berryville Community Center.

McKinney said the restrooms at the storage building would remain unfenced. On the Public Square, he said, the fence will just extend along the highway and around the corner.

"This will increase safety on the square. We've been very lucky over the years with as much activity as we have not to have someone step into traffic," he said.

Also at the meeting, Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos presented the monthly police report for September. He said the department issued 105 citations, reported 87 offenses, served nine warrants, did 15 fingerprints, ran five VIN verifications and reported 16 accidents. The department had an overall clearance rate of 78 percent for the month of September, he said.

Alderman Max Nichols congratulated Bartos on the high clearance rate.

"Seventy-eight percent is a good clearance rate to have," he said.

"We've been busy this month," Bartos said. "We had a lot of vehicle break-ins and other incidents that we were able to close up."

At the end of the meeting, McKinney announced that the city will have its first official sign-up for rural water service from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the fire station.

"For anyone that's interested in rural water service, this is the official sign-up. We'll be taking deposits and putting people on the list," he said. "Afterwards, we can start the design phase for the project. We're looking forward to that."

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at City Hall.

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