Eureka Springs city council moves forward with subdivision

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Eureka Springs City Council is on board with the new Pine Crest Subdivision.

On Monday, Jan. 25, the council heard an application from Jay Gustin for the subdivision, located off Pivot Rock Road. Council member Terry McClung moved to prepare an ordinance to approve the subdivision and city clerk Ann Armstrong explained that the proposed ordinance is a draft because city attorney Tim Weaver hasn’t had a chance to look over it yet.

McClung asked Gustin if he can wait two weeks for the subdivision to be approved and Gustin said that would be fine with him. McClung suggested deferring the issue to the council’s next meeting, where the council would complete all three readings of the ordinance.

Mayor Butch Berry said public works director Dwayne Allen has worked with Gustin every step of the way and suggested that the council members drive by to check out the subdivision.Council member Melissa Greene thanked the planning commission for its hard work making the subdivision happen.

McClung moved to defer the issue to the council’s next meeting and council member LauraJo Smole moved to amend the ordinance to prepare the emergency clause so the ordinance can be approved on all three readings at one meeting. The council unanimously agreed to do so.

Berry then updated the council on the status of electric charging stations, saying the city is working with a nonprofit organization called Adopt a Charger to place two charging stations on Planer Hill. The equipment costs $9,300, Berry said, and the organization will cover all of that. The installation should start in February, Berry said.

Also at the meeting, the council considered three rezoning requests. Submitted by Byron McKimmey, the first request was to rezone 38 Prospect from R-1 Victorian Residential to C-3 Quiet Commercial. Greene moved to approve the request, and McClung said the request was brought to the council years ago.

“We had a problem with it then because it constitutes spot zoning because the house next door is still residential,” McClung said.

Greene said she’d ordinarily agree with McClung but the house would sit and rot if it’s not used for something. McClung said the building had a conditional use permit when the McKimmeys purchased it, but they let the permit lapse.

“When that happens, you’ve got to go back and go through the deal, and it doesn’t qualify,” McClung said.

Council member Harry Meyer agreed.

The council voted on Greene’s motion to approve the request, with Greene, Autumn Slane and Bill Ott voting yes and McClung, Smole and Meyer voting no. Berry voted yes to break the tie, approving the request.

The council moved on to a request to rezone 44 Armstrong from R-1 Victorian Residential to C-1 Commercial. McClung moved to approve the application and Greene said the house was purchased as a residential home. Greene said city preservation officer Glenna Booth gets “call after call every week” about homes that have been put on the market, with interest in turning the homes into Airbnbs.

“We’ve just got so much commercialism,” Greene said. “We used to need them to keep the town filled. We just don’t need them anymore. If someone bought it as residential, it needs to stay residential.”

McClung said the building is surrounding by commercial buildings.

“You’re playing favorites,” McClung told Greene. “The property next to it is also being rezoned commercial … so that doesn’t make any sense at all. None.”

Slane said it’s important to keep the residential areas.

“But I do have to agree with Terry on this where everything around it is commercial,” Slane said. “We are at a difficult situation here in Eureka. We are trying to preserve where we live, because that is such an issue, but in this case, I agree it should be commercial.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the request, moving on to a request to rezone 46 Armstrong from R-1 Victorian Residential to C-1 Commercial. Smole moved to approve that request and the council unanimously agreed to do so.

In other business, the council passed a resolution encouraging Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state legislators to pass legislation enhancing penalties for hate-related crimes.

“The legislators are writing some legislation regarding hate crimes,” Berry said. “I think this is something that’s very important, especially in our city. I would like to … send it down to the governor and our legislators for their information.”

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at The Auditorium.

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