Council amends hangar contract, OKs land buy for Pine Street revitalization

The Conway City Council agreed to hold all leaseholders of the new airport’s large “corporate hangars” to whatever future terms may be reached with new leaseholders.

The issue arose when the two holders of two firm leases ‑ so far the only two though several other people and businesses have put down earnest money for corporate hangars — said they didn’t want to end up paying the same amount currently contracted if the lease rate is reduced to attract more customers in the future.

City Airport Manager Johs Zylks told the council that the addendum to the contracts of the two leaseholders was reasonable, and the measure passed with little discussion. The council also approved the new airport construction management plan, which is part of the requirements for federal funding.

The council also approved using Community Development Block Grant funding to buy three residential lots off Pine Street in the Pine Street neighborhood. With this acquisition, the city owns just shy of three-quarters of the block south of Siebenmorgen Road and bordered by Hamilton and Factory streets.

The city’s Community Development Block Grant program has contracted with designers, architects and contractors to build new single-family residences on the property as part an ongoing public/private neighborhood revitalization plan.

The three lots will be bought for $75,000 in CDBG money, with up to $13,800 budgeted for relocation assistance for the one household on the block. As per federal law, the CDBG program has to offer relocation assistance even when, as here, the sale was voluntary and the owners were interested in selling. 

The city has been working on plans for Pine Street neighborhood revitalization since 2006. More detailed plans for the block’s redevelopment will be released this fall, Program Manager for Community Development Scott Grummer said.

The council was split on a conditional use permit that would allow in-home child care at 604 South Davis Street. Council members Mary Smith, Mark Ledbetter and Wes Pruitt voted against allowing child care at the home. Smith said that daycares with more than a handful of children can effectively operate as a busy business in the middle of otherwise all-residential neighborhood areas and would feel more comfortable approving a conditional use permit that limited the number of children that could be cared for. As the conditional use permit was presented to the council, more than two dozen children could be allowed. 

With Councilman David Grimes absent, the three “no” votes put the other four “yes” votes short of the five-vote requirement to approve the conditional use permit. Mayor Tab Townsell could have cast a deciding vote under state law, but didn’t, because the person who had requested the conditional use permit wasn’t at the meeting to speak up for it and he said the issue of in-home daycares operating out of neighborhoods warranted further discussion. Because Townsell didn’t vote, the request was denied for lack of votes even the majority of council members who were present approved it 4-3. The applicant can request to bring the issue up at a future coucil meeting without having to wait 12 months, Townsell said.

The council also voted to accept South Donaghey Avenue, which is currently maintained as a state highway (Hwy 60 spur), provided that the highway department perform an asphalt overlay as it had previously committed to doing. The city is taking the street as part of a street improvement project around the intersection of South Donaghey and Favre Lane, which means that the city takes over maintenance of the street, which is acceptance of a new liability for the city and the removal of a liability for the state highway department. The highway department had offered to overlay the street as part of this exchange of liability, and if that agreement is firm the city would take over the street, the council decided. 

Also, the council voted to accept the nomination of Taylor Martin for a position on the Conway Historic District Commission. He replaces Becky Harris, who died in May. Martin was the only candidate, and was nominated by Vivian Hogue. The council also voted to accept a $6,000 Arkansas Historic Preservation Program grant to support the commission.

 

In other business, the council voted to:

• Approve liens on property at 2002 Prince Street, 2450 Landover Trail and 1327/1329 Robins Street for expenses incurred as a result of code enforcement violations (mostly mowing lawns). Owners of a property on Independence Street paid their fees on the day of the meeting, and so their property was not subject to a lien.

• Approve a request for a rent subsidy related to the Conway Western Arterial Loop project’s southern interchange.

• Enter into an agreement with Metroplan for adaptive traffic signal control on Dave Ward Drive (software that will hopefully improve traffic flow through better stoplight timing).

• Rezone property at 1525, 1625 and 1801 Washington Avenue and 1618 Clifton Street to S-1 institutional zoning. Hendrix College has bought the properties, and this zoning would allow the college to extend operations there.

• Rezone property at the 1600 block of Salem Road form A-1 agricultural to R-1 residential.

• Approve a conditional use permit for a 100-foot “stealth” cell phone tower at 2600 Dave Ward Drive.

• Approve a bid from River City Hydraulics for a recycling baler (River City was the higher of two bids, but there was concern in the city’s sanitation department that parts and service would be hard to get in Arkansas whereas the city has had satisfactory service with River City).

• And approve an ordinance appropriating funds for Conway Civil Service Commission entry-level/promotional firefighter testing.

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