The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
New Water Tank Gets Approval; neighbors, veterans disapprove powerfully of sale-barn rezoning next to National Cemetery
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — It took a week, but a decision among the city and residents has been reached to locate a half-million-gallon water tank on the hilltop neighborhood of Hyland Park.
A 143-foot water tank will be built on a .66-acre secluded site on Lovers Lane. The site is one of the four sites originally explored, but it was generally viewed as too expensive, in terms of land cost and needed infrastructure. This site will add about $220,000 to the cost of the project, said Dave Jurgens, Fayetteville utility director.
However, city officials have negotiated a deal with Hyland Park resident Jim Waselues for him to pay the city $75,000 for the original lot intended for the tank — known as Lot 22. In turn, Gary Combs, owner of the Lovers Lane site will donate his site to the city.
"Although I'm not crazy about spending $200,000 more, I think it shows that the city is willing to be flexible and work with people," said Bobby Ferrell a council member.
"Maybe everyone's not totally satisfied, but this is probably the best solution," said Adella Gray a council member from Ward 1.
The project was opposed by the Hyland Park Homeowner's Association that did not want a water tank in their backyards, saying it will negatively impact views, property value and the general aesthetic nature of the neighborhood.
What did not move forward was any decision regarding rezoning the old Washington County Sale Barn site. The barn intends to hold its last sale June 25, said Steve Bartholemew, one of the sale barn's owners.
A 192-unit student housing apartment development is proposed for the nine-acre site. Some 50 people showed up for the council meeting Tuesday to oppose not only the rezoning, but more largely, the development.
It wasn't just residents from the area petitioning the council to deny the downtown general rezoning, but numerous veterans from across Northwest Arkansas. A national military cemetery — the final resting place for 7,963 deceased veterans — sits adjacent to the site. Veterans would like to expand the cemetery into the sale barn site. However, no deal has been reached say veterans and Bartholemew.
"If we can just stave off this rezoning at this time, it will give us that time," said Jim Buckner, a retired lieutenant colonel and a representative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
"There are private resources," Buckner added, and who said student housing would be "a terrible neighbor."
"In fact it would only be a beer can throw away from our veterans buried there," he continued.
"There has been no contact with us on a dollar amount," said Bartholomew. "I do know that they have talked, but there has never been a dollar amount."
Wanda Peterson, who's lived in the neighborhood since 1938 and has family buried in the cemetery, was passionate in her plea to stop the rezoning.
"I just can't bear an apartment building shadowing those graves," Peterson told the council.
Others reminded the council the current zoning is light industrial and a number of undesirable land uses could move in without the rezoning.
"The rezoning tonight is a downzoing from industrial to a downtown general," said Dustin Bartholomew, grandson to Billy Joe Bartholomew, co-owner of the Washington County Sale Barn.
"The things that could be built there at this time could be a lot more damaging than what's being proposed," Dustin Bartholomew said.
What Comes Next?
Washington County Sale Barn Rezoning
• The ordinance was left on its first reading.
• It will be considered again at the next council meeting.
For government channel schedule of reruns of the council meeting on City 16 on Cox Cable, please see
The first rebroadcast of the June 16 city council meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. today and the second is at 7:30 p.m. today.
Rebroadcasts of the June 8 meeting of the Town Branch neighbors with the developers who want the sale barn rezoned for student apartments are set for CAT 18 on cox cable at 11 a.m. Wednesday, 3 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
I am uncertain how this affects the short takes normally run at those times. Some weeks, few short takes are recorded. In fact, the one I recorded for those time slots is mostly about the same issue! I apologize to anyone who did a short take and is bumped by this very timely production.
When all equipment is running properly, the shows run on CAT 18 are run simultaneously on the Internet from the CAT Web site for those with access to the Web but no cable television.