Loading...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Broyles agrees with neighbors, urges developer to "walk away from" site inappropriate for development

Neighbors just say no: Residents tell developer to walk away from planned subdivision
BY MARSHA L, MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2005

At a public meeting Tuesday night, impassioned neighbors loudly urged a developer to walk away from a project that would put 36 single-family homes on about 15 1 / 2 acres.
The proposal is for a large-scale development. If built, Vu Tara would be located directly south of Canterbury Circle and Lovers Lane, east of Highland Park.
Issues of safety, traffic, drainage, tree canopy, density and lot size were discussed during the questionand-answer meeting, which was attended by about 70 people.
Developer Tracy Hoskins was ingenuous, said one neighbor, and would be responsible for the deaths of people turning off Arkansas 265 if his proposal is accepted by the city, opined another.
Besides that, Hoskins ’ proposal would make it unsafe for people out for a stroll, worsen the situation on top of a street described as a bobsled run, worsen a bad drainage problem, break several existing covenants and cause foundation problems in neighboring homes, which could lead to them sliding down the hillside, according to various people who spoke during the meeting. "Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t believe we can trust anything this man says," said Mary Ann Gunn, a county judge who owns property next to the proposed development. "How do you feel about ruining this many lives?" asked one neighbor, while another declared, "Take it somewhere else."
One man wondered how much Hoskins was willing to spend to get to the Supreme Court.
A lawsuit was also on Gunn’s mind. "You do whatever you need to do. … We will sue you." Gunn said later in the meeting. She said that due to existing covenants, the most any developer could put on the land was three houses, and possibly only one.
Zoned RSF-4, the area could, by city ordinance, hold a maximum of 61 single-family homes, according to the engineer for the project, James Koch.
Due to its specific nature, such as the hillside, Hoskins said he originally sought modified drainage and a narrower street cross-section to create 27 lots. However, according to Hoskins, due to changes in infrastructure encouraged by city staff that would cost more, he had to add more lots to offset the higher costs.

"There’s a way to do it. Move out and don’t do it. Walk away from it," said University of Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles, a resident of the area. Broyles once owned the land in question. "Walk away" became an anthem for the neighbors, who repeated it and supported Broyles’ statement with choruses of assent.

Koch said city staff would not support an alternative design. "I never advocated four units per acre. Nothing close," Hoskins said.
And when Hoskins said he did not advocate connecting streets, someone from the audience shouted, "But you will. You will. You will, you will. Bottom line, you will advocate connecting."
Stacy Furlow suggested the developers were ingenuous in their statements about lot size because a good portion of the lots were very narrow and 0.2 to 0.5 acres. Most of the property is platted at four units per acre, she said.
When Hoskins asked the neighbors what would they like on the property, they answered almost in unison, "None."
Hoskins declined to answer questions about his financial backers, saying that information was not relevant to the development; but he did say it was not the Barber Group.
Hoskins said he did not seek a planned zoning district because it can be turned down by the city while RSF-4 is a use by right on the property.
After the meeting, Hoskins was asked if he would walk away from the project as neighbors wanted him to do. "No," he answered. "I’m willing to work with them, but I’m not going to walk away."
The Subdivision Committee of the city’s Planning Commission next hears the Vu Tara issues at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why we not have?????? Simsbury, Conn., has commission to protect wetland, watershed

Conservation Commission - 09/07/04

CONSERVATION COMMISSION/INLAND WETLAND
AND WATERCOURSE AGENCY
REGULAR MEETING-TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2004
SIMSBURY TOWN OFFICES- 7:30P.M.- MAIN MEETING ROOM


CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Howard Beach, Jr. called the Meeting of the Conservation Commission/Inland Wetland and Watercourse Agency to order at 7:30 P.M. in the Main Meeting Room at Simsbury Town Hall. The following members were present: Margery Winters, Richard Miller, William Nowak, Thomas Sharpless, Christopher Ursini, and Andrew Bucknam.


APPOINTMENT OF ALTERNATES
None


PRESENTATION (S) AND DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE VOTE

A. Application of Kevin and Mary Jo Crimmins, Owners, for an Inland Wetland Permit to construct a one-car garage within the regulated area on property at 32 Walker Drive.

Mr. Kevin Crimmins was present to address the board. They wish to construct a 16-foot one-car garage addition within the 100-foot upland review area. The structure will be approximately 45 feet from the watercourse, and they are proposing installing silt fencing during construction and stabilize with seed upon completion. They propose doing this in October or in the spring. Mr. Crimmins was also before the board in June for the approval of a pool.

Chairman Beach asked about the level of the area. Mr. Crimmins stated that the area is very level. They might have to raise the floor a few inches to match the level of the other floor, but will not change the grade at all.

Chairman Beach asked about material being used. Mr. Crimmins said that they will be digging up topsoil, which he will then use in other parts of the yard to even out.

Chairman Beach asked about the change to the driveway with this addition. Mr. Crimmins stated they will be adding an apron only.

Commissioner Bucknam asked if the watercourse would be described as a low area that gets wet or is there any kind of a stream. Mr. Crimmins answered that it was a low area 20 years ago, when the property next door added a garage and buried the section between the two properties from the road back about 60-80 feet. There is no wetland that is exposed. It is a depression in the ground that is wet in the spring and wet after a heavy rain.

Commissioner Nowak commented that the disturbance then consists primarily of digging a footing a putting a foundation on top of that.

Commissioner Nowak asked why this wasn’t proposed in July with the proposal for the swimming pool. Mr. Crimmins answered that they weren’t sure if they could afford to do both projects.

A motion was made by Commissioner Sharpless that this is a regulated activity by reason of removal of material from the construction site in the upland review area.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller, and carried unanimously.

A motion was made by Commissioner Sharpless that this is a significant activity, by reason that the activity has potential to cause siltation to a wetland.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller, and carried unanimously.

A motion was made by Commissioner Sharpless that a public hearing is not required, as there has not been any indication of public interest.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller, and carried unanimously.

A motion was made by Commissioner Sharpless to grant a permit for the proposed activity with the understanding that town be notified at least 3 days before the proposed activity is to commence so someone can check out the site before the digging can commence.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller, and carried unanimously.


PUBLIC HEARING, DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE VOTE

A. Application of Ensign –Bickford Realty Corporation for an Inland Wetland Permit for regulated activities associated with the proposed development of 182 homes within the Powder Forest at Bushy Hill and Stratton Brook Road. (continued from 7/20/04 meeting)

Mr. Donahue was present to address the Commission and introduce the presenters.
He stated that along with permits from the Wetland Commission, they are seeking permits from other boards; a zone change to allow a village cluster, a subdivision of the parcel into a single parcel, and site plan approval. On September 20, 2004, there will be a joint public hearing on this application with zoning and planning. Since last before the commission, they have received enthusiastic approval for the plan from the design-review board.

Michael Klein presented the wildlife corridor information.
Both flora and fauna at the site were looked at, and they identified no state-listed species present. The site has the potential to support and does support some forest interior birds.

Time was spent looking at the reptile and amphibian populations at the site because a report through the natural diversity database found eastern box turtle in the area in addition to the presence or absence of mole salamanders and wood frogs, considered vernal pool indicators. He explained that since the natural diversity database showed evidence of box turtle in the area, a visual search was done, but none were found. There are some isolated repressional wetlands on the site. They did not find any box turtles or mole salamanders at the site. The cluster of the three wetlands supported nothing in the way of frogs and salamanders. The semi-permanent pond does support wood frogs and although they are listed as a vernal pool indicator species, they also breed in many other places. He noted that as for the larger mammals, this patch of habitat is not large enough to support the more wide ranging species like bobcat.

A function and value assessment, broken down in three areas, was done for the wetland. The cluster of small depressional wetland areas is considered low to moderate in quality value. The large significant 12-½ acre wetland area is considered moderate- to high-value quality, however it is not considered high quality fish habitat. The semi-permanent pool does provide amphibian-breeding habitat, and it is valued as moderate-quality value.

Mr. Klein stated that in essence there are indirect impacts to the site, which are related to either construction, or the long-term change in land use of the site. He also noted that there is extensive use of best-management and low-impact development practices that have been incorporated into the plans. For example, rather than a traditional centralized stormwater collection and management system, they have a stormwater management system whereby 15 separate water disbursement areas are used to minimize the use of collection systems to get the water into the ground. The indirect impact to the wildlife habitat will be minimized by limiting development in the vicinity of the semi-permanent pond. Per a recommendation by the commission, they will be removing some of the silt fencing to allow migration coming in and out of the pond.

On the plans, he showed the open space on the site, surrounding properties, and locations of buffer zones for access into and out of the wetland system. He stated that the main concern during the site walk seemed to be with how the larger mammals (deer, bobcat, and bears) will access the space. He showed on the plan where the linkages are so that these mammals are able to move through.

Chairman Beach praised Mr. Klein on his effective job of giving a predevelopment evaluation of the three wetland areas. He asked if Mr. Klein could sum up the postdevelopment value of the wetland, in terms of general wildlife. He also asked him to address the apparent fragmentation of the areas. Mr. Klein explained that the functional evaluation methods are not designed as an impact assessment tool, they are designed as a resource tool. He did say that roads do not deter larger mammals, and that he does not see a dramatic alteration of the wetland-dependant wildlife. Mr. Klein said they try to focus on species of conservation concern as opposed to those that are fairly common.
Chairman Beach noted that other species should be focused on as well, lest they also become species of concern.

Chairman Beach complemented the applicant on the systems put in place (stormwater catch basins, swales etc.) to keep the nutrients away from Hazel Meadow Pond. He likes the fact that they provide swales for bio-remediation.

There was a discussion surrounding the vernal pool and the plants currently growing around it. Mr. Klein stated that hydrologically it is a semi-permanent pond, but it has some vernal pool-like functions in that it provides breeding habitat for wood frogs.

Chairman Beach discussed the bio-diversity study, stating it shows about what the commission is concerned and asked if the walking trail near the vernal pool could be moved. Mr. Ferrero stated that it is an existing path.

Commissioner Miller asked about the invasive plantings. Mr. Klein said the fragmites, which are near the wetland, could cause much damage to it, and will be cut out and the area and the area mowed. The tree of heaven will receive two applications of non-invasive, hand-applied herbicide to remove it. The herbicide will be applied during a non-windy day so as to have minimal drift potential.

The commission voiced concern regarding the closeness of Hazel Meadow Pond and unit/lawn development along its boundary. Chairman Beach asked if there will be enough bio-remediation in the swale to neutralize nutrients in the water before being introduced into the brook, what with the number of units that back up to the area. He also wanted to know about the turf-management system being used. Mr. Ferrero said that it is a small watershed because all of the roots are being removed, and he believes that the swale will be high enough. Mr. Klein stated that he doesn’t anticipate that any products will be used within the swales themselves. Mr. Donahue explained that one company will manage the units’ yards and therefore they will not have the owners themselves caring for the yards/grass.

Chairman Beach asked about the distance between the cutting line and the property line. It was explained that there is a 40-foot building setback and the swale is within that 40 feet.
Chairman Beach said that even small amounts of nutrients can devastate the ecosystem, and asked if there could be a 75- to100-foot no-cut zone beyond the property line since there is very little vegetation around the area. Mr. Ferrero stated that they are not encroaching upon the 100-foot buffer zone within Hazel Meadow Pond.

Commissioner Nowak asked about the wildlife corridor to the west side on Bushy Hill. He asked where the wildlife corridor would be for smaller wildlife such as turkeys, etc.
Mr. Klein answered that the area near Bushy Hill is residential development and that, if small wildlife can move through that area, they will be able to move through the corridor Mr. Nowak speaks about. He stated that it is surprising how tolerant many of the species have become. Mr. Nowak stated that the proposed units are much closer together (18-25 feet apart) than the 1+ acre residential houses where it is easier for animals to navigate. Mr. Klein answered that the property provides more open space. Chairman Beach noted that most of the open space is wetland and couldn’t be built on anyway.

Commissioner Miller asked if the wildlife corridor could be opened up more along Stratton Brook road. A discussion about that ensued.

Chairman Beach asked about possible space available along the road for bio-remediation to reduce the development by 75 feet. Mr. Ferrero said that they don’t want to clear so much vegetation along the road that it opens up a view to and from those units. Chairman Beach applauded their decision to include a buffer along Stratton Brook, but said that, if there were one or two spots, it would help with the hydraulic plan. Commissioner Bucknam said that. if the path is lowered to 80’or 60’ from 100' there will not be much room for wildlife refuge. Mr. Merriam stated that it would be virtually impossible to relocate it.

Commissioner Nowak asked about plantings, and Mr. Ferrero stated they do not currently have a landscape plan, but do know that it will include indigenous species.

Commissioner Miller asked about slope stabilization measures being taken. Mr. Ferrero explained they have gravel slopes. They will rough cut some slopes, stabilize them with erosion control mats and reforest them with Mr. Klein’s help.

Chairman Beach asked about retaining walls. Mr. Ferrero said they will not be using mass retaining walls anywhere on the site, but there are a number of walkout basements. It will be up to the owner whether they wish to have slopes or build 4- to 5-foot high retaining walls instead. On one main slope they proposed building a wall, but it would have been a 6-foot wall, which would be monstrous.

Based on the discussion so far, Mr. Merriam summarized 5 conditions of approval.
No individual application of herbicides and pesticides by the homeowners. One company will do the lawn maintenance of each unit.
A post-construction site visit by the commission.
Come back with a best-management practices plan using organic materials.
Field markings on the site at sensitive areas/points. These markings indicate that, if materials are applied to that site, they could be damaging to the wetland system.
A 2- to 3-year ongoing post-construction monitoring plan implemented, that would take samples of run off and come back and report to the commission. If there are problems, corrective action will be taken.

Chairman Beach asked if there were some kind of performance bond associated with the post-construction monitoring. Mr. Merriam stated that a bond is a good idea and that, if the commission wishes this, the applicant will look into it.

Chairman Beach asked if the post-construction monitoring could go on for 5 years instead of 2 or 3. Mr. Merriam said that, by monitoring the surface runoff, they will know fairly quickly if any material is getting off the site, and said 3 years seems appropriate.
Chairman Beach said three years is a good timeline.

Mr. Donahue confirmed that the streets are private, and will be maintained by a private company. Chairman Beach said he hopes sump-pump issues are covered by the monitoring and maintenance plan.

Commissioner Miller was concerned about Hazel Meadow Pond and if it could be restored even though the applicant is not “responsible” for it.

Mr. Donahue stated that, as part of the land-use process, the applicant is putting out a revised master plan for the site, which identifies the place reserved for Dyno Nobel, and any other site available. It will show what is allowed and what is likely in the future to come forward to zoning.

Commissioner Winters asked if a wildlife corridor section could be widened a bit. Mr. Ferrero said they could look into that.

At this point in the meeting, Chairman Beach closed the public hearing, since no one was present to speak on the issue. Commissioner Sharpless moved to close the public hearing. Commissioner Bucknam seconded with all in favor.

Commissioner Sharpless stated there should be a good monitoring plan established, and the commission should be specific about what they want to see being monitored.

Chairman Beach said he is concerned about the possibility of nutrient impact on Hazel Meadow, which is a separate issue. Within the site itself, he is concerned about any evidence of nutrient loading in the second brook. A question was asked of how the water going into Hazel Meadow would be monitored. There was a discussion about how the commission could monitor the Hazel Meadow. Mr. Donahue said that they would seek permission on behalf of the commission to get a sample of the Pond if they so desired.

The Commission concluded that as part of the monitoring plan they would look for nitrate, phosphate, chloride, and vod. Apart from the wetland area they will also monitor road water, storm salts/sand, and stormwater discharge, and sump pumps. This will be monitored for a period of three years, and a performance bond will be issued. Fertilizer will be included in the best-management plan. Also, some of the specified units should be spaced farther apart.

For the next meeting, Mr. Merriam will draw up the monitoring plan, etc., for the next meeting, and will bring in the information Commissioner Miller wanted on the field markings.

A motion was made by Commissioner Ursini to continue this application at the next meeting; it was seconded by Commissioner Miller with all in favor.

Wetland must be protected or flooding and reduction of quality of Beaver Lake will continue

Redraw the curb connection in front of our house so that we will continue to be able to back out of the driveway somewhat safely.

PROTECT the riparian corridor as is. Listening to the replay of our Ward/Neighborhood meeting from May 15 on TV16 the final time last time, I heard Todd say that they would remove shoreline understory vegetation "so that people could enjoy the creek." That would, of course, heat up the water so the fish can't enjoy it! And it would go against the resolution passed a few months ago by this council to protect our riparian zones.

Between the removal of riparian vegetation upstream on the UA campus, several construction projects there and the current condition of Hill Place as it was abandoned by Aspen Ridge, the water quality as decreased exponentially. It is shallower when there is no rain and deeper (rises higher) and a greater flood risk when rain is falling.

Grade down the land north of the Moody property along South Hill to the same as the Moody property and eliminate the unjust, uncomfortable situation now facing the Moody family. They lost the majority of mature trees along the north edge of their property because the people working on Aspen Ridge piled that mass of dirt for their buildings and parking area that the roots were covered and cut and, one day, they moved the silt fence over against those trees and destroyed even more roots.

Finally, the land south of the walking bridge on the east side of the Town Branch should have all infrastructure and fill dirt removed and be restored as a natural stormwater retention garden for the eastern portion of the complex.

That would be the only change that could provide anything approaching the level of stormwater protection that land this provided in the past.

See photos of that wooded wetland taken before it was dredged and filled for Aspen Ridge. It was a natural storm garden that allowed the Town Branch to spread and reduced downstream flooding. In dry weather, there was no standing water, only flow areas fed by upstream springs.

Both timbered and grassy or brushy wetland must be spared from development wherever it is found if water quality and flooding problems are to be reduced in the Beaver Lake watershed.


May 20 City Council meeting archived video




Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jonah Tebbetts ties together bits of recent history of local projects


Have Confidence Man: Iconoclastic view of related issues



May 20 City Council meeting archive

Council to consider Hill Place student-apartment plan at first June 3, 2008, meeting


Northwest Arkansas Times: Hill Place/Aspen site decision delayed two weeks by council



The Morning News: Aspen Ridge/Hill Place site decision delayed two weeks by council

Hill Place student-apartment plan amended to require trail along Brooks Avenue right of way to 12th St. rather than paved street through natural area

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE OF Hill Place/Aspen Ridge silt fence failiing to keep silt out of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River. The view is south along the area dredged out of Pinnacle Prairie to make room for the foundation of a new portion of Brooks Bayou (Brooks Avenue, I mean) to route traffic to connect to Twelveth Street and S. Duncan Avenue.
People who live on 12th Street don't want the traffic routed there and a decades old city promise to residents was relied on to prevent his from happening. Because Pinnacle Foods Inc. owns the land on either side of this incomplete road and keeps it as a barrier around its freezer plant for safety of the residents of the neighborhood and security for the factory's ammonia supply and other reasons, a trail through that natural wetland prairie would be an excellent side route for the Heritage Trail along South Hill and South Duncan Avenues. Despite the factory and the houses nearby, the prairie area would give walkers and bicyclists a close view of what the land may have looked like before settlement.

One of the problems that stormwater educators have said they have difficulty overcoming is that the public sees litter in a stream and talks about litter. Silt is easy to spot only when muddy water is flowing. Protecting water quality requires stopping inappropriate siltation. Preventing littering is important but insignificant if a stream is allowed to silt in.
Careless people everywhere litter. Getting a small crowd together and cleaning up the trash tossed on the ground and washed down storm drains to a stream isn't difficult.
Careless developers may or may not litter. But their inattention to stormwater regulations can totally change the ecology of a stream in a short time. Getting them to care and to understand is the hard part.

4305

Council holds off decision on Hill Place/Aspen Ridge project


Aspen Ridge/Hill Place site decision delayed two weeks by council

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tonight's the night to support your neighborhood at the city council meeting at 6 p.m. on the second floor of city hall

4. R-PZD 08-2915 (Hill Place): An ordinance establishing a Residential Planned Zoning District titled R-PZD 08-2915, Hill Place, located at the southwest corner of 6th Street and Hill Avenue; containing approximately 27.10 acres; amending the Official Zoning Map of the City of Fayetteville; and adopting the Associated Master Development Plan. This ordinance was left on the First Reading at the May 6, 2008 City Council meeting.

Monday, May 19, 2008

View west toward railroad showing wetland typical of southwest corner of Aspen Ridge on May 6, 2004

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Aspen Ridge development site after mobile homes bulldozed and debris left scattered.

Wetland overflow area view north January 25, 2004, near southeast end of Aspen Ridge

Please click on image to enlarge.

Understanding what is beneath the surface necessity of good planning


Fran Alexander sums up biggest problem with Aspen Ridge/Hill Place site


"Fayetteville is long overdue in identifying what functions the different types of land and soil within our urban area are performing and then making that information really matter in urban planning. Generally we do not think "big picture "as a community in the physical sense, as a whole unit that will be seriously affected by the digging, filling, draining, dredging, scraping and building. We deflect discussions about land function because it is a really hot issue with property owners who want to utilize what they own in any way they desire, no matter how that use may impact neighbors or the town's taxpayers. And we certainly maintain a state of denial when it comes to what lies beneath the land. A favorite word in city government, infrastructure, needs to be applied more broadly than for just defining roads, sewers, pipelines, etc. so that natural systems are recognized and accorded their importance in the physical place where we all live, and which is molded by our actions.
We spend most of our public decision-making at the planning commission and city council levels, where longterm planning like the 2025 City Plan is referenced regularly. Often discussions that begin about land use and suitability wind up being about how our city plan calls for infill to avoid urban sprawl, as if these two topics were about the same thing. They are not. One is about the reality of what we have physically available in Fayetteville both above and below ground level. Discussing what we want to build has traditionally been more about design and scope than what the land can tolerate and still deliver to humans in its natural role in the environment. We need to get our heads and actions straight on these two very different, yet intertwined, issues."
Fran Alexander

Sunday, May 18, 2008

24-stem cluster of milkweed can be seen on my special tour

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Everyone needs to watch Thursday's meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday on government channel 16 on Cox Cable to prepare for Tueday's 6 p.m. council meeting

I watched the video Sunday morning and heard something that I had missed during the meeting. Todd, one of the planners for Appian Center for Design, said that the plan includes removing some of the existing brush along the Town Branch in order to allow people to "see and enjoy the creek."
Without knowing that I had taken the photo and written what I did about protecting the stream and the problems of bank erosion and raising of the water temperature that has occurred already as a result of the Aspen Ridge land clearing.
That would be adding more injury to the already injured stream and to the Beaver Lake watershed.

Protecting vegetation along stream banks and in overflow areas critical to life in streams, flood prevention

Please click on photo to Enlarge view of Damen Casteel and his daughter, Kristen, fishing in the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River about 100 yards south of Martin Luther King Drive (Sixth Street) in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Casteel residence is on South Hill Avenue on the east side of the Hill Place/Aspen Ridge site.

The removal of trees and brush along the riparian zone of the Town Branch causes the water temperature to rise and teams with the siltation that makes the stream shallow to reduce the water's fish population. In fact, such species as rock bass and smallmouth bass no longer are caught there. Even red horse suckers and green sunfish are now rare in such parts of this stream and other tributaries of the West Fork of the White River that flow from urban areas.

Friday, May 16, 2008

2005 plan for Aspen Ridge

PLEASE click on image to ENLARGE plan for Aspen Ridge as approved in 2005 with view west at top, north to right.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Everyone will be welcomed!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Old U.S. Geological Survey maps of Town Branch Neighborhood area

Please click on images to ENLARGE. Scroll down to see recent FEMA map after 30 acres was cleared for Aspen Ridge project where proposed HIl Place project would appear. Scroll further to see photos of the area before wetland overflow area east of the Town Branch was cleared and filled with non-absorbent material. The word TOWN on the USGS map appears on the part of the stream running between South Ellis Avenue and South Van Buren Avenue.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do it right or don't do it at all!

The maps based on aerial photos below are reasonably new, and people who live in some houses along the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River between Eleventh Street and Fifteenth Street who are paying on mortgages on their homes now have to pay for flood insurance.
A close look at the maps reveals that FEMA now acknowledges not only that many buildings in that stretch are either IN or immediately adjacent to the acknowledged flood plain but also that much of the infrastructure for the failed Aspen Ridge site was built in the flood plain between Sixth and Eleventh streets west of South Hill Avenue.
People who have lived in the neighborhood a long time know that the actual floodplain is much wider in places than the FEMA map shows.
While the developers of the Hill Place project are being required to remove a sewer line and blocks much of the flow under the bridge at Eleventh Street, they have not been told to build their proposed traffic bridge higher than the current walkiing bridge. In fact, they are proposing to build the traffic bridge LOWER than the walking bridge built in 2005 or 2006 across the stream. Because federal agencies will barely even look at the plans, the city must make the decision on this further construction in the floodplain.
In 2003 and 2004, the developers claimed that FEMA maps did not show floodplain in the area. Neighbors pointed out that the Town Branch FLOWED OVER much of that land frequently even though the government had not designated it as floodplain and that, not only did the stream flow over the bridge at Eleventh Street but sometimes flowed over the bridge at Fifteenth Street.
Just another example of NIMBIES being ignored in favor of developers and builders who don't care what harm their projects might do as long as they are able to reach the density level required to make a huge profit. People who say "Not in my backyard" in this neighborhood have seen the water there (and some have seen it in their houses or flowing in front of their houses); so they aren't talking about a trivial problem.
The lowest portion of the former wooded wetland at the southeast end of the project must be dug out and structured to pre-Aspen Ridge grade or lower to reapproach the historical flood-prevention capacity of that land.
No further paving should be done southeast of the existing walking bridge and the impervious fill dirt should be removed and water again should be allowed to soak into appropriate organic soil.
Developers claim their right to build as long as their project doesn't send more water off their land than flowed off there before.
They use voodoo mathematics that ignore overflow from the Town Branch and that ignore the nearly 100 percent permeability of the surface of the area before it was cleared and filled with rocky dirt and red clay.
They rely on the fact that water has threatened the downstream homes a little more each year during the decades the University of Arkansas has filled similar land on the campus and covered or dredged absorbent soil on the campus in favor of non-absorbent, non-organic soil and concrete.
Now is the time to begin to require developments to DECREASE downstream flooding, not aggravate it and blame the university for its building practices. Multiple wrong decisions don't add up to a right decision.
For more photos of the area, please see other sites linked from this one.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Links to help prepare for 5 p.m. May 15, 2008, neighborhood meeting with developers and council members

Ward 1 Alderwomen Adella Gray and Brenda Thiel have scheduled a neighborhood meeting to discuss the Hill Place PZD (formerly Aspen Ridge PZD). The meeting will be held at the South Hill Church of Christ 5 p.m., Thursday, May 15.


Council Tour in Northwest Arkansas Times


KHBS/KHOG Television 40/29 made Council Tour its lead story Monday night at 10 p.m. To view online version, please click on

KHBS/KHOG TV 40/29 Council Tour Aspen Ridge/Hill Place



Fran Alexander column on Aspen Ridge/Hill Place development


Broyles' new plan is to sell the property to
Place Properties, limited partnership
, which develops and manages apartment complexes for college students in several states. The sale, apparently, is contingent on Broyles' getting the student-apartment plan approved by the council.

Please see
Summit Place, Hill Place maps and photos
with first plans for Summit Place that were submitted to the Fayetteville planning department early this year.

Please see
Hill Place/Aspen Ridge plans, maps and photos
with concept drawing from January 2008.

Town Branch neighbors are asking that the Summit Place plan be evaluated by the council before the council approves the Hill Place plan. Water from the eastern slope of Summit Place on Rochier Hill will increase erosion and further exacerbate the stormwater problems created by the Aspen Ridge land clearing and now the problem of the Hill Place project. Appian Design Center Hill Place/Summit Place plan designers is planning both projects. Hank Broyles and John Nock reportedly own the Summit Place property.

The Summit Place project west of the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad is in Ward Four, while the Hill Place project is in Ward One.
As in the case of many adjacent projects, these are separate but the upstream work will have a bearing on the downstream project's success in protecting people further downstream on the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River from flooding as well as an effect on the quality of water entering Beaver Lake, the water supply for most of Northwest Arkansas.
For details, please call 479-444-6072.


Five years of background information on Hill Place/Aspen Ridge plans, maps and photos
with earlier concept drawings from 2003 and 2004.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fran Alexander discusses Hill Place student-apartment plan proposed for failed Aspen Ridge site in Northwest Arkansas Times


Fran Alexander column on Aspen Ridge/Hill Place development



Please click on image to enlarge.

Fayetteville City Council to visit Town Branch Neighborhood at 4 p.m. today. Everyone welcome.

The mayor and members of the Fayetteville City Council are to gather at the failed Aspen Ridge town-house construction site near W. Sixth Street and S. Hill Avenue at 4:30 p.m. today (Monday, May 5, 2008 ) to view the 30-acre parcel from which nearly alll the trees and topsoil have been removed. The rich, fertile, stormwater-absorbing, water-purifying soil has been either dredged out and hauled away or buried under tons of less-absorbent rocky soil.

Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the council is to evaluate a plan that has been brought forward by Hank Broyles, who sold his share of the Aspen Ridge property to his partner in that venture, Hal Forsyth, soon after it was approved in 2005, but who bought the whole parcel after Forsyth's development ended with hundreds of low-income residents displaced but nothing built on the property.

Broyles' new plan is to sell the property to
Place Properties, limited partnership
, which develops and manages apartment complexes for college students in several states. The sale, apparently, is contingent on Broyles' getting the student-apartment plan approved by the council.

Please see
Summit Place, Hill Place maps and photos
with first plans for Summit Place that were submitted to the Fayetteville planning department.

Please see
Hill Place/Aspen Ridge plans, maps and photos
with concept drawing from January 2008.

Town Branch neighbors are asking that the Summit Place plan be evaluated by the council before the council approves the Hill Place plan. Water from the eastern slope of Summit Place on Rochier Hill will increase erosion and further exacerbate the stormwater problems created by the Aspen Ridge land clearing and now the problem of the Hill Place project. Appian Design Center is planning both projects. Hank Broyles and John Nock reportedly own the Summit Place property.

The Summit Place project west of the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad is in Ward Four, while the Hill Place project is in Ward One.
As in the case of many adjacent projects, these are separate but the upstream work will have a bearing on the downstream project's success in protecting people further downstream on the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River from flooding as well as an effect on the quality of water entering Beaver Lake, the water supply for most of Northwest Arkansas.
For details, please call 479-444-6072.

Thursday, May 1, 2008