Saturday, August 23, 2014

City Board schedules meetings on University Avenue issues

Posted By on Sat, Aug 23, 2014 at 7:13 AM

The agenda for Tuesday's agenda meeting of the Little Rock City Board holds promise of no immediate fireworks, but does schedule important issues in the weeks ahead.

The agenda notes that Director Dean Kumpuris intends to ask the Board Sept. 2 to rescind its approval, by a 6-5 vote, of a Murphy Oil gas station and convenience store at 12th and University. The plan drew broad neighborhood opposition. Kumpuris was joined by Directors Stacy Hurst, Lance Hines, Brad Cazort, Gene Fortson and Mayor Mark Stodola in approving the store, which Murphy defended only as a profitable business enterprise. There are numerous gas stations within easy reach of the site already, including across the street. Without Kumpuris' vote, and no other changes, the plan will fail.

In a related matter, the board agenda says a hearing is to be scheduled Sept. 16 on adjacent property owned by the same business group, also part of property once occupied by Brandon Furniture. This hearing will be a City Board review of Planning Commission approval of a extended-stay motel on the site. Neighbors have also objected to this development. In defending his vote for the gas station to neighbors, Mayor Mark Stodola said he opposed the hotel and would veto the measure if approved by the City Board. With eight votes needed to override a veto, the proposal would appear to face difficulty in winning Board approval.

The agenda meeting will provide a second reading for a pair of ordinances related to private clubs. One would require additional security at clubs that stay open until 5 a.m. Another would require closing at 2 a.m., except for 3 a.m. on two weekend days. Indications are that a blending of these ordinances into some manner of compromise is in the works.

No discussion is scheduled for the aims by the Uber car service to enter the market as competition for taxis, currently held by a monopoly franchise.

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