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Tynan also said that despite additional requirements, floodplain areas are in fact developable in Pulaski County. He added that, in any case, 120 acres of the property are not in floodplains, and the density restrictions in that area alone would be vital.
In a phone interview with the Times prior to the meeting, CAW CEO Graham Rich acknowledged that CAW had known from the beginning that the deal might raise concerns about a conflict of interest. "We've spoken with our attorney and there's nothing illegal about what we're doing," he said. "It's just by happenstance that he is on the planning [board], but he also has a tract that borders land that we own that's along the biggest tributary. ... Certainly someone could make an issue out of it. I know Ray personally. He would not be the kind that would use his position to gain an advantage on it."
White's attorney, Kent Walker, isn't buying it. "There are so many coincidences that are occurring here that I think that they might take a trip to Tunica," he said in a phone interview after the meeting. "The chair of the planning [board], which is overseeing the zoning ordinance in its initial stages, is the only one offered [a deal]. ... If they're going to do this, they need to promote it. I've met with them a dozen times; not one time has this ever been discussed or brought up." He also argued that assurances that the easement is more restrictive are undercut by the fact that CAW will be the policing agent: "The fox is guarding the hen house."
Villines responded that critics of the deal were merely trying to derail the ordinance by changing the subject.
"The easement has nothing to do with the zoning ordinance," he said. "If you didn't know the facts you could perceive a conflict of interest. The facts are, once it was brought to [Vogelpohl's] attention he did not vote on the issue."
Villines said that he hadn't spoken with Vogelpohl in more than a year and stated that Vogelpohl was not a player in the negotiations over the land-use ordinance. He does not see any problem with Vogelpohl continuing to chair the planning board, noting that originally landowners in the watershed had been pleased with his selection.
"At this point they're trying to confuse the issue," he said. "Are we going to protect our water or not?"
Mark Pryor's standing well with both the NRA and the IRS. After all, he got…
"Mary" by Zach & Caleb Turner.
Wow David, excellent piece.
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