Lake Maumelle doings | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lake Maumelle doings

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 9:22 PM

Deltic responds to Central Arkansas Water. The short of  i t-- the timber company won't sell, it wants condemnation to stop and it won't cooperate on any test of pollution management techniques unless those terms are met. The water utility knows that if it can't acquire the property now -- even if it eventually decides to let the land revert to Deltic if it can be proved that development won't damage the water supply -- that the price will go up for sure. And, what's more troublesome, Deltic and Bob Johnson still lurk to in the legislature strip the utility of power to protect its water supply.

Deltic's response to Jim Harvey, the water utility's CEO, is on the jump.

DELTIC ATTORNEY'S LETTER TO WATER POLICY ADVISORY COUNCIL

I feel obliged to respond to Jim Harvey's memo to the PAC regarding
Deltic's offer to participate in the pilot project proposed by Tetra
Tech.   First, for those who were not present at the last meeting of the
PAC, let me restate Deltic's proposal.  During the May meeting of the
PAC, Tetra Tech presented proposed management options for Critical Zone
A, an extremely restrictive set of standards, which included a
performance standard option with a caveat that the performance standards
had to be proven through a BMP pilot project, prefereably located out of
the watershed.  I asked Trevor who would undertake the pilot project and
he stated that he envisioned that a landowner would work with CAW and
Tetra Tech, including perhaps someone from a local university, to assist
with the monitoring.

After the May PAC meeting I asked Deltic if it would be interested in
offering to assist with the pilot project, and Deltic agreed.  This is
what I reported at the June PAC meeting.  Deltic has consistently
supported development of a watershed plan based on science, and offered
to assist with this pilot project because it will advance the
development of the science necessary to finalize the watershed plan.
However, since the purpose of the pilot project is to prove that BMPs
can achieve the Critical Zone A performance standards, Deltic could not
undertake this expensive project if Deltic were no longer a property
owner in Critical Zone A.  I made this condition clear to the PAC when I
made the pilot project offer at the June meeting.  There seemed to be
universal agreement among the PAC that undertaking this pilot project
should be a priority, and the PAC seemed pleased with Deltic's proposal.

Mr. Harvey's correspondence appears to compare Deltic's proposal to a
previous proposal by CAW.  There were actually two proposals referenced
in Mr. Harvey's letter, neither of which are related to Tetra Tech's
current request for pilot project.  The BMP project CAW suggested in the
October, 2004 correspondence Mr. Harvey forwarded to you was not a
"pilot project" but rather a "pilot development" in Critical Zone
B--unrelated to development within Critical Zone A--CAW was condemning
that property.  The BMPs CAW had in mind do not resemble the managment
options that Tetra Tech has now proposed for Critical Zone B.  No
performance standards were proposed to determine whether the BMP
performance would be deemed successful. Tetra Tech's proposal last month
for a pilot project with defined lake targets and established
performance standards to objectively measure the performance of the BMPs
proposed for Critical Zone A bears no resemblance to the October, 2004
proposal by CAW for an undefined Critical Zone B pilot residential
development.

The other proposal referenced in Mr. Harvey's communication was its
June, 2005 offer to purchase Deltic's Critical Zone A property for $5500
per acre.  To put that offer in perspective, at the June, 2006 meeting
of the PAC Tech reported that the average land sales for the least
attractive lands in Perry County, the far western end of the upper
watershed (which were proposed for mitigation lands) was $5000 per acre.
Not surprisingly, Deltic said "no thank you" to CAW's unreasonable
offer. And with respect to CAW's proposal to return the property to
Deltic (the language in the proposed Contract of Sale that Mr. Harvey
forwarded to you and identified by an arrow), you will note that the
language has nothing to do with the watershed plan or whether Deltic's
land will be returned if the watershed plan authorizes development.  For
years now Deltic has consistently supported the development of a
scientific watershed plan, and has consistently suggested that watershed
planning should be completed before condemnation is undertaken (see, for
example, Deltic's June, 2005 response to CAW's offer to purchase,
attached).

I am pleased that all of us have demonstrated our mutual commitment to
watershed planning, and in the spirit of cooperation we have made
considerable progress.  The watershed plan we have been working on so
diligently currently  authorizes development in Critical Zone A, and
includes a requirement that a pilot project be undertaken to demonstrate
that the performance standards proposed for Critical Zone A can be
acheived.  In May Tetra Tech suggested that a landowner should come
forward to participate in the pilot project, and Deltic has offered to
do so--but only if it has property  subject to those performance
standards that can benefit from the results.  Deltic has not proposed
that the condemnation be terminated--only put on hold until the pilot
project is completed.  A joint pilot project should be undertaken
jointly and cooperatively--not in the midst of adversarial litigation.
If the pilot project is unsuccessful, CAW and Deltic can proceed to
trial. I hope that this clarifies the issue.

We all recognize the challenges ahead in obtaining community and
landowner buy-in to the watershed plan.  If CAW chooses to condemn
property that will be developed in full compliance with its own
watershed plan, what message does that send to the other watershed
landowners whose buy-in is being sought?

I look forward to seeing all of you at the July meeting.

Chuck Nestrud

Charles R. Nestrud
cnestrud@cnjlaw.com
Chisenhall, Nestrud & Julian, P.A.

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