A small victory | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A small victory

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 5:35 PM

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Lake Maumelle advocates sign in at a rally held last week

Advocates for Lake Maumelle scored a small victory this afternoon when Central Arkansas Water commissioners voted to accept the agreement between CAW and Pulaski County on tougher subdivision rules that will protect the watershed.  Check out the Arkansas Reporter from this week's Times for some background info.  Environmental groups and other concerned citizens didn't think the subdivision agreement went far enough to protect Lake Maumelle.  The agreement, among other things, prohibits the discharge of wastewater in the watershed, something advocates like the Sierra Club's Kate Althoff said was necessary.  The agreement does not, however, put limits on development as laid out in the Lake Maumelle Waterhsed Management Plan, which was comissioned and approved by CAW. 

That worried some commissioners, especially after a number of those present at the meeting raised concerns that the subdivision rules didn't go far enough to protect a source of drinking water for almost 400,000 people.  Environmental advocates and others said the subdivision rules should include stipulations on five acre minimum lot sizes (a measure that would limit pollution by increasing open spaces).  The county is not willing to include those requirements in the agreement.  Judge Villines says he wants to wait until an agreement is reached, then develop a land-use plan and zone the land in the watershed.  The board voted (five to one) to accept the agreement, but only after language was included in the motion to encourage the county to move quickly on the development of a land-use plan. 

One commissioner, Adrienne Bradley, voted against the agreement.  She said she didn't think it was a good idea to send a unanimous vote to the county's quorum court when the subdivision rules did not go far enough to protect the watershed.  Kate Althoff said the vote from the committee was about the best she could have hoped for and was happy the commissioners included stronger language in their resolution.

Read the motion after the jump.     

Resolved, that the Board of Commissioners, Central Arkansas Water hereby approves the Agreement for Watershed Protection and the Letter of Intent presented to them at this meeting and thereby accepts Chapter 8 as currently drafted.

Resolved Further, Chapter 8, as currently drafted, does not adequately implement the protections recommended by the Lake Maumelle Watershed Management Plan or protect the lake itself as the water supply for over 400,000 citizens; accordingly this Board strongly believes that the County, working together with CAW staff, must proceed quickly toward the drafting and adoption of a land use plan that will incorporate all of the provisions of the Lake Maumelle Waterhsed Management Plan designed to protect the lake, including but not limited to, the adoption of minimum lot sizes in accordance with the plan. 

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