City Board to vote on resolution opposing Little Italy incorporation; also a ban on street solicitors | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 3, 2015

City Board to vote on resolution opposing Little Italy incorporation; also a ban on street solicitors

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 9:06 AM

The agenda for Tuesday's Little Rock City Board meeting includes a resolution opposing the proposal to incorporate the community of Little Italy without a commitment to put land in a new city under land use controls.

Many, including the League of Women Voters, Central Arkansas Water and North Little Rock, have raised objections to the incorporation of seven square miles populated by fewer than 400 people. There's no meaningful way it can support itself as a city from the revenue incorporation would generate. I believe, though incorporators insist otherwise, that the move is mainly to remove residents in the area from the new land use ordinances the county adopted to protect Lake Maumelle from adverse development in the watershed. Removing seven square miles of watershed from the ordinances' coverage alters the expectations of potential pollution on which the development guidelines were developed.

Says the resolution in part:

The City believes that the incorporation of this town creates the possibility of damage to the Lake Maumelle Watershed, and that such damage could impact the public health and safety of the more  than 400,000 persons who rely upon the watershed to supply potable drinking water on a daily basis, so this opposition shall remain unless and until Little Italy and Central Arkansas Water are able to reach an agreement that would protect the watershed.

The Mayor and City Manager may withdraw the City of Little Rock’s objection to the incorporation of Little Rock as town within Pulaski County and the Lake Maumelle Watershed if Central Arkansas Water receives binding commitments, acceptable to Central Arkansas Water and with a demonstrated intent to be filed of record with the Circuit Clerk and Ex-Officio Recorder of Pulaski County, Arkansas, that the property owners within the proposed Little Italy area will provide long-term protections for the preservation of water quality in Lake Maumelle.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to ban street solicitations. The meat of it:

No person shall stand in or enter upon a roadway, median, or portion of a public street, for the purpose of distributing anything to the occupant of any vehicle.

No person shall stand in or enter upon a roadway, median, or portion of a public street, for the purpose of soliciting any item, including but not limited to money, from the occupant of any vehicle. 

The prohibition on the distribution of anything contained in Section 1 of this ordinance does not apply to distribution to the occupant of a non-moving vehicle on a roadway adjacent to a sidewalk if the person who makes the distribution remains on the sidewalk, and if the occupant of the non-moving vehicle voluntarily accepts the distribution.

Nothing contained in this ordinance is intended to prohibit solicitation or distribution by 5 any person on a sidewalk to another person on the same sidewalk.

The city has an ordinance restricting solicitations on or along streets, but has suspended enforcement on account of potential First Amendment free speech concerns. This has brought a rise in solicitations, with people walking from car to car at busy intersections (I see them often at Chenal and Bowman). Children are sometimes used and the proposed ordinance asserts this is a safety hazard that allows city action.

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