No decision today on Little Italy incorporation | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No decision today on Little Italy incorporation

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 4:45 PM

No decision today in county court on petition by several hundred people to incorporate more than eight square miles of rural land in northwestern Pulaski County as Little Italy.

It's a transparent ploy by residents to get the area carved out of the county, now covered by modest land use regulations intended to protect Lake Maumelle from damaging runoff. It's the main water supply for a big part of Central Arkansas.

Though a number of government and nonprofit groups have opposed the incorporation, which will create a city with scant budget and little by way of city services, there's a powerful undercurrent to support them — this would include all the long-time foes of land use controls in the watershed, chiefly Deltic Timber, the developer that owns the vast amount of the acreage.

We couldn't attend, but understand from someone there that Little Italy petitions presented information about 1.5 hours, including information about budget and services. County Judge Barry Hyde, who'll make the decision, had to end the hearing because of a schedule conflict. He recessed it until another date. No one else spoke and Little Italy didn't finish its presentation.

Just for fun, I took a look at the nearly quarter-million Hyde raised for his successful campaign for county judge. It was a cross-section of the business community. It just so happens that his very last contribution, in a bunch that finished up fund-raising after he'd won, was a $2,000 contribution from a lobbying firm, Brent Stevenson Associates, which has worked for Deltic and the Kochs and against land use regulations in the watershed. His contribution had the effect of contributing to a $5,000 carryover fund for Hyde.

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