City board agrees to hire urban planning firm for I-30, agrees on amended moratorium | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

City board agrees to hire urban planning firm for I-30, agrees on amended moratorium

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 10:08 PM

A resolution before the City Board tonight to enter into a $75,770 contract with the Nelson/Nygaard transportation planning firm looked like it was going to be a car wreck for Mayor Stodola, whose idea it was to hire a consultant. Several board members — including Lance Hines, Kathy Webb and Ken Richardson — expressed surprise that what was before them was a resolution to hire a firm, rather than hire an urban planner for the staff and Webb and Director Irma Hendrix questioned the cost.

In all fairness, Stodola's first mention of hiring an urban planner did sound like he wanted a staff member. But several board meetings ago, City Manager Bruce Moore explained that the city had issued a request for proposals and was in negotiations with a planner, which indicated the city was talking about a firm. 

Hines' objections were to be expected. He is a supporter of the state Highway and Transportation's proposal for a mid-century-style 10-lane I-30 through downtown Little Rock, and he asked why the city was hiring a consultant to look at information that has already been considered by the AHTD and Metroplan. He also said he didn't understand the plan. "What does 'key stakeholders' mean?" he asked, referring to Nelson/Nygaard's Scope of Work saying they will interview up to 15 people, including developers, city officials and "cultural representatives" to "understand the role of downtown." And because the consultants have 90 days to complete their study, that comes too late in the AHTD schedule and the city's own decision to debate in April a resolution asking the AHTD to reconsider its plans, Hines said.

Webb, noting that she and Hines don't see eye to eye on his approval of the I-30 plan, said that like Hines she had not understood that the city was hiring a firm rather than creating a staff position. She also said the cost seemed extraordinarily high compared to other planning firm estimates she'd heard. Stodola replied that they could have responded to the city's RFP if they wanted the job.

After the kvetching was over, Stodola told the board that the city needed expert advice before it makes decisions that could impact Little Rock for the next 50 years.

The resolution passed 8 to 2 initially, but Directors Hendrix and Richardson later changed their votes to "aye."

Director Doris Wright's proposal to call a moratorium on multifamily development north of Bowman Road passed, but only after it was amended not to apply to any projects that have already gone to city planners. The moratorium was intended to delay a multi-use development by Keith Richardson (no relation to Ken Richardson) that would have put 400 apartments next to Brodie Creek. Director Dean Kumpuris warned it would create a "dangerous precedent" to call a halt to projects as they were going through the city planning process.

Ann Marshall, formerly the head of Little Rock's Office of Desegregation, now defunct, was one of several speakers who asked directors to make a serious examination of the impacts of development in the west. The resolution says the city will not consider new multifamily development along Bowman (see the resolution for the specific area) for a year to study traffic, drainage issues and recommend needed land use changes.

Richardson's application will come before the city board March 1. The amended moratorium will not apply to it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Marjorie Williams-Smith solo show opens Friday at Hearne

    Hearne Fine Art will open the exhibition "The Messengers: A Survey of Work in Metalpoint by Marjorie Williams-Smith," the artist's first solo show at the gallery at 1001 Wright Ave., with a reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.  Williams-Smith, one of the finest metalpoint artists in the country and one of our own, will give a talk about her work at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hearne.
    • Oct 18, 2018
  • Brooke Miller comes to The Joint

    And more!
    • Oct 18, 2018
  • Marijuana dispensary scores could be ready by mid- to late November, commission told

    Public Consulting Group, the company hired by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to evaluate dispensary applications, said it will try to provide results to the commission within the 30 days agreed after receipt of the applications — by mid-November or late November at the latest.
    • Oct 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation