Delay in vote on west Little Rock housing development. Reason: politics | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Delay in vote on west Little Rock housing development. Reason: politics

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 7:35 AM

click to enlarge ANDY DAVIS: His legislation a factor in Little Rock City Board development debate. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • ANDY DAVIS: His legislation a factor in Little Rock City Board development debate.
The Little Rock City Board delayed a vote last night on the appeal of denial of a permit for a housing subdivision outside the city but in the city's planning jurisdiction.

The nominal reason was for further testing and study. I suspect it's more accurate to say the reasons were immense opposition and the hope that a legislative political power play will change the dynamics.

Rep. Andy Davis has legislation that I think is intended to force the city into accepting the western fringe developments and the threat they present to the watershed from package sewage treatment plants that would discharge into scenic creeks.

Davis is a Little Rock Republican. He also builds sewage treatment plants. He's proposed a mouth-dropping incursion on local control (which should alarm every city in the state) by his bill to force the city to extend sewer service outside the city if a developer asks for it and signs a pre-annexation agreement. Other expensive impact be damned.

It's sprawl encouragement at a huge cost to the city. It rapes local control. It also is being offered by a legislator who is in the business of selling wastewater treatment plants to developers, more than one of which lurks with ideas for intensive development on Little Rock's western fringe. Davis' legislative career has often been about advancing his private business interest. He went so far in protecting wastewater treatment operators from financial liability in 2015 that he's had to come back and amend the legislation this year because it presented such a powerful  talking point for opponents of the types of plants he sells and have been proposed for the fringes of Little Rock.

We wrote earlier about the appeal the Board had been scheduled to hear Tuesday. The planning staff opposed the permit and the Planning Commission was nearly unanimous in opposition. Also lurking to encourage westward development is a resolution by City Director Lance Hines to study expansion of sewer service outside the city. He insists he wants sound development. His record of encouraging sprawl and suburban flight suggests otherwise.

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