Monday, March 25, 2013

Condo plan proposed for stream-side prairie parcel at southwest corner of Razorback Road and 15th Street

Developer Plans Condos

City’s Streamside Protection Ordinance Could Force Changes

Posted: March 25, 2013 at 5 a.m.

Photos of native plants on the site at link on Flickr.

Please click on individual images to ENLARGE.
Concept plan as of Monday, March 25, 2013


Developer Plans Condos

City’s Streamside Protection Ordinance Could Force Changes

FAYETTEVILLE Developers plans to build a 68-unit condominium project at 15th Street and Razorback Road may have to be adjusted to conform with the streamside protection ordinance.
About 1.6 acres, or 35 percent, of the 4.4-acre site south of Baum Stadium lies close enough to a tributary of Town Branch creek to make the land essentially undevelopable, according to Steven Beam, an engineer for the project with Crafton, Tull & Associates.
The streamside protection ordinance, which aldermen approved in March 2011, limits construction activity and parking lots within 50 feet of waterways in an effort to protect water quality.


Fayetteville Planning Commission
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Room 219, City Administration Building, 113 W. Mountain St.
On the Agenda: A request by Crafton, Tull & Associates for a variance to the city’s streamside protection ordinance on 4.4 acres at 15th Street and Razorback Road.
The ordinance, given the property layout relative to the stream, takes ... the site out of development potential, Beam wrote in a March 8 letter to city planning staff. Leaving only a narrow developable portion significantly hinders the use of the property.
Preliminary site plans show a 234-space parking lot closest to the stream on the west side of the property. Crafton, Tull & Associates will seek a variance to the streamside ordinance at todays Planning Commission meeting. City staff is recommending commissioners deny the request.
There seems to be several things that could happen to move the parking lot away from the creek, Sarah Wrede, a city engineer, said at an agenda review session Thursday.
Planning staff suggested reducing parking spaces; elevating the building and putting parking underneath it; installing retaining walls along Razorback Road and moving the parking lot further east; or reducing the overall size of the development.
According to city code, commissioners can only grant a variance to the streamside ordinance if an undue hardship is identified.
Beam did not return a phone call Friday asking what changes might be made to the projects design. Neither did Wes Bradley with University Housing Group, the Roanoke, Va.-based company that plans to build the condos.
According to Beams correspondence with city staff, University Housing Group plans to replace invasive species along the Town Branch tributary with native shrubs. A preliminary site plan also shows a rain garden on the west side of the property and pervious pavement that would capture and slow stormwater runoff.
City Council members approved zoning and development plans for what was then called the Champions Club condos in 2007. University Housing Group planned to build 143 condos in two phases. One-, two- and three-bedroom units were going to be marketed to University of Arkansas alumni, graduate students and fans of UA athletics.
The project was never built.
Current plans show 68 units with 232 bedrooms in two buildings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day

A couple days ago, I awoke to the news of a major water main break in my neighborhood — which meant restricted water use for up to a week! Fortunately, we haven't had to boil our water during that time, but it made me appreciate something that I tend to take for granted: the fact that I can get all the clean, fresh water I want, anytime I open my tap.

Tell us: how is water meaningful in your life?

Today is World Water Day, and we should all take time to reflect on this essential and often under-appreciated resource. For many people around the world, safe water is not so easy to access. Millions lack access to the basic infrastructure that provides clean water. Even here in the United States, water is not guaranteed: contamination by fracking, aging infrastructure, and abuses by private water companies are all challenges that hurt people's ability to get safe, clean, affordable drinking water. With climate change-induced drought as an ever-present danger, the challenges facing our water will undoubtedly get worse in years to come.

Here are three easy ways to get involved in World Water Day:

1. Tell us a story about why water matters to you. We'll share quotes from supporters like you on Twitter throughout the day. Follow us to see why others value their water.

2. Celebrate your safe, clean water by ditching your bottled water habit. We've got all the resources you need to tell how clean your tap water is, how to choose a water filter, and more.

3. Spread the word by forwarding this email to a friend.

We've noticed this year that a number of big corporations, including Monsanto and NestlĂ©, are trying to cash in on World Water Day by making themselves look green. But we know that water is one of our most essential resources, and it belongs to the people, not to big business. Help us celebrate the right way by spreading the word.

Thanks for taking action,

Jo Miles
Online Organizer
Food & Water Watch
Food & Water Watch, 1616 P Street, NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 • (202) 683-2500