Please click on each image to go to Flickr site to ENLARGE view of single-family lot split and large houses approved for each new lot without any consideration of where the silt would be kept out of the Spout Spring Branch 150 feet down South College Avenue.
Possibility of loud barking by dogs cited in Planning commission denial of approval for a dog-boarding facility on Old Farmington Road.
Residents of the area didn't speak at the meeting. But lobbyists for the hotel industry spoke about fearing the loss of business because of dogs barking. They weren't even talking about only existing hotels but about MORE HOTELS that might be built in the future.
Those hotels have destroyed a lot of wildlife habitat. Not long ago, only a few years ago, coyotes were hunting mice and other tiny creatures for food on the prairie and hilldside areas where the hotels have been built and where more are expected.
If hotel rooms aren't reasonably soundproof, there should be research into who planned them, who approved their construction and who manages them. Those hotels with their massive parking lots are truly nuisances.
But NO residents of the area spoke at the October 26, 2009, meeting on this subject: Only hotel enthusiasts or peopele with a vested interest in acquiring the property for more hotels rather than rural or suburban activities such as boarding kennels or a few scattered houses in a suburban setting.
Commissioner Christine Myres spoke in favor in the project and voted for it. The planning commission routinely approves projects that will send thousands of dump truck loads through existing neighborhoods without even discussing the noise damage to the people who live along the routes to the site and adjacent to the sites and allows enormous environmental damage without considering such consequences.
How in the world could they have taken seriously the arguments that hotels would lose business because of a dog-boarding facility more than 100 yards away.
On the other hand, the commission did vote to improve oversight of smaller projects. Single-family homes, however, are still immune from city supervision. That's why you will continue to see mud running down the streets where single-family houses are being built.
If you care about air, water and soil quality, start paying attention to these meetings and see that some stronger ordinances are created soon. Northwest Arkansas is a bad actor in the effort to protect natural resources. If you own a hotel, just keep doing what you are doing, because your profit is all that matters.
Biggest unasked question in this discussion of ordinances for project approval: Why would ANY project be approved administratively, even with a 7-day public-comment period?
IF someone in the neighborhood somehow notices a project is in the works, seven days isn't enough time to get organized to study the proposed project and then inform other neighbors and decide what to think of it.
It all has to be made public: the big, medium, small and tiny projects: aka, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Open government is important for all.
Commissioner James Graves stood up for the public's right to know what the staff has approved without going before the planning commission.