by Max Brantley
Tetra Tech's draft watershed management plan for Lake Maumelle is being mailed today. It's 122 pages. It's not currently available on-line. The advisory group that worked on the project could not come to a unanimous conclusion on the most sensitive parts, particularly whether Deltic Timber could safely build high-dollar homes on the slope of the lake immediately above the pipe that takes in water for Central Arkansas Water customers.
Among the recommendations for future land use that we noted in a hurried look at Tetra Tech's draft:
* Average five-acre lot sizes on new development on low slopes and 10 acres on high slopes.
* Required paving of new roads and driveways.
* Waivers for existing landowners to make additions to existing homes and businesses and create small subdivisions. As an offset, the draft plan recommends acquisition of more conservation acreage.
The plan doesn't reach a single firm conclusion about the 3,600 acres in Critical Area A nearest the intake on the east end of the lake. The current utility policy of acquiring all that land, by condemnation if necessary, to prevent pollution is described as a sound practice followed by many utilities in similar circumstances. But, the reports says, if development is allowed, it should be on very restrictive terms and major landowners such as Deltic must agree to follow those terms not just in the critical area but throughout the watershed. Additionally, the report said there should be pilot studies of the benefits of so-called best management anti-pollution development steps. If they don't work, Deltic should sell the land for conservation at today's prices, not an inflated future price. There must also, the plan said, be sufficient administrative controls (including and use local ordinances) to ensure proper management before development in the critical area should be allowed. If a five-point plan on careful development is met, Tetra Tech said, CAW could "reasonably include limited development" of the critical area as part of watershed plan.
That's a very quick take. Other insight welcome.