by Max Brantley
Central Arkansas Water has scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday at the county conference center at 501 W. Markham to discuss a settlement with developer Rick Ferguson over development of acreage overlooking Lake Maumelle. You can go to the utility's website for details.
The water utility thinks the proposal protects the lake, the city's major water supply, from pollution. Some long-time activists for lake protection are not so sure. They'd like a delay in Monday's hearing for more study because details of the agreement have changed since the settlement was first announced. Absent that, they urge people to attend Monday, listen and ask questions.
UPDATE: Kate Althoff, who's worked tirelessly to protect the Maumelle watershed, offers this commentary:
The bottom line is that CAW wants so much to get the developer community to become allies but in the process the compromise to just too great.
Ferguson will be able to break ground in July.
He will build a concrete ditch 3 miles long on the north shore in Critical Area A.
The CAW ratepayers will have to pay for an inspector to keep a constant eye on the concrete ditch for the next 90 years.
The ditch allows Ferguson to build houses on the lake side of the slope so they will have a wonderful view.
Ferguson will not be required to follow in any way the Watershed Management Plan that we just spent $1.2 million dollars and 13 months working on.
Oh, yeah, CAW ratepayers will give Mr. Ferguson $1 million dollars and provide him water for their development.