Villines feels the heat -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Villines feels the heat -- UPDATE

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County Judge Buddy Villines apparently believes Republican opponent Phil Wyrick is making headway by his unqualified support for a Lake Maumelle watershed management plan. It has drawn some otherwise unlikely supporters -- liberal environmental activisits, particularly -- into the Wyrick camp.

Villines has issued a statement, which I reprint on the jump. It would have been better if he had also declared his support for the watershed management plan. He didn't because he doesn't think much of it, based on criticism he gave to me earlier this week. This is a legitimate issue, if not the only one in the race.

UPDATE: Also on the jump, a response from Kathy Wells, president of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods.

STATEMENT FROM BUDDY VILLINES

My position concerning protection of the Watershed has and is being misrepresented. My goal is to protect the Watershed immediately. The County has a subdivision ordinance in place and years of experience applying it successfully. The ordinance that I have proposed incorporates the science of the Watershed Management Plan. Upon passage we can ensure nothing will be done to harm the Watershed.

There are other parts of the “Watershed Management Plan” that will require a zoning ordinance to implement. The County does not have a zoning ordinance. Under State Law, you have to have a land-use plan before you can enact a zoning ordinance. The Watershed in PulaskiCounty is larger than North Little Rock and more than half the size of Little Rock. It will take at least a year before such a land-use plan can be developed. Meanwhile, the Watershed is unprotected until we adopt the subdivision ordinance.

 
I want to protect the Watershed, NOW. Graham Rich, Director of Central Arkansas Water has said that the proposed ordinance is a good “first step.” I agree. Once enacted, we can move forward with the assurance that nothing will happen to harm our water.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
F.G. “Buddy” Villines
County Judge/Chief Executive Officer
E-MAIL FROM KATHY WELLS
.... [re] today's statement from Judge Floyd (Buddy) Villines of Pulaski County, asserting his proposed ordinance would protect our drinking water from excessive development in the watershed of Lake Maumelle.
note: analysis from water utility consultants debunked his science last April 2, in a memo issued from Tetra Tech, Inc.
his reference to the water utility chief is worth what anyone says with a political gun to the head. who expects Graham Rich to disavow what the county judge says, when he depends on the county judge to carry out actions to protect the water?
the year required to enact a land-use plan bears further discussion. we have detailed maps of the area, thanks to water utility studies. we could promptly enact a use plan that zoned all the land residential, and provided any other use require a Conditional Use Permit. That's what Washington County did.
that subdivision ordinance on which Villines places such reliance is getting its first overhaul in 36 years. no subdivision regulation calls for inspections of buildings, or measures to intervene in a timely manner if things go badly wrong.
probe this ordinance carefully and look at previous postings on the Coalition website.

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