by Max Brantley
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.