by Max Brantley
The diehard my-pigs-can-crap-in-my-stream-that-feeds-your-water-supply crowd — pumped by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity — turned out in good number for the hearing tonight at Winfield United Methoidst Church on the Deltic Timber-watered-down land use rules the county is proposing for the Lake Maumelle watershed. A mildly malignant fix is in here, at a minimum, unless the zanies prevail. If they do, stock up on your filters and bottled water, boys. Black helicopters? Yes, the specter of UN control came up.
Clayton J, still fired up from the sales tax opposition campaign (if not as always), provides a brief e-mail report that, amid the rhetoric, makes a point or two worth remembering:
About 250...most at any west meeting I have seen. 70 to 90 die-hards. Poor souls they do not listen very well, we tried to get them to be our west wing of the campaign but those Bozos, as Bill says, couldn't organize a 2 car parade.
Found it ironic that when I left the eastern church property line was also the west most LR city limit line.
Those guys are so far out of the solar system it is hopeless...likely next week that church will be part of LR. And in 2 to 3 years everyone east of the western most part of the basin will be the same. They apparently did not listen to us when we told them that the 1 million a week tax was payment for future uninhibited western annexations???
So if they think those weenie Villines county zoning rules are hard to live with...I can't wait to see their response when they meet LR planning and the LRBOD!!!!...HA!
First speaker started the night off the way I expected the rest to go..confrontational, belligerent, uncooperative....sling a bunch of insults.
I do not hang around for lynchings and left after the first speaker started.
UPDATE: See the jump for comments on the night from Barry Haas, another who's worked long and hard in the effort to protect Lake Maumelle. He also has a prepared statement that touches on recent changes to the plan that will allow more intensive uses in the watershed, undoubtedly a result of Deltic influence.
UPDATE II: Kate Althoff, another watershed advocate, writes: "The homeowners in the watershed are so scared they cannot hear and understand information. They are in a frenzy. They think Central Arkansas Water is the villain behind the zoning ordinance. If there is any villain it is the one who has created the need for zoning. Please read the attached file. [It details Deltic Timber's plans to develop 55,000 acres along the Highway 10 corridor in the watershed.] You will be amazed."
Teresa Oelke, the Koch-paid organizer from Northwest Arkansas whose family profits from the Obama stimulus program she regularly derides, sent out a photo on Twitter pictures of the crowd. Kochs hate land-use controls because they can hamper their many polluting industries.
NOTE FROM BARRY HAAS
I had the privilege to make the statement below on behalf of Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed at tonight's public hearing on the draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code. Wallace Roberts Todd, the consultant helping draft the zoning ordinances, made about a 20-minute presentation including changes made since the last public meetings August 15. That was followed by about 30 speakers with a number of comments about a U.N. world takeover, "sustainable development", etc. The word "sustainable" has become a dirty word to this crowd. The public hearing wrapped up at 8:58 after the last speaker had said his piece.
Ray Vogelpohl, chair of the Pulaski County Planning Board, announced that no later than October 4 any additional revisions to the Watershed Zoning Code will have been incorporated and posted on the Pulaski Co. website. Then on October 25 the Planning Board will hold their regular monthly meeting (time and place to be announced) to consider the revised Watershed Zoning Code and possibly vote to send it to the Quorum Court (or not).
Clayton should have stayed for the entire two hours. It was quite a reality check.
CITIZENS PROTECTING MAUMELLE WATERSHED
Comments on the September 2011 draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code
Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed (CPMW) has been working almost seven years to ensure adequate protections are put in place to protect the drinking water quality of Lake Maumelle and to make sure existing homeowners in the watershed are treated fairly. Development pressure is intensifying in that area. Lake Maumelle is a shallow lake that can't withstand high levels of certain pollutants, so density limits must be put in place and certain uses prohibited in the watershed. Density limits will help protect water quality and also help preserve the more rural lifestyle enjoyed by current residents in the watershed who have been good stewards of their watershed property.
The Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code should protect the interests and lifestyle of current landowners while also ensuring future development will not overly degrade this incredible water supply that 400,000 central Arkansans rely on for their drinking water. Clean, affordable water is vitally important to the central Arkansas economy as well as future economic development opportunities.
One part of the draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code that we hope almost everyone agrees on is the prohibition of certain uses that are totally incompatible with a public drinking water supply. Those include uses like landfills, power plants, large confined animal operations, junkyards, etc.
The September draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code released last week contains a new section, Section 2.3.C.3 on page 9 and Table 3 on page 10, which represent a significant change.
In addition to allowing an additional 8,400 houses with almost 22,000 more residents in the watershed, this new section also triples the amount of allowable commercial space. It's a developer's dream and a nightmare for anyone currently enjoying the more rural lifestyle in the watershed. Who proposed these changes?
TetraTech provided the original analysis of water quality for the Watershed Management Plan. Central Arkansas Water asked TetraTech to analyze these recent changes to the Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code. No action should be taken until TetraTech's analysis is available and can be considered.
We may disagree with each other about parts of the draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code or even the need for it, but current residents who live in the watershed and those of us who have been working for a number of years to help protect our 400,000 neighbors' drinking water quality deserve a process that is out in the open for all to see. We all deserve nothing less.
Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed requests that Section 2.3.C.3 be removed in its entirety from the draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code.
We request the Pulaski County Planning Board vote on the draft Lake Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code no earlier than your regular meeting on October 25.
Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed
Barry Haas, Spokesperson