by Max Brantley
The line is open. Close-outs:
* PENNY LANE: The Metroplan board talked today about the replacement Broadway bridge, including how traffic would be handled at the end of the bridge. Director Jim McKenzie said a roundabout, rather than a massive signalized intersection, was discussed as an alternative for the north end of the bridge.
* DENTIST ARRESTED IN POLK COUNTY: Charged with burglary, stalking and kidnapping. Cato?
* NLR RAPE ARREST: Fox 16 reports arrest of teen rape suspect in North Little Rock, accused of raping another student.
* DELTIC AT WORK: Some interesting comments have developed on the thread about last night's hearing on a land use plan for the Lake Maumelle watershed. I also asked Van McClendon, the Pulaski County planning director, if a late additon to the plan, allowing denser residential development (8,400 more homes could be contributing to potential runoff into the area's chief water supply), was directly supplied by Deltic Timber, which owns 55,000 acres in the watershed. In short, yes, though the Q&A took a bit to reach that point. Our e-mail exchange follows:
Times: Was the change that increased development density written by Deltic? I'm told it was (though that's essentially self-evident) and that [Deltic's] Ray [Dillon] gave it to [County Judge] Buddy [Villines] who instructed you to include it. That true?
McClendon: No, not true. We, the Planning Staff have been working to try to solve as many problems and issues as we can. Our consultants have made the changes at our request.
Times: So you are saying that change was independently instigated by the planning staff — at no outside suggestion — and neither Ray Dillon, Deltic, its lawyers or other professionals had influence in that change suddenly appearing in the plan this late in the process?
McClendon: No, I am not saying that. I am saying a number of changes have been made as a result of staff suggestion, consultant suggestion or other outside parties including large and small property owners.
Times: So I ask again, does not that addition amount, constructively, to language provided by Deltic?
McClendon: Yes, I am sure they are interested in the density requirements.