The Quapaw Quarter Association, which since 1968 has worked to preserve downtown Little Rock's historic buildings and character, has written Governor Hutchinson
asking for his support of the Capitol Zoning District Commission
"We understand there is an effort to abolish the commission," the QQA board president Chuck Cliett and Director Patricia Blick wrote. "We have received and reviewed a letter sent to you and to members of the General Assembly advocating for CZDC's elimination. We would like to take this opportunity to reinforce our support for CZDC and highlight its effectiveness."
The letter referred to came from "neighbors and friends we respect," the QQA letter continues, but "suggests eliminating the CZDC in its entirety rather than working to update the rules with which the signers have concerns. We strongly disagree with the letter's solution of throwing out the baby with the bathwater." [The letter's emphasis.]
Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, sought to abolish the CDZC in the 2016 fiscal session,
but the bill did not come up for a vote. The desire to put the kibosh on the commission, which was created to protect the architectural nature of the district, had its origin in an old battle over the height of a fence.
Some of the issues cited by supporters of the zoning district commission: Eighty-five percent of the requests for permits are approved by agency staff; the commission does not review such things as interior arrangements, paint colors, right-of-way nor state-owned properties; and the district's zoning regulations contribute to its high property values and the fact that there are 53 percent fewer vacant properties per block than in surrounding residential neighborhoods. That is an economic consideration that should not go ignored.