Friday, April 25, 2008

Development: The Bluffs at Rivercliff

The Bull Shoals Planning Commission met to discuss the above proposed development. This summarizes that meeting, and upcoming events.

  • The development planning itself is in the 2nd stage (sketch plan previously okayed, and now preliminary plat approval is sought). Prelim Plat approval includes construction plans, which will be reviewed also.
  • Once that stage is okayed (possibly in May), construction of infrastructure can begin (water, sewer, utilities, streets, storm system, etc).
  • Final plat approval is AFTER this construction is completed; at this point, the City accepts the infrastructure.
The Commission looked at and discussed at length the proposed plat, construction plans, etc. No action at this point.Tomorrow night's City Council meeting will have this develoment on its agenda, as required by ordinance. However the council is only advisory; the Planning Commission has final authority, and will receive council's input as a part of their process.


  • Development has new engineering firm (Strider Engineering of Mountain Home); they've designed for six additional lots (now total 21).
  • Topography is very steep. and slopes toward Rivercliff Golf Course, adjacent to the river.
  • Chair has already submitted the storm water drainage plan to ADEQ for their review. The engineering firm representative said the developer has in place a permit for the site, and said ADEQ has been onsite with him.
  • One commissioner said the storm drainage plan is so important it needs to be reviewed by people who know what they're doing -- not the commission.
  • The individual commissioners expressed strong commitment to maintaining White River water quality. They desire to have both a "quality development" AND maintain water quality.
  • As I understood the storm drainage plan (as an audience member, no detailed examination), the plan is to collect drainage to 4 locations, then channel it underground to the lower side of the development, where it will surface into 4-inch shot-rock "check dams" whose job will be to collect sediment. The city will own these and must maintain them. Water will then flow above-ground to golf course (10th fairway then 18th fairway), then to a creek which runs to the river.
  • Chair expressed concern that the developer stabilize the road cuts.
  • I expressed that while the development seems positive for the city (on paper high quality with water, sewer, curbed/guttered streets, underground utilities, etc), Friends is concerned that silt during construction and storm water after construction could affect water quality. I reminded them of the recent Norfork experience that affected that river. Commission members, to a person, stated strong support for maintaining water quality. I believe them.


  • City Council: council members should express at tomorrow night's meeting a request to Commission that serious attention be paid to Storm Drainage review process. The council should also commit publicly to monitor the develoment (if it is approved) very closely to assure the adherence to construction plans approved as a part of the process. Recommend Friends contact at least one city council member and mayor prior to tomorrow night's meeting. I am not acquainted with Mayor Ron Richter.
  • ADEQ review of storm drainage plan and protection measures is key.
  • May 13th & 27th Commission 1 pm worksessions will almost certainly have this as an item.
  • Next regular meeting for official action scheduled for May 28 @ 7 pm.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

AETN documentary addresses state’s water concerns - Apr 24, 9pm

AETN documentary addresses state’s water concerns

CONWAY, Ark. (AETN) — Arkansas has long been a water-rich state, receiving approximately 42 inches of rain annually. But industry, agriculture, population growth and pollution are taking their toll, raising concerns about a water crisis in the state.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network addresses this potential crisis in “Troubled Water,” premiering Thursday, April 24, at 9 p.m.

The film complements the study, “Water Issues in Arkansas an Unfinished Story,” commissioned by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and prepared

by FTN & Associates, Ltd.

“When you consider that 71percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, it’s hard to imagine that we could ever run out,” AETN Production Director Carole Adornetto said. “What we fail to realize are the demands

we’re placing on this fragile resource and the possibility that even in the Natural State we could so severely damage, pollute and exhaust our environment to the point that it might not replenish itself.”

“Troubled Water,” an AETN original documentary, travels across the state to learn more about the strains on Arkansas’s water resources from those who know it best: farmers, geologists, experts and concerned citizens.

They share their opinions and stories about how water is managed and what should be done to protect this irreplaceable resource.

“Issues related to water quality, quantity and availability are affecting the people of Arkansas more and more,” hydrologist Jim Petersen of the U.S. Geological Survey Arkansas Water Science Center said.

“Water affects human health and safety, ecosystem health and our economy – think floods and droughts; drinking water; agricultural usage; nutrients, sediment and

pharmaceuticals in our waterways and drinking water; recreational use and aesthetics.

“There are hard choices ahead that will require an informed public. This documentary explores many of these issues.”

Topics highlighted in the film include: the 8 billion gallons of water per day needed to irrigate Arkansas’s 4 million acres of crops; cones of depression in the Sparta and Alluvial aquifers; the Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project; Union County’s response to being declared as a

critical groundwater area; taste and odor problems with the water in Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas; development in the Lake Maumelle Watershed; Oklahoma’s lawsuit over the Illinois River; and sustainability practices.

Interviewees discuss the many ways water is changing in the state, from the need to dig wells deeper and deeper to a decline in waterfowl hunting due to dry seasons. They express their opinions on using water more

efficiently, finding new sources for water, development in watersheds and changes in quality.

“Troubled Water” features segments taped at Lake Maumelle, Beaver Lake, Stuttgart, De Valls Bluff, Weiner, El Dorado and Clarendon.

The film is closed-captioned in both English and Spanish. It was produced by AETN’s Mark Wilcken and narrated by Julian Rebolledo.

The film is funded in part by a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation -, and the

“Water Issues in Arkansas” report is expected to be published by summer.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network
- - provides lifelong learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans’ lives and celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming and services. AETN’s analog and digital transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide reach.

Interview Subjects in the documentary

Hunter Jones: Rice & Soybean Farmer, Weiner

Cathy Hood: President, Arkansas Rice Festival, Weiner

Shawn Lynn: Owner/Operator, Kill Zone Duck Calls, Weiner

Billy Adams: Rice Farmer, Weiner

Buddy Schwartz: Retired Rice Farmer, Weiner


CONTACT: Tiffany L. Verkler


April 15, 2008

New Development in Bull Shoals asks for plat approval - Public meeting Apr. 23

Dear all,

Following is a notice from the Bull Shoals Planning Commission on a plat for a new development. A plat describes the area to be developed, size of lots and other design proposals for streets, drainage and other services. These meetings focus on whether the proposals fits within the framework of present regulations regarding development in this area.

You'll learn a lot. Citizens are often frustrated by the fact that current regulations seem inadequate to provide sufficient protection of our water, adjoining landowners and the character of the neighborhood itself. However, these regulations are set by ordinances passed by the City or County, not the Commission. The Commission itself has authority only to enforce those ordinances and related regulations. Talk to your City and County officials if you have suggestions.


Strider Engineering has turned in a preliminary plat for Bluffs at Rivercliff, a proposed project next to Rivercliff Golf Course. It will be discussed at the planning commission meeting Wednesday, April 23 at 7PM at city hall. The public is invited to attend and comment. The approval of the preliminary plat is the go-ahead to begin construction. A vote will not be taken at the April meeting, but at a special or regular meeting in May.

Carol Short, Chair

Bull Shoals Planning Commission