The driving question for the Ward City Council at the Monday meeting was whether or not to go through the process of developing an ordinance to provide for a recreational vehicle park inside city limits. Council members also heard that water from Greers Ferry Lake could soon be flowing to the city, and acted to close rights of way for the streets of a non-existent city.
Mayor Art Brooke and aldermen Bill Moon, Lee Schoonover, Jeff Shaver, Gary Matheny and Charles Gastineau attended the meeting.
Planning Commission member Randy Staley told the council that action had been tabled on an RV park because of a misunderstanding of the city ordinances, "then we found out that we have no ordinance for RV parks in the city of Ward."
There is an ordinance in place for mobile homes, but that does not cover recreational vehicles, Staley said. "We were corrected on that by Metroplan."
The advice from Metroplan is that if an RV park is to be allowed in the city, there needs to be an ordinance setting requirements, Staley said. "We do feel there is a need for it in the city, with all the pipeline construction going around … We are asking the council to help us with the zoning regulations."
City office manager Deborah Staley reminded the council of the process required to establish such and ordinance. "We can get it in about six or seven months," she said.
The area where an RV park will be allowed has to be established, along with definition of a recreational vehicle, space requirements, service requirement and other specifics, Staley said. Then, when all that has been done, there must be a public meeting for comment, she said.
"It is not a hard process, just a precise process," Staley said.
City attorney Clint McGue said the city would need to set aside areas where such a park would be allowed, the same manner in which the areas where alcohol may be served were set aside.
Brooke appointed a committee of the whole to work with the planning commission to develop an ordinance.
Brooke told council members that Greers Ferry water, through the Lonoke-White Public Water Authority, could be flowing to the city sometime in April.
However, this means a change is needed in the leak adjustment allowed by the water department, Brooke said. The adjustment is for water lost to break in the customer’s water line.
With the LWPWA supplying water, "We pay for every drop that goes through our master meter," regardless of whether it reaches the customer or not, Brooke said.
Customer will no longer get a discount on water rates, Brooke said.
Likely the best the city would be able to make provision for is to accept a payment plan for such instances, he said.
City engineer Tim Lemons reported that all the generators for the wastewater backup system are to be delivered March 24, "All of them at the same time." A secure place is needed to store them until they are installed.
Plans for the improvements to the intersection of Hickory Street, Arkansas 367 and Arkansas Highway 319 are complete; "Our goal is to shut Hickory down, but we need some sort of turnaround for emergency vehicles," he said.
Lemons also said old rights-of-way set for the original plat of Oakland Grove are creating problems for developers and for title searches, "It is a mess," Lemons said.
"There is a church that is built in the middle of a right of way … "It’s been there 150 years, but it is in the middle of a road," he said.
Oakland Grove was originally planned to be built in the area that became Old Austin.
The city was never built, but the rights-of-way still exist, Lemons said. It covers a total of 90 acres.