Monday, December 21, 2009

Democrat/Gazette December 21, 2009, editorial advocating saving sale-barn land for Fayetteville National Cemetery pleases majority of veterans and neighbors, but the problem is that saving Town Branch homeowners from flooding downhill from the cemetery is still being ignored: VA already at work preparing to dredge and fill wetland and pipe stormwater directly to Hill Avenue and thus to the 11th Street bridge on the Town Branch

Please click on individual photos to ENLARGE view of wetland area along the north edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery being prepared for dredging and filling for grave sites. The depressional wetland developed over centuries because it is above a bedrock karst area where groundwater sinks into the underground caverns and aquifers and reduces surface-water flooding. When it is piped to the Town Branch it will further aggravate the flooding danger between Ellis and Van Buren avenues already created by the University of Arkansas' failure properly to manage stormwater on the campus and by paving and development along Martin Luther King Boulevard and on the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project.


Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery


Monday, December 21, 2009
LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June.
A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 200 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed.
The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Street from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery.
Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.


This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

Jim Buckner, a former military officer and a leader in the Arkansas division of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, fought valiantly to preserve this property for the cemetery and future fellow veterans. And while the corporation that manages operations for national cemeteries seems to favor expanding the graveyard in an entirely different direction, it needs to acquire these nine acres as well. Few will argue that every cemetery will only grow larger, especially as long as there are veterans.
Mr. Bartholomew, who’s left without a buyer, has earned a sale after everything he’s been through. He’s undoubtedly disappointed that he had to drop his legal challenge. But as everyone knows, any lawsuit can drag on and on with virtually no end in sight. And no potential buyer wants that much uncertainty.
No one can blame Mr. Bartholomew for wanting to sell his property. After all, it’s his property. Today, he shrugs and says he’s just going to “wait and see what happens.”
His bad luck in all this came solely because this sale barn that operated for 70 years happened to lie across the street from one of Arkansas’ three national cemeteries-and this one also happens to be running out of space. Those who both manage and patronize this cemetery now should work diligently to find a way to buy the property.
Editorial, Pages 14 on 12/21/2009

Arkansas Democrat/Gazette editorial a hit with neighbors and veterans on December 21, 2009

Save acres for vets
Now buy the land for the cemetery
Monday, December 21, 2009

Print item

LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June.
A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 200 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed.
The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Street from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery.
Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.
This latest development means thecorporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.
Jim Buckner, a former military officer and a leader in the Arkansas division of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, fought valiantly to preserve this property for the cemetery and future fellow veterans. And while the corporation that manages operations for national cemeteries seems to favor expanding the graveyard in an entirely different direction, it needs to acquire these nine acres as well. Few will argue that every cemetery will only grow larger, especially as long as there are veterans.
Mr. Bartholomew, who’s left without a buyer, has earned a sale after everything he’s been through. He’s undoubtedly disappointed that he had to drop his legal challenge. But as everyone knows, any lawsuit can drag on and on with virtually no end in sight. And no potential buyer wants that much uncertainty.
No one can blame Mr. Bartholomew for wanting to sell his property. After all, it’s his property. Today, he shrugs and says he’s just going to “wait and see what happens.”
His bad luck in all this came solely because this sale barn that operated for 70 years happened to lie across the street from one of Arkansas’ three national cemeteries-and this one also happens to be running out of space. Those who both manage and patronize this cemetery now should work diligently to find a way to buy the property.
Editorial, Pages 14 on 12/21/2009

cemetery

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Appeal of City Denial of approval for apartments next to Fayetteville National Cemetery dropped by auction-barn owner

NWAOnline.com

Landowner Drops Zoning Lawsuit

By Skip Descant

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE — An effort to build college student apartments on the site of the former Washington County Livestock Auction is likely further away than ever.

Billy Joe Bartholomew, the barn’s owner, said the prospect of lengthy litigation to acquire city permission to build on the site prompted Campus Crest, an apartment development company, to lose interest in the project.

“If I could have gotten them down to maybe six months, then maybe they would have stayed interested,” Bartholomew said Monday.

Bartholomew filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit against the city Monday.

The former livestock barn plodded its way through a lengthy and controversial rezoning process, as neighbors and veterans groups came out against North Carolina-based Campus Crest’s plans to build some 200 apartments on the 9-acre site.

The veterans opposed development of student-focused apartments just across Government Street from the Fayetteville National Cemetery, saying the use was incompatible with the hallowed ground reserved for honoring those who served the nation in the military.

The Fayetteville City Council denied Bartholomew’s request to rezone the property from heavy commercial/light industrial to downtown general, a zoning that would have cleared the way for the Campus Crest project. Bartholomew responded by appealing the city’s decision in Washington County Circuit Court, a process that may have dragged out for months, if not beyond a year.

“If you don’t know how long it will take, it’s hard to ask people to wait that long,” Bartholomew said.

For now, Bartholomew isn’t sure what the future holds for the sale barn, which closed its doors in June after more than 70 years in operation. He does not currently have a buyer.

“I’m just going to wait and see what happens,” Bartholomew said.

Campus Crest officials could not be reached Monday afternoon for comment.

That’s terrific,” veteran Jim Buckner said when he learned Bartholomew had dropped the legal challenge. “I think it’s good news for the veterans. It really does clear some things up for us.”

Buckner is a former military officer and is senior vice-commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Arkansas Division.

Although the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. that formally oversees operation of the cemetery has said it wants to expand in another direction, Buckner said Monday he still wants to see the Bartholomews’ property used to expand the cemetery.

Bucker, who helped lead opposition to the student apartments, said he hopes Congress will authorize and fund the purchase of the former auction site through the Department of Veterans Affairs, or that local veterans can somehow raise enough money to buy it.

Ron Wood contributed to this report.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Town Hall meeting starts at 7 tonight Yvonne Richardson Center

Town Hall Meeting to be Held December 14, 2009

DEC
10
2009
Mayor Lioneld Jordan will be holding the final Town Hall Meeting of the year at the Yvonne Richardson Community Center on Monday, December 14, from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come. The Yvonne Richardson Community Center is located at 240 East Rock Street.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Northern strip of wetland on National Cemetery property soon to be prepared for gravesites by government contractors for VA


National Cemetery wetland parking gone wrong

Aubrey james | MySpace Video


When a wrecker gets stuck, you know it wasn't a good place

Aubrey james | MySpace Video







This strip of land recently studied by the VA and its contractors is to be prepared for use by the cemetery. Obviously, it will have to be covered with several feet of additional soil so that graves will be above the flood level and will eliminate a significant part of the "critical groundwater recharge area" of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River. Water that historically would have soaked in there will be forced to find new routes, and the amount of water forced to stay on the wooded wetland at right will be increased. Water running off that area already is piped to the Town Branch at the 11th Street bridge. The volume of water flowing south of that bridge toward 15th Street will be further increased and flash floods will be more dangerous to lives and property downstream.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to mviney@audubon.org
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RCNIC meeting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday December 12, 2009; November minutes below

REGIONAL NATIONAL CEMETERY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
Pres. Roger McClain called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Harold Crivello gave the prayer.
The motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes from the October meeting.
The motion was made, seconded, and passed to accept the Treasurer’s report for October 31, 2009. The ending balance as of that date is $12,626.43.
Jake announced that he has made a memorial donation to the RNCIC by a donation to upgrade the website. He has bought the domain name RNCIC.com and also upgraded the website to a premium plan that does not have ads. Thanks were expressed to Jake.
Wes Stites reported on the 1st 5K Veterans Memorial Race which was held in Fayetteville on Saturday, November, 7, 2009. Preliminary reports indicate approximately $2,300 in total expenses; sponsor donations totaled approximately $3,000; total income from donations and entries was approximately $5,900; leaving a net profit of approximately $3,500 with 3 bills outstanding. There were 104 registered runners. It was suggested that a detailed report should be filed with the secretary for future reference. Thanks were expressed to Wes and Josh.
The race brought good publicity for the national cemetery with TV and newspaper coverage. Wes suggested that extra tee shirts be given to the sponsors. It was felt that since this first race was successful that it should be an annual race on the Saturday closest to Veterans Day with the exact date to be determined each year.
Harold Crivello presented a check to Pres. Roger McClain in the amount of $2,004 from his MOPH local chapter for their share of profit divided up from the national convention.
Ron Butler said that there is a loosely organized group of veterans working to secure the three acres of land north of the administration building and owned by Bartholomew. The work of this group is not to be confused with the work of the RNCIC. The purchase arrangement would be between the VA and Bartholomew.
The group agreed to meet next month in Dec. to finalized the race activities and accounting for the end of 2009.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Lorna Sterrett
Acting Secretary


SPECIAL MEETING 12 December 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27
Peggy McClain

Sunday, November 15, 2009

State Representative Lindsley Smith's legislative update in honor of Veterans Day 2009

Legislative Update‏
From: LINDSLEY SMITH (lindsleysmith@msn.com)
Sent: Sun 11/15/09 8:43 PM
To:
In 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month… the world rejoiced. An armistice was signed to end the “war to end all wars.” The following year, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th to be recognized as Armistice Day. Some two decades later, Congress voted to make November 11th a national holiday to include all veterans of America’s wars.
To honor the service of military personnel and veterans, the Arkansas House of Representatives, in concurrence with the Senate, enacted several pieces of legislation on their behalf during the 87th General Assembly.

· Act 30 of 2009 requires that all state flags on public buildings be lowered to honor and pay tribute to a member of the armed services, who is killed in action.
· Act 944 of 2009 eliminates the requirement that members of the National Guard or Reserve, who are teachers or school administrators, pay for the cost of a substitute employee when the member is on military leave.
· Act 214 of 2009 amends the Arkansas National Guard tuition incentive program by increasing the annual tuition incentive award up to five thousand dollars per eligible service member payable at $2,500 per semester.
· Act 232 of 2009, clarifies the Governor’s power to order the organized militia into active service for the purpose of working with state agencies in the planning and training for emergencies or disasters and to respond to emergencies or disasters.

Additionally, several pieces of legislation were enacted for special license plates to honor military personnel and veterans.

· Act 784 of 2009 creates a newly redesigned military license plate. The plates will be available beginning November 12, 2009, at Arkansas State Revenue Offices that issue special license plates.
· Act 651 of 2009 authorizes the issuance of a special license plate for Cold War veterans.
· Act 685 of 2009 allows the Department of Finance and Administration to issue Gold Star Family special license plates to spouses or parents of members of the armed forces killed in a conflict.
· Act 632 of 2009 amends the Special License Plate Act of 2005 to allow retired members of the armed forces of the United States to obtain special license plates for nominal fees.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the American Legion Post on Curtis Drive a few blocks north of 15th Street in Fayetteville

REGIONAL NATIONAL CEMETERY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
President Roger McClain called the meeting to order at 10:30.
Recited Pledge of Allegiance
Harold Crivello offered the prayer
OLD BUSINESS
1. Jake Lamkins moved, 2nd Aubrey Shepherd the approval of the minutes. Minutes approved.
2. Harold Crivello presented the Financial Statement. Jake Lamkins moved 2nd Beverly Swaim approval of the statement as presented. Motion passed.
3. Harold Crivello suggested we consider getting a CD for $5k at the August meeting. We need to review at October meeting.
4. Wes Stites reviewed donations to date for the 5K Run and led discussion of what we need to do day of event.
NEW BUSINESS
1. Ron Butler discussed meeting with Steve Gray regarding the Bartholomew property. The property is still for sale and any sale of the 3 acres that include the parking area would be between the National Cemetery System and Mr. Bartholomew. We would not have any involvement with this.
2. Lot 15 is available for sale. Owner will be getting appraised value he wants and calling back.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Everyone please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor regarding the cemetery. Bring copies of your letter to the next meeting. IF WE DON’T DO THIS, WE WILL BE IN THE SAME SHAPE NEXT YEAR.
2. The VSO office is located on the County South Campus close to the jail. Everyone feel free to stop by and see the new location. They are there to help all veterans
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Peggy McClain, Secretary
NEXT MEETING 14 November 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27
Peggy McClain

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deanna Duplanti of Fayetteville was pleased with the military-style dog tags appropriate trophies for runners in the Veterans Memorial 5K run on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery

Please click on images to go to Flick site to ENLARGE view of Deanna Duplanti and find related photos and 5K race results.
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Dog tag trophies Vet 5K DSCN7263

Veterans Memorial 5K Race banner at Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 2009, honors top donors: Tyson Foods Inc. donated $1,000 while Hogeye Inc. donated $500 plus pride pins on cards commemorating the inaugural running of the event for all runners

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE view and navigate to see race results and related photos and information.
Veterans Memorial 5 K on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery"DSCN7025

Frank Arellano, 43, of Rogers, who previously won his age group in a race at Eureka Springs, wins Veterans Memorial 5K at Fayetteville National Cemetery on Nov. 7, 2009

Frank Arellano, 43, of Eureka Springs wins Veterans Memorial 5K in 17 minutes, 44.2 seconds on November 7, 2009. The race raised money for the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. It began at the Fayetteville National Cemetery
Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE for reading.
09

Rendy Williams wins women's division of Veterans Memorial 5K race at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 2009; women's results listed below

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE photo and navigate to see related photos and full Veterans Memorial 5K race results.
Rendy Williams of Hot Springs, Arkansas, wins women's division of the Veterans Memorial 5K on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National CemeteryDSCN7210
Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE for reading and find related photos and results later.
Veterans Memorial top 30 women finishers at Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 200909

Northwest Arkansas Times reports on Veterans Memorial 5K with nice background article but lists only overall winner

Race Promotes Expanding Cemetery Borders
By Kate Ward
Sunday, November 8, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — A race across town brought Fayetteville National Cemetery supporters a step closer to expanding property borders on Saturday.
Hosted by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. the Veteran’s Memorial 5K race marked the group’s first official fundraiser aimed at purchasing the property along Hill Street (Actually South Hill Avenue) to expand the cemetery’s existing acreage.
“We’ve been raising funds for a long time through donations from individuals and various veteran organizations,” said Wesley Stites, race coordinator. “This is a small organization and we don’t have that many people involved. We’d like to attract more attention to our cause and create more expansive goals.”
The group was organized in 1984 to aid in the expansion and improvement of the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The site was established after the Civil War in 1867 as the final resting place for Union soldiers killed in nearby battles. During the past five years, the nonprofit group has aided in expanding the property by 120 percent.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Stites said. “We’re in this for the long run. No matter how successful you are, there’s always going to be a need for more land. The World War II generation is passing away in enormous numbers. If we don’t stay ahead of things, the cemetery would close in, perhaps, a dozen years. It’s up to us to keep it open.”
Now administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Stites said the cemetery nearly closed in the 1980s, when just a handful of burial sites remained and no federal funding was available. During the past 25 years, the group has purchased houses and lots bordering the site, cleared the land and deeded the property to the federal government to expand the cemetery.
“There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate the fact that Fayetteville is really blessed to have a national cemetery,” Stites said. “There are 11 states that don’t even have one. Arkansas is fortunate enough to have three, two of which are still open. If the cemetery closes, the VA will not be opening a new one near Fayetteville in anyone’s lifetime.”
Blogger's note:
(By the word "closing" the speaker is talking about running out of space for burials. The cemetery would continue to exist and be maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs if space for new burials ran out.)
While there was previous controversy surrounding the purchase of the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn owned by Billy Joe Bartholomew, Stites said the site is too costly for the group to purchase.
“We would love to be able to buy the sale barn and turn that land over to the cemetery, but unless a major donor comes forward, it’s just not realistic,” he said. “Mr. Bartholomew has been a longtime supporter of the cemetery and he even allowed us to start the race on his property.”
Saturday’s race attracted more than 100 area residents. The event started at the national cemetery on Government Street (Actually South Government Avenue) in south Fayetteville, traveled to Wilson Park and looped back around to the starting line.
Rogers resident Frank Arellano, 43, took first place, finishing in just 17 minutes and 44 seconds.
“I had the option of running in a promotional race in Bella Vista, but this was a more important cause to me,” he said. “My stepdad is a veteran and I really respect all those people who risk their lives for our country and for our communities.”
Although Tontitown resident Janet Taylor sat out for this year’s run, she played an integral role behind the scenes in coordinating the event.
“I’m an Army veteran and I work at the VA,” she said. “Whenever there’s an event that supports veterans, I try to be there. I also helped organize a veterans run for the VA in July and I wanted to share some of the tips I learned for this group’s first fundraiser.”
Stites said he was satisfied with the outcome of the race, adding that it likely raised more than a couple (of) thousand dollars.
“There’s a tremendous amount of history in this cemetery,” he said. “It houses those who’ve been killed in every conflict, including Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t have any friends or family buried here and I’m not a veteran, but I think it’s important enough to spend the time and money to make sure it stays open. It’s our way of saying ‘we respect the sacrifices you’ve made for us.’”
For more information about the group or to make a donation, go to regncic.tripod.com.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Air Force and other services represented by runners in Veterans Memorial 5 on November 7, 2009

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE photo and navigate to see related photos and Veterans Memorial 5 K race results from November 7, 2009
Air Force veteran running on Prairie Street stretch of Veterans Memorial 5 K on November 7, 2009DSCN7095

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation volunteers make a success of Veterans Memorial 5K with the help of sponsors and donors

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE view of volunteer group working at the Veterans Memorial 5K on November 7, 2009, and view related photos and race results by navigating on Flickr.
DSCN7275

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Veterans Memorial 5K entry form for Saturday, November 7, 2009

Please click on image to move to Flicker site and ENLARGE.
5K Entry form 09
Please click on image to move to Flickr page and ENLARGE view.
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Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a sample of items that will be in the goody bags of the first 300 runners who sign up for the Nov. 7, 2009, Veterans 5K.
DSCN8752
Please click on image to go to Flickr page to Enlarge logos of first two major sponsors of the Veterans' 5K race set for November 7, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
TysonLogo2
HogeyeCrest3
Bank of Fayetteville ad 09
Condom Sense 09

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goody bags of 5K runners to include patriotic pins on commemorative cards

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a sample of items that will be in the goody bags of the first 300 runners who sign up for the Nov. 7, 2009, Veterans 5K.
DSCN8752

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Veterans 5K run on November 7, 2009

Please click on image to move to Flickr page and ENLARGE view.
DSCN8751

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Northwest Arkansas Times reports on livestock-auction owners appeal of city decision on rezoning

Sale barn owners sue Fayetteville

Bartholomews suing city for denying rezoning request

By Scott F Davis

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE — Billy Joe Bartholomew, of Prairie Grove, has never been sued or sued anybody - until now, he said Wednesday.

“We’ve just decided it’s time to take a stand,” he said. “I didn’t want to do it. It’s just the fact that we got a raw deal of it.”

The owners of the Washington County Livestock Auction property late Friday afternoon filed a notice of appeal of the Fayetteville City Council’s decision Sept. 15 to deny a rezoning request that would have allowed the sale of the property.

Attorney John Everett filed the appeal in Washington County Circuit Court for Bartholomew and his father, Argil, who own the nine-acre tract in their revocable trusts.

Billy Joe Bartholomew’s grandfather, Bill, built the sale barn in 1936, and the family has operated it until it closed in June. Campus Crest LLC , a Charlotte, N.C., construction company, had contracted to purchase the property for an undisclosed price to build upscale apartments targeting University of Arkansas students.

The sale was contingent upon the rezoning of the property from Industrial to Downtown General to allow the construction.

Family frustrated

Bartholomew said he is frustrated that the council voted against the rezoning after the city’s planning staff recommended approval and the city’s Planning Commission voted 6-1 to approve the request. The process dragged on for months.

Bartholomew and other family members are also dismayed because for years they’ve listened to complaints about noise and odor. They’ve heard fussing about traffic problems caused by farmers hauling cattle in and out of the city. Once they can finally sell and leave, the city blocks the deal, he said.

“They did not have any good excuse,” he said.

Developers insisted the rezoning met all of the city’s goals under its 2025 plan, including infill, revitalization and encouraging a traditional form of development.

In a 3-4 vote, the council denied the request based on concerns about traffic and the lack of compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, City Attorney Kit Williams said.

Veteran factor

Before the vote, dozens of neighbors and military veterans spoke against the request because apartments for college students were planned and the property is immediately across Government Avenue from the Fayetteville National Cemetery.

Veterans had lobbied the council because they wanted the property for future expansion of the cemetery, but lack of funding nixed this option.

Bartholomew said he’d talked to cemetery officials several times over the year about their interest in buying the property, but nothing ever happened.

“Every year or two they came by wanting to buy, but that went on for 10 years,” he said.

Williams said he advised council members that they could not base their decision on who they thought should own the property.

“I wanted it to be a fair decision,” he said.

No tiebreaker

The outcome of the council vote was not the only sticking point for the Bartholomews. They didn’t like the way the vote went down.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan managed to avoid voting on this controversial issue. Alderman Robert Rhoads slipped out of the meeting “for a personal matter” before the vote and then returned later.

He said in an interview afterward that he’d planned to vote for the rezoning request. If that had happened, Jordan would have been forced to vote to break a 4-4 tie.

Jordan did not return a phone message or e-mail seeking comment on the appeal, referring comment to Williams.

Bartholomew said he thought Jordan should have had to vote one way or the other.

“He did not have to show his hand this way,” he said.

Difficult issue

“It was a difficult issue,” Williams said. “There were good arguments on both sides.”

The standard for review in these types of appeals is whether the council’s decision was based on substantial evidence or was arbitrary and capricious.

He said he expects the city to prevail because the council is allowed discretion in these types of decisions.

Based on the facts, he said he thinks the council could have voted either way and prevailed on appeal. He does not believe the council’s decision was arbitrary.

The city has 30 days to file an answer in the case, Williams said.

News, Pages 1 on 10/22/2009

The Morning News reports that sale-barn owner has appealed city's decision not to rezone property

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Sale Barn Owner Appeals Rezoning Rejection

By Dan Craft
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — The owners of the Washington County Livestock Auction are taking their rezoning fight to court.

Billy Joe Bartholomew filed a notice of appeal Friday in Washington County Circuit Court. The Fayetteville City Council last month rejected Bartholomew's request to rezone the sale barn property from heavy industrial/light commercial to downtown general status.

The Bartholomew family operated the sale barn in south Fayetteville for seven decades before closing it earlier this year. A deal to sell the land to Campus Crest, a developer of apartment complexes, hinged on rezoning approval.

"I thought the rezoning was the last thing I'd have trouble with," Bartholomew said.

Veterans' organizations objected to North Carolina-based Campus Crest's plan to construct 200 student apartments on the 9-acre site, which is adjacent to the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The groups wanted time to try to raise $4 million to buy the site to expand the cemetery.

The city planning commission approved the rezoning request, but the City Council voted 4-3 against the plan after tabling the issue several times.

Circuit Judge Doug Martin will hear the appeal. A date for the hearing has not been set.

"Unless the court finds that the council's action was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, they usually won't step into this type of situation," said Kit Williams, city attorney. "Mr. Bartholomew certainly has the right to appeal, but the courts usually grant much deference to the city council in this type of case."

Campus Crest officials have said they may still be interested in purchasing the property if the appeal is successful, Bartholomew said. He hasn't heard anything new from the veterans.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Veterans' Memorial 5K race set for November 7, 2009, drawing major sponsors

Please click on image to go to Flickr page to Enlarge logos of first two major sponsors of the Veterans' 5K race set for November 7, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
TysonLogo2
HogeyeCrest3

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NewsPress reports: Stillwater, Oklahoma, City Council turns down same student-apartment development group that recently was turned down in Fayetteville

Council says no to Campus Crest

Monique Headley
October 13, 2009 05:12 pm

— Stillwater City Council denied the request of Campus Crest developers to build local luxury student housing in a four-to-one vote Monday.
Mayor Nathan Bates cast the only vote in favor of Campus Crest.
Councilors determined the proposed site to be incompatible with the Stillwater comprehensive plan. The planned development of multifamily commercial property was considered excessively dense for the single-family residential area.
Developers said the future may yield another construction bid elsewhere in the city.
Councilors said if certain issues were resolved or alternate location selected, a subsequent Campus Crest request could prove successful.
Campus Crest had asked to rezone property located at 717 E. Hall of Fame Ave. and 1000, 1118, 1120 and 1202 E. Virginia Ave. The company planned to build a clubhouse and eight multifamily, four-story dwellings that would be 50 feet tall.
The hearing room overflowed with about 90 people for and against the planned unit development called The Grove.
Residents said that, if approved, the development would plunge property values, not allow sufficient transition space between the structures and increase traffic and the potential for crime.
Several strongly suggested councilors heed the wishes of residents or risk election retribution.
Regardless of such veiled threats, which Vice Mayor Tom Dugger said he found offensive, “we take resident concerns seriously.”
With the dismissal of developers, resident Glenda Roe said, “I am very glad about the decision. I just really trusted councilors to represent the citizens all over town.”
Development opponent Kevin Campbell was excited about the decision.
“I feel like we followed the rules, listened and communicated. I am pleased with the council vote,” he said.
Campus Crest also brought seven to 10 residents of a Grove property in Wichita, Kan., to the meeting. According to Chief Marketing Officer Shannon King, the company gave them only a free bus ride and lunch in exchange for their presence at the meeting.
None of the imported cadre addressed councilors. Several, like Cameron Bedel and Donnie Chauncey, privately expressed support for the Grove as a great place to live.
Recently, 700 signatures in support of development were collected and provided to the council, Crest staffer Alex Eyssen said.
“I am sad and disappointed that the city did not see the benefit the development would provide to residents and university students,” King said.
Further consideration would be given to another site location in Stillwater, she said.
“I am not surprised by resident reactions. I am surprised by the City Council,” she said.
According to King, all planned unit development and city requirements were met.
Councilors did not feel likewise.
“When you look at the comprehensive plan, people do have a right to be concerned. It did not offer transition,” Councilor Chuck Hopkins said.
If alternate solutions had been presented prior to a vote, sub-issues like drainage and necessary roadwork to accommodate additional density could have been resolved.
Bates said, “I believe there is support in the community for Campus Crest. We have to try to find the right location.”
Additional areas with proximity to Oklahoma State University have been provided by council to developers, he said. Stillwater remains in favor of development and additional housing, he added..
Nearby Hampton Inn and Suites owner Joe Martin concurred.
Martin said the area should allow for future commercial development and a no vote would significantly impact neighboring businesses.
“The growth of Stillwater and OSU is important to me,” he said.
Several councilors commended Campus Crest staffers on their professionalism.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green Groups Guild meeting Thursday

From: Green Groups Guild (ggg@listserv.uark.edu) on behalf of ggg (ggg@UARK.EDU)
Sent: Tue 10/13/09 2:31 PM
To: GGG@LISTSERV.UARK.EDU

Meeting 10/15/09 7:00 p.m.
209 Thompson Ave. Three Sisters Bldg on Dickson above Fez Hookah Lounge.
Patrick Kunnecke
GGG President
ASLA Vice President
4th Year Landscape Architecture Student
479-544-1906

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Runners and Sponsors sought for Nov. 7, 2009, 5K veterans' memorial race to benefit Fayetteville National Cemetery

Please click on image to move to Flickr site and ENLARGE for easy reading. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation meets at 10:30 a.m. Saturday October 10 and needs to add sponsor names to the file for the race T shirts and the brochures so that printing can begin. Already, Tyson Foods has donated at the Medal of Honor level and has challenged others to join them at the top of the list, thanks to the effort of RNCIC Secretary Peggy McClain.
RNCIC 5K sponsorship levels 09

Sunday, October 4, 2009

RNCIC to meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday October 10, 2009, American Legion Post north of 15th Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas

REGIONAL NATIONAL CEMETERY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
Officers present were Ron Butler, Harold Crivello and Beverly Swaim
Absent were Roger and Peggy McClain
Others present were Wesley Stites, Budd Saunders, Aubrey Shepherd and Jake Lamkins.
Lamkins took notes for the minutes in the absence of the secretary.
Total of 7 present
Minutes of August meeting approved unanimously; motion by Lamkins, second by Swain.
Financial statement showing balance of $8393 was approved unanimously; motion by Lamkins, second by Swain.
CD for $5,000 tabled on a motion by Crivello, second by Butler and carried unanimously.
Bartholomew property was discussed, particularly the article in today’s Morning News. Lamkins will post article at the RNCIC website. Butler will send Lamkins a copy of the RNCIC statement for posting on the RNCIC website.
Lot 15 is available for sale and awaiting an assessment by the owner. This piece will tie lots 14 and 16 together for transfer to the VA.
5K Run on Nov. 7th was discussed at length and details spoken to by Wes Stites. Wes will email finalized materials to Lamkins for posting at the RNCIC website. Butler asked Stites to furnish a deadline list for the event.
Booth at the B B & BBQ event approved if we can get a table for no charge. Will need volunteers to staff it.
Motion to adjourn by Crivello, second by Swain and carried unanimously at 11:25 am.
Respectfully submitted,
Jake
NEXT MEETING 10 October 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27
Thanks to Jake Lamkins for filling in during my absence.
Peggy McClain

Veterans' Memorial 5K race set for November 7, 2009: Sponsorship information below

The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation (RNCIC) is organizing a Veteran’s Memorial 5K race on Saturday, November 7th at the National Cemetery in Fayetteville. The purpose of this 5K race is to raise funds for purchase and clearing of land to expand the Cemetery and, even more importantly, to raise the awareness of the Cemetery and the ongoing threat of closure.
We write to ask that you consider sponsoring the event.
The sole mission of the non-profit RNCIC is to secure and clear land adjacent to the Fayetteville National Cemetery to ensure the cemetery can continue to receive veterans for burial. Established immediately after the Civil War, the Fayetteville National Cemetery is an important part of the history of this region and the country. Veterans living in Northwest Arkansas, as well as many veterans from here but now living outside our region, have planned their final resting place here. But that may not be possible in the near future.
The Veteran’s Administration maintains the Cemetery, but the purchase of new land to expand
existing National Cemeteries has not occurred in decades.
When the RNCIC was organized only seven unfilled grave sites remained at Fayetteville National
Cemetery and the Cemetery was soon to be permanently closed to new interments. We have kept the Cemetery open and increased its size by over 120 percent in the ensuing 25 years, but with the passing of the World War II generation of veterans, the Cemetery will be full in a few years and closed to new burials.
Unless, of course, we act now to prevent that.
The recent controversy over the possible rezoning and development of the adjoining property has regularly been on the front page of local newspapers this summer. The massive turnout of veterans and non-veterans alike to public hearings demonstrates the deep emotional currents that surround the National Cemetery. We are grateful for past commitments to support veterans made by this community. We plan to make the race an annual event and, in this inaugural year, we are happy to give you the opportunity to associate yourself with keeping an important part of this region’s and nation’s heritage alive and to honor those who guarded us. We hope that you will see your way clear to sponsor this event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Respectfully submitted,
Wesley Stites, Race Organizer
wstites@uark.edu
Tel: 479-871-7478
5K RACE
VETERANS MEMORIAL
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
http://regncic.tripod.com


2009 Veteran’s Memorial 5K Race Sponsorship Levels
We thank you for considering sponsorship of this fundraising event. As you may know, all
proceeds of the race go to purchase and clear land for the expansion of Fayetteville National
Cemetery. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation is a registered nonprofit
with a 25-year history. Through the efforts of this group and, even more importantly, the
generosity of past donors, land has been purchased, cleared, and donated to the Veterans Administration increasing the size of the National Cemetery by 120% and keeping it open for
burial of veterans. However, without additional purchases of land, the cemetery will be closed in 14 years or less.

MEDAL OF HONOR - $1000
Business name and logo prominently on front and back of race shirt
Business name and logo on all race materials and race website
Sponsorship noted in all press releases
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
10 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE - $500
Business name and logo prominently on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
5 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

SILVER STAR - $250
Business name and logo on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
3 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

BRONZE STAR - $100
Business name and logo on back of race shirt if room allows
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of product samples in race goodie bags
1 complimentary entry and/or race shirt

Contact Information:
Wesley Stites 479-871-7478
All checks should be payable to Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation or to R.N.C.I.C.

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Saturday, September 26, 2009

VFW representative Robert Wise of Winslow raises money to help buy sale-barn land to enlarge Fayetteville National Cemetery at BB&BBQ on September 25, 2009

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE view of Robert Wise raising money to ENLARGE Fayetteville National Cemetery.
DSCN7190Robert Wise VFW

Friday, September 18, 2009

RNCIC 5K RACE needs donors

2009 Veteran’s Memorial 5K Race Sponsorship Levels

We thank you for considering sponsorship of this fundraising event. As you may know, all
proceeds of the race go to purchase and clear land for the expansion of Fayetteville National
Cemetery. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation is a registered non-profit
with a 25 year history. Through the efforts of this group and, even more importantly, the
generosity of past donors, land has been purchased, cleared, and donated to the Veterans
Administration increasing the size of the National Cemetery by 120% and keeping it open for
burial of veterans. However, without additional purchases of land, the cemetery will be closed in
14 years or less.

Medal of Honor - $1000
Business name and logo prominently on front and back of race shirt
Business name and logo on all race materials and race website
Sponsorship noted in all press releases
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
10 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Distinguished Service - $500
Business name and logo prominently on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
5 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Silver Star - $250
Business name and logo on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
3 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Bronze Star - $100
Business name and logo on back of race shirt if room allows
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of product samples in race goodie bags
1 complimentary entry and/or race shirt

Contact Information:
Wesley Stites 479-871-7478
All checks should be payable to Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation or to
R.N.C.I.C.

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fayetteville City Council votes down rezoning proposal that would have allowed building apartments next to National Shrine

Sale barn rezoning fails
Alderman Rhoads leaves council room before vote
By Robin Mero
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — A request to rezone the Washington County Livestock Auction property failed the Fayetteville City Council by a 3-4 vote on Tuesday.
The four aldermen who were opposed expressed concern about compatibility of the request, which was to downzone nine acres from Industrial to Downtown General. Dozens of neighbors and military veterans spoke against the rezone because apartments for college students are proposed and the property is immediately across Government Avenue from the Fayetteville National Cemetery.
One alderman who left the meeting may have changed the outcome.
Alderman Robert Rhoads left the meeting during public comment and was outside the council room immediately following the vote.
“I had to leave for a personal matter,” Rhoads told a reporter, who asked where he went. When asked how he would have voted, Rhoads said, “In favor.”
In a tie, Mayor Lioneld Jordan would cast a deciding vote.
City Clerk Sondra Smith said Rhoads told her before the meeting he would be leaving early and would return.
When Rhoads was asked if he considered requesting the council wait for his return before voting, he said, “[Alderman] Bobby [Ferrell] was trying to slow things down.”
When the mayor was asked if he considered moving to another agenda item or taking a break until Rhoads returned, he said no.
Alex Eyssen, regional development partner for developer Campus Crest LLC, said his group will be considering options during the next several days.
“We are obviously disappointed. We feel we made a good faith effort to present a development consistent with the longterm goals of Fayetteville. We still are very interested in coming to Fayetteville and feel the city and university have a need for luxury student housing,” Eyssen said.
In explaining their decisions, aldermen who voted against said the zoning request didn’t seem compatible with the neighborhood.
“I really feel this is not compatible with the adjacent neighborhood. ... I am a supporter of modest neighborhoods. ... It’s a nice little neighborhood,” Alderman Shirley Lucas said.
Alderman Kyle Cook said he’s often preached the importance of density during his seven years on the council.
“I’ve gone back and forth on this one. While I am very supportive of Downtown General, I don’t think it’s right for this piece of land,” Cook said.
Aldermen Sarah Lewis and Brenda Thiel also didn’t like Downtown General for the property.
“There have been a lot of good points on both sides of this issue, but I don’t think this project does well in this location. I’d rather see some type of mixed use,” Thiel said.
The developers insisted the rezoning met all city goals under its 2025 Plan, including infill, revitalization and encouraging a traditional town form of development. The planning commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval of the project, and the city’s planning staff supported the rezone.
The project would have had an $8.6 million impact for the city during the first year and $1.6 million per year thereafter, developers said.
Alderman Matthew Petty voted in support of the rezoning.
“It would be easy to vote no; it would be the politically convenient thing to do,” Petty said. “This is on the edge of the neighborhood. It fits the very definition of what Downtown General should be. ... We don’t have too many apartments in Fayetteville; we have too many apartments in the wrong places.”
Aldermen Adella Gray and Robert Ferrell also voted in favor of rezoning.
The council also tabled a vote on proposed ordinances to regulate activities of rock quarry and red dirt mining facilities within a one-mile radius of city limits, to prevent annoyances and injury. They heard a great deal of public comment about the issue but want to refine language of the ordinances before moving forward.

News, Pages 1, 5 on 09/16/2009

Copyright © 2009, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Local blog quotes TMN article and takes opinion of three members of RNCIC as gospel

The story below was published Saturday. At the monthly meeting of the RNCIC at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, a copy of it was passed around by the only RNCIC members who appeared to know about it before it hit the press. Notice that the RNCIC release did not say that the group does not OPPOSE the building of multistory buildings across narrow South Dunn Avenue from the cemetery. It just claims that the RNCIC wants to continue its slow process of buying existing small homes on S. Hill Avenue while eliminating them from Fayetteville's limited supply of affordable housing for working people.
I have long been amazed that two or three members of RNCIC have expressed enthusiasm for buying up those homes and pushing low-income workers' families further from the work places. I do realize that not everyone understands the importance of protecting the Beaver Lake watershed and the groundwater by keeping the rich, dark prairie soil in such karst wetland areas as exist around the northern edge of the sale-barn property and the existing Natonal Cemetery property. Relatively few people understood when we brought up the facts about the seasonal wetland over karst bedrock on the 30-acre Aspen Ridge site. Far too many who recognize the geographic and geological facts of Fayetteville say that wetland is "only an engineering problem." Far too many people simply don't care.
I wasn't surprised by the RNCIC comments to the newspaper or by the opposite comments by other veterans. However, the only reason I expected something of the sort to occur today was that I had talked with a developer's representative the day of the veterans' meeting with Senator Pryor at the National Cemetery and was told of the developers' intention to continue to try to dissuade opponents of the rezoning and the possibility of multistory buildings going in there. I assured the man that I would not be dissuaded from opposition to ANY incompatible project next to the National Cemetery or close to the Oak Cemetery in adjacent to the neighborhood I already loved and appreciated when I decided to buy a home there nearly 15 years ago. I saw the National Cemetery as a very important asset to our neighborhood long before I decided to move into the area.
Some weeks after speaking with the developer's lawyer at the cemetery, three neighborhood representatives who live south of the National Cemetery and the Washington County Livestock Auction property and I met with the same young lawyer at the city library and heard only a discussion of what he considered the merits of the project he was promoting for the North Carolina company he works for without a hint of remorse for what such a project might do to the neighborhood and the cemetery during its construction and after completion. We assured him that we would remain adamantly opposed to rezoning the property in any way that would allow dense development or construction of multistory buildings.
Sometime later, one of my neighbors at that meeting had another occasion to speak with the developer and was told that he would be meeting with the secretary and the president of RNCIC. My neighbor was not invited to attend that meeting. Something about dividing and conquering your opponents, it appears. The husband-wife team of officers and whoever else may have met with the young lawyer/developer's representative did not communicate anything about that meeting to me or some of the other 7 members of RNCIC who attended today's meeting. The president and secretary of RNCIC did not attend Saturday's RNCIC meeting, which was chaired by the vice president of the organization, who asked the group to agree that they were finished with fighting the sale-barn rezoning.
The vice president of RNCIC, Ron Butler, has attended and spoken against the rezoning and incompatible uses at all the Town Branch neighborhood and Ward One meetings and planning commission meetings and a couple of the several City Council meetings where this issue has been discussed. Harold Crivello, treasurer of the RNCIC, and a few other RNCIC members and many veterans who have contributed to RNCIC directly or through their various groups such as DAV, VFW, American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart and others spoke nobly and eloquently against the rezoning and dense development next to the National Cemetery at several city meetings.
After Crivello presented his treasurer's report for the month, the vice president reported that a real-estate agent (I think he described the person as a woman and as a REALTOR, had donated $465 to RNCIC and promised to challenge other real-estate companies in Northwest Arkansas to match her donation. Thanks to that person, identified at the meeting only as representing KWCares in Arkansas.
http://www.kwcares.org
The charity's Facebook page says that "KW Cares is a 501(c)(3) public charity created to support Keller Williams Realty associates and their immediate families with hardship as a result of a sudden emergency. Hardship is defined as a difficult circumstance that a person or family cannot handle without outside help.
The charity is the heart of Keller Williams Realty culture in action – finding and serving the higher purpose of business through charitable giving in the market centers and communities where our agents live and work."
KW's donation is the kind of corporate generosity that the National Cemetery fund-raising effort must have to secure the old sale barn property. It will take months for Senator Pryor, Senator Lincoln and Congressman Boozman to have a chance to fulfill their firm promises directly to me and other veterans that they will work together to secure federal funding for the purchase.
Apparently, KW Cares agrees with the overwhelming majority of fellow veterans I have talked with and with all my fellow residents of the Town Branch Neighborhood that the threat of apartments or anything being built on the sale-barn land is an emergency. The most common comment from people I ask for an opinion on the proposed rezoning that would allow apartments there is "I think the veterans ought to get it."
Sorry I wasn't asked to comment as a neighborhood coordinator on the content of the news release provided by a couple or two or three officers of the RNCIC to the newspapers. I guess the reporter forgot that this proposal affects a neighborhood as well as the people who have fought in our nation's many wars while others stayed safely at home and those who served loyally but never faced the enemy in combat.

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Regional Military Cemetery Association Not Focused On Sale Barn Property
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — A nonprofit veterans group charged with acquiring property for cemetery expansion has separated itself from the debate to rezone the Washington County Sale and Livestock Barn.
The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation will continue to focus its efforts toward purchasing lots along Hill Avenue for the expansion of the Fayetteville National Cemetery. Purchasing the sale barn site is not on its radar, the corporation said in a statement released this week.
"Considering the estimated multimillion dollar purchase price for the sale barn properties, the RNCIC has determined that purchase of that property by the RNCIC would not be feasible, unless we received several large donations from the private sector, or specific federal government land purchases," according to the statement. "None of these options appear promising at this time."
A need for more cemetery land has been one argument by veterans groups opposed to a rezoning of the sale barn site. Campus Crest, a university housing developer wants to purchase the property as a location for student apartments. The Fayetteville City Council is set to make the rezoning decision at Tuesday's meeting.
Jim Buckner, a retired lieutenant colonel representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and one of the leaders behind a proposal to purchase a 3-acre section of the sale barn site, said his group remains committed to the idea of eventually purchasing the property if the rezoning is denied.
"We're both trying to do the same thing, and that's expand the cemetery," Buckner said Friday.
"Our zeal hasn't wavered at all," said Sam Sansom, of West Fork, and president of the Military Officers Association of America. "Our goal is still to acquire that existing 3-acre property."
"There's nothing wrong with coming from two fronts," Sansom added. "I applaud the actions of the RNCIC. They have been the cornerstone of cemetery expansion."
"If the rezoning goes through, the fallback will be to return to the successful efforts of the RNCIC," Sansom said.
Meeting Information
Fayetteville City Council
When: 6 p.m., Tuesday
Where: City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2009
Old Soldiers Never Lie...

Unless it is convenient. We have been hearing for months now, rather rudely at times, that the proposed rezoning of the former Sale Barn property and the possible construction of an apartment complex for students is not only an affront to veterans but also the last insult to fallen heroes who will have nowhere to be buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery. This line has been proffered most aggressively by Jim Buckner, a retired lieutenant colonel who has wrapped himself with the mantle of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and rudely made threatening remarks at City Council meetings, and by Aubrey Shepherd on his aubunique blog.

This week, we learn from articles in the Fayetteville Flyer and the Morning News, that it ain't so. The Regional National Cemetery Inprovement Corporation, which has since 1984 acquired 23 parcels of land to expand the burial ground, says they are sticking with the plan to purchase an additional 15 parcels to the west between Government Avenue and Hill Street whenever they can raise an additional $1.3 million. What effect will the political meddling of the rival group have on this group and its 25-years of hard work and dedication to raise donations for expansion? Milo Cumpston must be looking down and shaking his head, wondering where Buckner and Shepherd were during previous fundraising efforts.

There are lots of reasons not to rezone the neighborhood, and there are good arguments against building another apartment complex. It is sad that some chose a shady tactic that ignored the long and legitimate efforts by the RNCIC to expand the Fayetteville National Cemetery and took cheap shorts at college students by calling them unworthy neighbors.
Posted by Lessie at Saturday, September 12, 2009
5 comments:

Uncle Walt said...
i like the Aubunique blog and the great pics, but until Shepherd adjusts his settings to reduce the number number of posts displayed, no one can read it anyway. It takes too long to load, and I give up waiting.
September 12, 2009 12:20 PM
aubunique said...
Uncle Walt, for you and others who may have the same trouble, I just got on this blog (The Fayettevillage Voice) for the first time today, read your post, and have reduced the number of posts displayed on aubunique from 50 to 10. Also, a few weeks ago my picasa by Google blog storage of 1 gig filled and I started using my flickr site to post photos and then link to my 40-plus blogspots. That uses almost no memory when loading the blog and I am already paying for unlimited storage on Flickr.
It often costs me an extra hour to get a photo on the blog because it takes a few easy steps to do it and I am often drawn to other issues and chores and put it off.
I hope it encourages you to check out aubreyshepherd.blogspot.com (aka aubunique) more often. By the way, I had the setting at 500 posts at one time, which allowed people who could open it to easily go back a month or more without using the nearly invisible OLDER POSTS live link at the bottom of the blog.
I gradually reduced my setting to 50 over a period of months and it was working for a lot of people with the best internet connections and I had no trouble with it on my ATT DSL. But thanks for the advice.
September 12, 2009 5:00 PM
aubunique said...
On the main points of this thread:
There was no THREAT of three-story buildings being built overshadowing the National Cemetery that I knew of until an alderman called in late February or early March asking me to set up a neighborhood meeting to hear a proposal from developers at the request of a local lawyer who at this point is apparently no longer associated with the project. Because of an occasional but repeated complaint over the past decade or whatever, the alderman seemed to be expecting the neighbors would be glad to see the Washington County Livestock Auction disappear. It turned out that the majority who "turned out" for the meeting said they LIKE the sale barn and hoped it would not close.
Living at the south end of the 30-acre environmental disaster originally known as Aspen Ridge condos or townhouses, I knew that the sale barn wouldn't be the big concern. The big concern for the majority of the neighbors on the sale-barn side (eastern portion) of the Town Branch neighborhood was the proposal to rezone for student apartments. Even those who rarely ventured to S. Hill Avenue and S. Duncan Avenue, the streets most affected by the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project knew they didn't want more of the same construction noise, dust, debris, mud and speeding, uncovered dump trucks in their area. And they ALL agreed that Fayetteville didn't need more apartments whether for students or for anyone. The neighborhood is mostly single-family homes with a few duplexes and one small one-story building smaller than thousands of houses in Fayetteville that contained tiny apartments. Everything in the neighborhood could be bought or rented on a working person's pay.
I'll stop now and write more later. Don't need to further build my bad rap for too many words in one space!
September 12, 2009 5:15 PM
aubunique said...
Sorry for my disjointed style and failure to proofread the previous post. I'll edit before I post my comments when I return to this later. Meanwhile, maybe someone will review some of this week's photos on aubunique. I really would prefer never to write about or photograph such issues as bad development. I love showing what is beautiful and good about Fayetteville and try to intersperse the two even on days when most of the events I witness are negative.
September 12, 2009 5:21 PM
aubunique said...
Please visit my comments on the news article and on the RNCIC meeting on Saturday by visiting http://aubreyshepherd.blogspot.com (use Lessie's link to it at right if you don't want to copy and paste). And please comment both there and here. Maybe later I'll try to edit the previous posts so that they come closer to making sense!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 12 meeting of the RNCIC at 10 a.m. Saturday: Please review minutes of August meeting; city council vote on rezoning Tuesday 9/15/09

REGIONAL NATIONAL CEMETERY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Vice President Ron Butler called the meeting to order at 10:30.
Recited Pledge of Allegiance
Harold Crivello offered the prayer

OLD BUSINESS
1. Beverly Swaim moved, 2nd Harold Crivello the approval of the minutes. Minutes approved.
2. Harold Crivello presented the Financial Statement. Beverly Swaim moved 2nd Budd Saunders approval of the statement as presented. Motion passed.

NEW BUSINESS
1. Harold Crivello suggested we consider getting a CD for $5k. He requested members consider this for a month and we will discuss again at next meeting.
2. Ron Butler discussed meeting with Steve Gray regarding the Bartholomew property. It was determined without more information we couldn’t make a decision.
3. Lot 15 is available for sale. Owner will be getting appraised value he wants and calling back.
4. Wes Stites presented rough draft of 5K run brochure. He will email a PDF of brochure and information to everyone for their use in soliciting donations. We are going forward with this and need everyone’s help in soliciting donations to make this a successful event. Wes will contact funeral homes and print shops.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Everyone please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor regarding the cemetery. Bring copies of your letter to the next meeting. IF WE DON’T DO THIS, WE WILL BE IN THE SAME SHAPE NEXT YEAR.
2. The VSO office is located on the County South Campus close to the jail. Everyone feel free to stop by and see the new location. They are there to help all veterans

The meeting was adjourned at noon a.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Peggy McClain, Secretary


NEXT MEETING 12 September 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video from the Fayetteville National Cemetery with Washington County Livestock Auction barn in the background

Please go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7295307@N02
to see some of today's photos online. My picasa gigabite is full!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Karst map of NW Arkansas significant tool for identifying green infrastructure deserving of protection

Please click on images to ENLARGE to read and see detail.



http://watershedwarrior.blogspot.com

The Town Branch Neighborhood is the smallest rectangle on that map. Enlarge the chart to read it.
Our neighborhood is a small hotspot for groundwater recharge and you can see how the wetland with springs and depressed land coincides with the karst coloring when you click and blow up the map.
Although the Nature Conservancy guys who created it admit that more ontheground investigation (and underground) to confirm a stricter scientific map is needed, it matches what I have believed about our neighborhood for some time. You can see the national cemetery circle with the karst just to the north along the old alley between Gov ave and Hill ave and pinnacle and wpwp are bright as is my own yard!
Please note one particular error. Cato Springs Branch, a northeast-flowing tributary of the Town Branch, is mistakenly called the Town Branch on the map. The oldest available government maps mark the portion of the Town Branch that flows from the UA and through our neighborhood as the Town Branch.
This is a significant tool for working on green-infrastructure plans and the FNHA already has it but in PDFs, which I can't post on the blogs.
Aubrey James Shepherd

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skip Descant of The Morning News reports on delay of vote on sale-barn issue

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Sale Barn Zoning Delayed A Month

By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — Even though veterans and community groups wanted to see the Fayetteville City Council move forward on a zoning request, the city stalled.

The council Tuesday evening ceded to a delay request by developers wanting to build apartments on the 9-acre Washington County Livestock and Sale Barn site.

The council is now to decide the sale barn rezoning Sept. 15.

What irked groups was the continued delay at making a decision.

"This whole issue is beginning to sound like a good-news, bad-news joke," said Sam Sansom, president of the Northwest Arkansas Military Officers Group. "And bad news doesn't get any better."

The tabling request came from Campus Crest, the North Carolina student housing developer set to purchase the site if the zoning request goes through. Developers are still working through the "bills of assurance." Those are guarantees by the developer the project will have certain limitations regarding issues such as density or height.

"There's a lot of moving parts. It's a timing thing, and we'd like some more time to reach out and make some plans," Alex Eyssen, an attorney representing Campus Crest, told the City Council last night.

Veterans groups oppose the zoning change because they would like to buy some of the land as an area to expand the Fayetteville National Cemetery. But they also oppose the idea of college students living next door to the cemetery.

The City Council voted 7-1 to table the request. Robert Rhoads voted against. But other council members also expressed discomfort with the delay.

"I really don't want to table it, myself," said Shirley Lucas, a council member from Ward 4. "It bothers me that the people asking for the extension are not the ones who own the property."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Imagine all the people .......................... living so close

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Dunn Avenue along the east edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery as it would appear if student apartments were allowed to be built on the site of the former Washington County Livestock Auction.

Campus Crest's draft of a concept drawing/tentative plan for apartments the company wants permission to build

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a draft of a concept plan for a proposed student-apartment complex along the east border of the Fayetteville National Cemetery as it was shared by a representative of the developer on August 11, 2009.

Should rezoning to Downtown General be approved by the Fayetteville City Council to allow apartments or other large-scale projects next to the National Cemetery, the plan would be modified in later meetings with the planning department and planning commission. But rezoning to Downtown General would basically eliminate future council input into what kind of project might go on the land.
Veterans, members of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association and hundreds of others have expressed opposition to the rezoning. And finding someone who believes apartments would be appropriate on that site is difficult.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senator Pryor pledges support to buy sale-barn property

Please click on images to read August 12, 2009, Northwest Arkansas Times stories on Senator Mark Pryor supporting acquisition of sale-barn property for addition to the Fayetteville National Cemetery and story about possible delay in vote on sale-barn property until first council meeting in September.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RNCIC meeting set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 8, 2009, at the American Legion building on Curtis Avenue north of 15th Street in Fayetteville

The August meeting of the RNCIC is to begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 8, 2009.

REGIONAL NATIONAL CEMETERY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Minutes of July meeting:
President Roger McClain called the meeting to order at 10:30.
Recited Pledge of Allegiance
Harold Crivello offered the prayer

OLD BUSINESS
1. Jake Lamkins moved, 2nd Beverly Swaim the approval of the minutes. Minutes approved.
2. Harold Crivello presented the Financial Statement. Jake Lamkins moved 2nd Beverly Swaim the approval of the statement as presented. Motion passed.

NEW BUSINESS
1. Discussion of how to notify people of our mailing address for donations.
2. Bruce Schaffer reported people are calling the cemetery office with questions about what is happening.
3. President McClain reported Dudley Shaddeburg of the Dept. of VA called and requested our permission to use our group as an example of the way to form an organization to purchase property for cemeteries for the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN.
4. Jake discussed our website. Geocities is closing so he will be moving us to a new website.
5. Harold Crivello will hold off on moving our account from B of F to Arvest due to several recent death notices that listed them as a way to make a donation to RNCIC.
6. MOPH National Convention will be held in Rogers at J Q Hammond Convention Center. Discussed having a booth to distribute information at the start of the convention. Beverly Swaim and Lorna Sterrett volunteered.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Everyone please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor regarding the cemetery. Bring copies of your letter to the next meeting. IF WE DON’T DO THIS, WE WILL BE IN THE SAME SHAPE NEXT YEAR.
2. The VSO office is located on the County South Campus close to the jail. Everyone feel free to stop by and see the new location. They are there to help all veterans

The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy McClain, Secretary

NEXT MEETING 8 August 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DISCUSSION of rezoning of sale-barn property next to Fayetteville National Cemetery tabled until August 18 rather than Aug. 4 as developers' requested

Please click on image to ENLARGE 2009 aerial view of Fayetteville National Cemetery, the sale-barn on its eastern edge and wetland areas to the north and west toward South Hill Avenue.

By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/07/21/news/072209fzcouncil.txt
FAYETTEVILLE — Rezoning the 9-acre Washington County Livestock and Sale Barn was left on the third reading Tuesday night. The council tabled the measure for four weeks, at the request of the developers. Campus Crest, a student housing developer wants to build apartments on the site. The move is opposed by a number of surrounding neighbors and veterans groups representing the nearby Fayetteville National Cemetery.
At the last city council meeting, Dan Normand, a representative for Campus Crest, said the company is willing to issue assurances that it will keep its word on certain developmental amenities such as a 25-foot vegetative buffer.
The developers are asking the property be rezoned from light industrial to downtown general. Bills of assurance attached to rezoning tend to better spell out what sort of development can happen, say planners. For example, the developer may make assurances regarding general development concepts such as density or building height, said Kit Williams, city attorney.
Alderman Update
Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty was not at Tuesday's meeting as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered while on Center Street in Fayetteville on Monday. He was on his way to Giraldi's restaurant.
No vehicles were involved.
He says surgery will not be needed.
Source: Staff Report

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Many people visit national cemeteries on vacation, benefiting cities that advertise having national cemeteries; Times' headline premature

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a couple from West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on July 14, 2009. They were on a self-guided tour of Civil War battlefields and National Cemeteries and such. Many people choose to vacation in cities that have significant historic sites.

The July 15 headline below may be accurate if published again on July 22.
"Rezoning of sale barn property postponed
BY ROBIN MERO Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/78148/
"Consideration of a rezoning request for the Washington County Livestock Auction property will wait until the Aug. 4 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council.
"Developer Campus Crest LLC wants two more weeks to develop a bill of assurance for the request, which will be presented to the council with the aim of making the zoning request more palatable.
"The developer is asking that nine acres be rezoned to downtown general from heavy commercial/light industrial and seeks to build apartments for University of Arkansas students."

The headline and the two graphs above were written after an agenda-setting meeting of the Fayetteville City Council. It may turn out to be accurate if the council tables the issue during the July 21 meeting. No action is taken at agenda sessions beyond setting the agenda for the official council meeting. If the developers actually do ask that it be tabled at the July 21 meeting, then the a member of the council could make a motion to table and, if that were seconded, then they could vote to table or not. If the council approves tabling, then it might not be further discussed.
If the tabling fails, then a motion could be made to vote on the issue of rezoning, which would require allowing developers to present and the public to speak. So there is no guarantee that the issue will not come to a vote at this meeting, but it does appear likely that it will be delayed until the first August meeting.
It would be an embarrassment to the city if apartments were allowed next to the national cemetery. This isn't about property rights. The lack of need for apartments for university students at this time has been well-documented. The obvious need in Fayetteville is for affordable housing such as the single-family homes in the neighborhood nearest the former sale barn and the National Cemetery.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of representatives of the VA and contractors on July 14, 2009, discussing plans to prepare property to be added to the Fayetteville National Cemetery.

On Tuesday, federal officials and engineers and others with experience in cemetery design walked the cemetery and some adjacent land to the west that already has been bought by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation and donated to the VA for cemetery expansion. That land will be prepared after careful study of that land to become part of the burial ground. But it will not meet the projected need for more space for much more than a decade.
The sale-barn ground also would require careful planning and much work if it is added later. But the people on hand yesterday are well-trained and able to do it properly. It will be needed and is in the natural spot to be added to the existing cemetery that was created in 1867, soon after the civil war ended.
Maybe some people would not see the inappropriateness of putting apartments there unless it were allowed and then they actually experienced what it would be like.
Just imagine.

Quoting the NWAT article further: "The council by law is to consider only whether the zoning requested is compatible with the neighborhood.
"Alderman Sarah Lewis asked how the developer can present information about the project when the council is not to consider a specific project.
" 'I don't understand; we're not allowed to talk about the project, but they're allowed to bring a bill of assurance," Lewis said.
"City Attorney Kit Williams said a bill of assurance doesn't describe a project, only limits the range of a zoning.
A bill of assurance places voluntary restrictions on a developer."
"Copyright © 2001-2009 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com"

Regardless of the outcome of the effort to stop this rezoning, the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation will continue its fund-raising effort. There is no guarantee at this point that federal money will be provided to help expand the cemetery even though Senator Blanche Lincoln told me in person that she will work toward that end and even though Congressman John Boozeman told me and several other people recently that he will work to earmark a bill in the House of Representatives to provide money through the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase the sale-barn property to add to protect the future cemetery and the thousands of veterans are eligible for burial there already.
Please make donations payable to the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation and mail to P.O. Box 4221, Fayetteville, AR 72702.
For more information, please go to the RNCIC's Web site at http://regncic.tripod.com
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation's Web site