Overall plan approved

City administrators approved Resolution 46-22 regarding the 2040 Comprehensive Plan at the Tuesday, July 19, city council meeting.

The comprehensive plan titled “Our Vision, Our Future, Comprehensive Plan for the City of Siloam Springs 2040” was unanimously adopted. It replaces the current 2008 plan called “Forward Siloam Springs”, according to lead planner Ben Rhoads.

Rhoads went on to say that the planning process began in 2021 and continued through early summer this year. The plan was divided into four sections: Foundation, vision, the plan itself and strategy, Rhoads said.

A series of public meetings kicked off the viewing process, which set the overall tone for the plan, Rhoads said. During the meetings, Freese and Nichols’ team of consultants gathered feedback to guide the recommendations and development of the plan, Rhoads said.

Along with Freese and Nichols and city staff, the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) played an active role in overseeing the development of the plan, Rhoads said. Along with the 118 recommendations, the plan also contains a new future land use map to replace maps currently used for rezoning and annexation, Rhoads said.

There was no public comment, although Rhoads said he received two comments ahead of the city council meeting, which included adding page numbers to the implementation matrix and a slight update to the future land use map.

All the city managers have weighed in on the plan. Directors Mindy Hunt and Carol Smiley thanked everyone involved in the plan. Hunt said she was excited because of all the citizen feedback on the plan.

Smiley asked if the new land use map changes the zoning of the city. Rhoads told him that one of the plan’s recommendations was to update the city’s zoning ordinance.

“We will review future land use categories and possibly modify the zones to fit the recommendations,” Rhoads said.

Director Lesa Rissler also thanked everyone who worked on the shot, then added that she had received two comments from the community. The first comment was about how the board used the old plan to vote on every project that came up.

Rissler said the overall plan is a guide and the board doesn’t have to vote yes on everything presented to it.

The second comment concerned the last public meeting held on May 19. Rissler said she was out of town during this meeting, but received text messages from attendees during the meeting.

Rissler said a resident asked a question but never got an answer to his question.

“It’s a public meeting dealing with public issues and he was told ‘We’ll talk to each person individually and you can ask questions individually,'” Rissler said.

Other comments received by Rissler said that after the lone resident did not answer his question, public questions were closed and City Administrator Phillip Patterson did not attend the meeting.

“We talked about having a community meeting that they’re not just being heard and people want to be heard,” Rissler said. “They really want to be heard, but they felt closed off. So it’s not what I call a community meeting.”

Director David Allen echoed Rissler’s comments saying he also received feedback from citizens about the meeting and when all questions were closed with five people in the audience raising their hands, it’s not the definition of a public meeting.

Community Development Director Don Clark said in a follow-up phone interview that he spoke with the citizen in question to help answer his question.

Clark also said that the part of the meeting that Allen and Rissler mentioned was supposed to be just a presentation of the plan, and that there was not supposed to be a question and answer period.

Instead, there were panels that contained the full plan for people to review and ask individual questions, Clark said.

Allen also mentioned that the drainage treatment was not mentioned in the plan, and that the city overpaid Freese and Nichols for their work on the plan. The city paid Freese and Nichols $235,000 for their work, Allen said.

“I didn’t feel like that was an appropriate amount to spend on this study,” Allen said. “Of course, I wasn’t on the board at the time of voting, so I’m just saying what I think was too much.”

Director Marla Sappington, who was part of CPAC, said the committee had done a lot of work on the plan and there were areas they could have looked at a little further, but they had a way forward. .

Sappington also said she was at the May 19 meeting but left before the presentation began. She had heard similar comments and found them discouraging. She also said that when the city decided how they wanted to present it, there was no time for questions.

Director Reid Carroll said he thought Clark handled the reunion well and did what he thought was best.

“I may not agree with everyone, but I think you did a great job,” Carroll said.

Director Brad Burns said he would like to see more people get involved in the city.

City managers also endorsed and listened to the following:

Consent Program

• Regular minutes of the July 5 meeting.

• Allocation of utility and right-of-way easements for the 18,000 block of Fisher Ford Road.

• Federal Aviation Administration grant application and grant offer for airport runway pavement rehabilitation in the amount of $163,400.

Presentations

• New firefighters introduced.

• Travis Cheney introduced as new Director of Parks and Recreation.

• Stephanie Freedle was introduced as the new Library Manager.

orders

• Place Order 22-15 regarding the reauthorization of the Citywide One Percent Permanent Sales Allocation Percentage and Use Tax at Third Reading, then proceed to a separate vote to pass the order.

• Place Ordinance 22-16 relating to transfer station dumping fees at third reading and proceed to a separate vote to adopt the ordinance.

• Place Ordinance 22-17 on charges for water meters and water points at third reading and then proceed to a separate vote to adopt the ordinance.

• Place Order 22-19 regarding the rezoning of the 500 block of North Progress Avenue from A-1 to PD at second reading.

• Place Order 22-20 regarding the annexation of 14,087 acres of block 21000 of Arkansas Highway 16 at first reading.

Resolutions

• Approval of Resolution 47-22 placing Order 22-15 on the ballot for the November 8 election.

Staff reports

• Second Quarter 2022 Reports from Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Siloam Springs and Siloam Springs History Museum.

• Second Quarter 2022 Update for 2021-2022 Board Goals.

• Administrator’s report.

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