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Posted 12/20/04
Aubrey's Notebook:
Unanswered Questions About Proposed Aspen Ridge Condominiums

Concerns and unanswered questions brought up by the members of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association at November and December meetings of the Subdivision Committee and the Planning Commission of the city of Fayetteville and submitted respectfully before the Fayetteville City Council in regard to the proposed PZD development site known as Aspen Ridge.

Aspen Ridge is the mostly low-lying area immediately east and west of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River between 6th and 11th streets and bordered on the east by Hill Avenue and on the west by the railroad.

The following items were unavailable to a representative of the association on a early December visit to the Fayetteville planning department:

A delineation of the wetland portions of the land.

Results of a study of the overflow area east of the Town Branch between 6th and 11th streets. The Corps of Engineers delineation of the flood plain apparently does not include as much area as that of FEMA. Why is the corps map being used instead of FEMA, if this is true?

A study of the soil on the whole site. Because a great deal of the land is marked by a significant layer of absorbent soil that holds water and slowly releases it to the air and to the shallow groundwater found in much of the area, it seems important to identify areas of different types of soil and incorporate them in such a way as to utilize their existing value in the process of limiting the runoff of storm water.

The results of boring to discover depth of soil, depth of bed rock at sites of buildings, roads and detention ponds

Has boring been done at any of the sinkholes on the property that suggest there may be karst geology with fractured limestone or other geologic structures that may make subterranean water courses vulnerable to surface intrusion?

Tentative or final drainage plan for the 28-acre site

Last April in a meeting of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association it was stated that storm gardens rather than detention ponds would be used on the site. How and why has that changed?

Why is such a high percentage of the existing timber being removed? The only reason stated is that many trees on the east side of the Town Branch are less healthy than those on the west. But having to replace mature trees with a projected life of many more years would seem less reasonable than protecting a higher percentage of mature timber and under-story vegetation on the site.

What is the CURRENT status of negotiation with Pinnacle Foods management for extending the right of way of Brooks Avenue all the way to 15th Street? A year-old NO might at this point be negotiable.

Is there any hope of seeing that the two-story 135-year-old house on S. Hill Avenue immediately north of the Moody two-story house can be saved in some fashion?

Is the intention to ask the Fayetteville Fire Department to burn more of the existing homes? Three have been burned for practice already. One continued to burn for 48 hours.

People with asthma and some of the older people on oxygen support do not need to face smoke from any further burning anywhere on the site for any reason! If wood from the site is to be burned, it should be sold or donated as firewood for home heating.

What is the specific status of the negotiation with the railroad to open the tunnel to continue the trail to the west?

Has the RR been asked to clean up the ties that were dumped at the mouth of the tunnel above the Town Branch this summer?

That would be a first step toward ensuring that it will be possible to extend the trail west toward Indian Trail and Paris Avenue to allow access to the campus for people coming from the south and east.

For decades, people have used the existing railroad and the old east-west railroad right of way slated to be a trail across the Aspen Ridge site as a way to get from the UA, Fayetteville High School, the now-closed Bates Elementary School and the junior high and west campus to their homes to the south.

That trail will be important for commuting on foot or bicycle as well as for hiking and biking for exercise, wildlife and bird watching and leisurely walking.

Has a model constitution or charter for a homeowners' association for the condominium development been developed? In addition to the price of the property, what amount will be assessed monthly to cover the cost of upkeep outside the walls of the buildings?

Will such a charter include recommendations of best-management practices for land adjacent to the riparian corridor of a stream such as the Town Branch?

Will the association be committed to maintaining all structures, vegetation and such on the land to ensure continued compliance with the letter and spirit of the Stormwater II regulations required by federal and state statute?

Will the developer or the homeowners or the city be responsible should flood levels downstream increase in coming years?


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Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

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