Development in the Lake Maumelle watershed protection debate:
Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed, a voluntary group of environmentally conscious and dedicated citizens, has said it supports a land use plan heading to a vote at the Quorum Court Tuesday night. (UPDATE: County Judge Buddy Villines says a final vote isn’t expected, just a first reading.) It continues to urge improvements to a second ordinance, a more contentious zoning code, but says it does support the concept of amendments added last week by Quorum Court committees at the urging of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods.
The zoning code is less protective of the lake than CPMW would like, but the group said it could be a good “starting point” for lake protection with several additional improvements. It was amended last week in committee to be more palatable to existing watershed property owners, but also to reduce the density of potential residential development in huge area covering parts of two counties. The majority of the land is owned by Deltic Timber, a major developer, which bought it for a pittance as scrub timber and pays tiny taxes on it while holding it as an agricultural use. CPMS would further increase open space, reduce density and increase stream buffers.
Most of what you need to know about this is the roster of players. On one side is the voluminous work of CPMW and other neighborhood interests, with no vested interest but clean water. On the other side are Deltic, famous for getting local taxpayers to subsidize their developments and change law to suit their needs, and Americans for Prosperity, the anti-tax, anti-environmental-regulation lobby group financed by billionaire Koch family that is using Little Rock as a poster child and demonstration lab for its damaging no-creed-but-greed political agenda. AFP is identified as the sponsor in recent wildly dishonest telephone calls (zoning will require people to remodel their homes) to stir up opposition to the plan. Some of these calls were made from a House Republican telephone number, still another indicator of how much you can trust AFP when it claims to be non-partisan and not working in coordination with Republicans.
The full statement from CPMW follows: