1404 Scott, the Garland-Mitchell house

  • 1404 Scott, the Garland-Mitchell house

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled last October that the Capitol Zoning District Commission correctly enforced a rule that prohibits front yard fences from being higher than 40 inches. In so doing, the court reversed a Pulaski Circuit Court ruling in favor of a home owner at 1404 Scott St. who built a 48-inch fence and then filed a judicial appeal against the Commission when it voted that the fence violated the district’s 40-inch limit. In February, the state Supreme Court declined to review the case.

Now comes HB2078, by Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena, to require the zoning district to raise its fence limit to — guess what — 48 inches.

Judge Wendell Griffin in 2011 found the zoning district had acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it denied Patrick Cowan the right to build his fence at 48 inches. The Court of Appeals disagreed, saying the district had acted rationally and in accordance with its rules.

Cowan is running unopposed for president of the Little Rock Downtown Neighborhood Association, and so will have a seat on the Capital Zoning District Commission. (CZDC folks corrected me this a.m. on this.) He responded to a LRDNA message board post and rumors that he wanted to eliminate the Commission:

Firstly, I do not want to eliminate CZDC. I think CZDC has an important role to play in our community, but think that reform of CZDC ordinances and guidelines is needed. However, under the new bylaws, presuming they pass on Thursday, my vote as a member will be but one of many. My role as President, as set forth in those new bylaws, would be to carry out the will of the membership regardless of what my personal views may be on the topic. In fact, as an attorney I have been placed in just such a situation many times before. In these situations my duty is to my client, just as my duty as President would be to carry out the will of the membership.

But back to the main question: Why is a Mena legislator interfering in Quapaw Quarter business?

Sharon Welch Blair has announced she will run against Cowan for LRDNA president, I am informed.