At its regular board meeting Tuesday (March 2), the Fort Smith Board of Directors approved an ordinance declaring an emergency situation and allowing water and sewer bill adjustments due to the historic winter weather event the week of Feb. 14.
During the week of Feb. 14, Fort Smith experienced temperatures that fell below 32°F for several days and never exceeded freezing.
“During this time, customers experienced rolling blackouts and some experienced interruptions in natural gas supply. As a result, some customers’ water pipes froze and burst or experienced post freeze leaks,” said Lance McAvoy, utilities director.
In order to help customers experiencing this, McAvoy asked the board to declare an emergency situation and allow leak adjustments to water and sewer portions of the bill. Customers will be required to provide a plumber’s invoice or receipt to show the repair was made and the customer’s bill will be adjusted to the customer’s average past six months water and sewer usage volume.
In other business, the board tabled two resolutions that would lead to replatting portions of Fianna Hills until May 4 to coincide with the time the board had tabled a similar resolution. On Feb. 2, the board tabled for 90 days a decision on whether to allow alternative use for a portion of former Fianna Hills Golf Club property to allow for negotiations to keep the golf course after residents of the area appealed a decision of the planning commission to replat a portion of the neighborhood.
An appeal was also filed of the planning commission’s approval to plat portions of the Fianna Hills golf course into eight new lots and the planning commission approval to replat portions of the golf course to increase the size of existing lots north of Queensbury Way and south of Crosshill Road.
The subject property of the Feb. 2 issue is located within the Fianna Hills subdivision located north of Roxbury Lane. The 1.6-acre replat area includes three lots and a portion of the golf course and would make the three lots larger. Mickle Wagner Coleman, on behalf of Fianna Properties, filed the application to replat the property. The plat complies with the applicable standards of the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO) subdivision standards and the area and bulk requirements for the zoning district in which it is located, noted Maggie Rice, director of development services, in a memo to City Administrator Carl Geffken.
John Alford of Alford Law Firm, attorney for the Fianna Hills Property Owners Association, filed an appeal of the planning commission’s approval of the replat. Sebastian County Quorum Court member Danny Aldridge, who lives in Fianna Hills, requested the 90 days Feb. 2 in order to bring parties together to negotiate ways to keep the golf course and other amenities of the country club even though Mark Moll, attorney for David Millé, owner of Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course, said golf courses are not profitable now and that around 800 have closed across the country in the past two years. Millé closed the Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course Dec. 31, 2018.
On-again and off-again efforts to buy the country club and golf course by a group of local investors fell through in September. Millé said in a letter to property owners Sept. 21 that he did not believe the investment group could make it work. He began working to sell parts of the golf course to homeowners immediately adjacent to the course.