City Council discusses updated vision plan

Thursday, April 29, 2021
File photo

The Eureka Springs City Council addressed the planning commission’s new vision plan on Monday night.

The council heard from planning commission chairwoman Ann Tandy-Sallee, who said the commission spent the last year and a half reviewing and updating the vision plan. The vision plan includes possible actions the city can take to solve problems, Tandy-Sallee said, and covers why certain projects haven’t been completed.

“We don’t have the money,” Tandy-Sallee said. “Eureka is very unique. We’re not going to be moving streets.”

Tandy-Sallee said the commission is working on “really shoring up some of the codes.”

The telecommunication code is “extremely outdated,” Tandy-Sallee said, and planning commissioner Ferguson Stewart has offered to help with that. Tandy-Sallee said Stewart has a background in information technology.

“We’re going to look at the sign code very closely,” Tandy-Sallee said. “Of course, we haven’t completed the tree ordinance yet. We’ll look at that. Our major goal is to clean up some of the codes and bring them into 2021.”

Mayor Butch Berry said the Eureka Springs High School’s EAST program was working on taking an inventory of signs throughout the city before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“They weren’t able to complete the inventory,” Berry said. “As soon as next year in September, they’re willing to start back on doing an inventory.”

“That would be awesome,” Tandy-Sallee said.

Tandy-Sallee said the planning commission will have a workshop sometime in June with planning consultant Jim von Tungeln, saying the public is welcome to attend.

“Everybody will have notice and we hope you will attend,” Tandy-Sallee said.

Council member Bill Ott said the vision plan seemed like “a wish list rather than a plan” and asked if the commission will prioritize any items on the list. Tandy-Sallee said the commission doesn’t have plans to do anything until the workshop.

“The majority of the things that haven’t been done are due to the fact that we don’t have the money,” Tandy-Sallee said. “There’s a lot of talk that we need to do a new master plan. We don’t have the money to do a master plan.”

Tandy-Sallee said many of the items on the vision plan don’t fall under the planning commission’s purview.

“If you know something has to be done by the historic district commission … then what is the plan to get with the historic district commission to help them find funding and find action plans and that kind of thing?” Ott asked.

Berry said the planning commission has “got their plate full” working on ordinances.

“Some of this is also the city’s responsibility to look at,” Berry said. “The planning commission has developed a vision plan. They’re not really there to implement it.”

At the end of the meeting, Ott addressed the City Advertising and Promotion Commission’s April 14 vote to decline funding for the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce’s annual visitor guide.

“Where is our local cooperative spirit that results in synergistic success?” Ott said. “In my opinion, it is not refusing our chamber of commerce’s request for a small stipend to pay for postage to send out their visitor’s guide.”

Council member Terry McClung agreed.

“It used to be $40,000 that the CAPC would … guarantee for the postage payments to the chamber,” McClung said. “It has drastically been reduced over the years because a lot of people do see it online, but it’s still our primary mail-out piece.”

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, May 10, at The Auditorium.

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