The Pine Bluff City Council on Monday voted to suspend the rules and read two proposed ordinances dealing with annexation three times before adopting them by unanimous vote. The ordinances dealt with land near the site of the Saracen Casino and Resort which is currently under construction.
The first of the two, which totals about 13/46 acres covers property from the Social Security Office to the truck stop while the second, which covers a total of approximately 98 acres includes the truck stop property which is owned by the Quapaw Tribe and is the site of a casino annex which is expected to open at the end of September.
Also Monday, a proposed ordinance amending the current ordinance dealing with the Historical District Commission was read for a second time despite an effort by some council members to table it. At a meeting of the ordinances and resolutions committee which preceded the regular council meeting, council members wanted to table the ordinance because it had gone through the Development and Planning Committee, which has oversight over the Inspection and Zoning Department, but Council Member Bruce Lockett, who sponsored the ordinance was not in attendance.
When the ordinance came up, Lockett was adamant that it be read for a second time.
“You can’t pull the legislation,”Lockett said, adding that it had been read one time and needed to be read a second.
Council Member Joni Alexander, who chairs the Development and Planning Committee said that the proposal dealt with city department her committee had oversight over, and there had been no input from them.
Lockett, who is chairman of the Economic and Community Development Committee said his committee had discussed the proposal and representative from Inspection and Zoning were in attendance.
He went on to say that the only thing the proposed ordinance did was to require that owners of property who want to restore, renovate or demolish their properties first say if their property is located in the historic district and if it is, they must first obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic District Commission.
“We’re going to read it twice but it’s still going to committee,” Council Member Glen Brown Jr., said.
In public comments before the meeting Dee Herring Gatlin, who is chairman of the Historic District Commission said the proposed ordinance doestn’t change anything. She said that several years ago, Robert Tucker was associated with Inspection and Zoning and was also associated with the Historic District Commission. When someone came in to get a permit, Tucker knew to ask them about the location of the property and the need to obtain that certificate or appropriateness. Since Tucker left, Gatlin said Inspection and Zoning officials might not know to ask.
She also described the Historic District Commission as a way for prospective property owners in the district to find out about things such as grants and opportunities..