Alma city council members discussed rezoning, remapping and repainting at their meeting Thursday night.
A measure to rezone property on the corner of West Cherry and Grant streets in Alma from commercial to residential failed to pass because of the lack of a second reading.
Council members chose to let the ordinance die rather than put it to a vote, seemingly because the majority were not in favor of rezoning.
"My problem is that it was commercial when [the owner] bought it and he knew it was commercial, and he up and changed his mind," said Alderman Doug Wilson. "I know our zoning is not the best, but that is what it is."
In previous council meetings, owner Steve Nguyen told council members that he purchased the property about 10 years ago with the intention to develop it commercially, but later found it to be unsuitable for that use.
While both Alderman Eddie Wakefield and Mayor John Ballentine said they could see both sides of the situation, Wakefield was in favor of keeping the property commercial while the mayor suggested rezoning.
"Either let it sit commercial another 10 or 15 more years and nothing happens, or let him build something on it," Ballentine said.
Ballentine’s main concern, he said, was that the property would never be developed if left as commercial.
Alderman John Tribulak argued that there were commercial businesses that could be located on the property that would be beneficial to the city.
The ordinance had been tabled at each meeting for several months while council members deliberated, but after discussion at Thursday night’s meeting, no motion was made for the second reading of the ordinance.
Also at the meeting, council members agreed to a study session to discuss remapping of the planning zone along the city’s border.
Planning boundaries must be reset to be in compliance with a new law passed by the Arkansas General Assembly. The law restricts city’s planning jurisdiction from the previous five miles down to a maximum of three miles, depending on population.
For Crawford County, that means after one mile outside city limits, the county has jurisdiction. Cities within the county must present the newly mapped boundaries to county government by July or August.
The "spinach can" water tower featuring Popeye and naming Alma "Spinach Capital of the World," located near the fishing pier entrance on Mountain Grove Road, will be returned to a regular green tower within the next several months.
Mark Yardley, public works director for Alma, told council members Thursday night that the job to paint over Popeye and the no longer accurate city motto has been contracted out to Leher Painting Enterprises.
The company will bring in their equipment next week, and begin sanding and repainting the old tower in two weeks. The job is expected to take from 60 to 90 days, Yardley said.