Old Sale Barn Issue Revisited

This time, council approves rezoning

Plus tidbits from around Fayetteville

By Richard Davis
TFW Contributing Writer

Participants in the University of Arkansas Spring International's Iraqi leadership exchange program visited the Fayetteville City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 19.

2011 is starting to look like the year for the ghost of issues past for the Fayetteville City Council.

In May and June, it was the smoking ordinance that got another look. That failed proposal would have have extended the ban on lighting up indoors to bars in the city limits.

This week, at the Tuesday, July 19 meeting, the council got another visit from a proposal to rezone the land around the closed Washington County Livestock Auction, which nearly everybody — even the city council agenda that named the proposal — refers to as the old Sale Barn.

Faced with ever-decreasing business, owner Billy Joe Bartholomew and his family in June 2009 closed the Sale Barn, which had been built in the 1930s by grandfather Bill Bartholomew. The family planned to sell the land to developer Campus Crest for college student-oriented apartments.

However, that plan required rezoning the land. Neighbors of the property objected with compatibility complaints and issues of increased traffic. Veterans protested the idea of potential four-story student apartments beside the Fayetteville National Cemetery, which is near the old Sale Barn, and hoped to buy the land for future expansion of the grave site. But the money for that never materialized — despite some grandstanding by then-U.S. Rep. John Boozman and U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor — and the Bartholomews couldn’t afford to give the property away.

After months and months of debate, though, the 2009 rezoning request failed in a bizarre 3-4 vote with then-Alderman Robert Rhoads leaving the meeting early and missing the vote entirely.

This time, however, the city council addressed the rezoning in a single evening. On Tuesday, neighbors again objected to the rezone, citing increased traffic, compatibility and the proximity of the land to the National Cemetery. Justin Eichmann, an attorney speaking on behalf of Billy Joe Bartholomew, practically begged the council to approve the rezone that evening, citing the family’s dire need to sell the property.

In the end, the council zipped through all three readings of the proposal and voted unanimously to change the zoning , which likely clears the way for Campus Crest to purchase the land. Alderman Bobby Ferrell, who is a veteran, said he plans to be buried in the National Cemetery and believes there will be room there for years to come.

Recycling Survey

The city of Fayetteville is looking to collect information on current recycling habits and get opinions from residents on recycling changes for the future.

There are three different surveys to choose from based on where you live and what sort of recycling services you already have access to — residents with access to curbside recycling, residents in apartments without access to curbside recycling and restaurants, businesses and apartment owners and managers. All three surveys can be found on the city website at www.accessfayetteville.com.

Fayetteville Underground

Fayetteville Underground sent out a notice last week that the artistic venue will be looking for a new place after more than two years at the East Square Plaza building in downtown Fayetteville.

From the Underground’s news release:

“Fayetteville Underground, voted Fayetteville’s premier venue for the visual arts, will soon be undertaking the next phase of its development. Having occupied the basement level of the downtown square’s East Square Plaza building for more than two years, the Fayetteville Underground will soon be seeking a new home. In light of ongoing development plans and efforts to repurpose parts of the East Square Plaza building, the Fayetteville Underground’s lease will not be renewed at the end of its current term, which expires January 15, 2012.”

The notice also extended the Underground’s thanks to the East Square Plaza buildings owners, Ted and Leslie Belden, for their support during the last three years.

The Underground’s board of directors and artists wish to extend their thanks to building owners Ted and Leslie Belden for their invaluable support over the past three years. The venue also expressed welcome for any community support as it searches for a new location.

To become a Friend of the Underground, go to www.FayettevilleUnderground.org.


Online registration is now available to compete in the Northwest Arkansas Cheese Dip championship at www.cheesedip.net. The Northwest Arkansas Cheese Dip Classic will take place Sept. 10 at the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Fayetteville. Winners in the professional categories will then get free entry into the World Cheese Dip Championship from 1 to 10 p.m. Sept. 24 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Two questions: why didn’t somebody think of this years ago and is there any way bacon can somehow join the party?

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