Council tables permanent entertainment district bill

The Eureka Springs City Council said it needs more time to decide what action to take regarding a proposed ordinance that would establish a permanent entertainment district at Pine Mountain Village.

The proposal was introduced at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, June 10, but a unanimous vote tabled the topic until more information from the property owners — and potential public input — is received.

The ordinance would allow an entertainment district at Pine Mountain Village from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Temporary entertainment districts have been approved for the location in the past and two more were recently OK’d for Ozark Rally and Bikes Blues and BBQ this year.

However, council members were concerned that the documentation provided only showed a map of the property and no boundaries for the proposed district.

“Looking at the map, it looks like they’re including the entire 40 acres. I don’t understand,” council member Harry Meyer said of the area, which includes Eureka Springs Harley-Davidson. “… They’ve already been taken care of for almost the rest of the year with some temporary entertainment districts that we’ve already approved.”

A permanent entertainment district in areas downtown was voted down by residents in the November 2020 general election after it was originally approved by the council earlier that year.

“We’ve had several temporary entertainment districts up there for the last two or three years without any problems,” Mayor Butch Berry said to council members. “They have renovated most of the buildings, have a new restaurant and they’re getting more and more events up there. So, they would like to create a permanent entertainment district rather than coming down here two or three times a year for a temporary entertainment district.

“This is not the same as the original, permanent entertainment district that we were looking at in Eureka four or five years ago that encompassed the downtown area. This is strictly for Pine Mountain Village and only Pine Mountain Village.”

Some council members said a seven-day-aweek entertainment district seemed a bit too much.

“I love an entertainment district myself, but the hours,” council member Autumn Slane said. “I feel like if we were to put a permanent [district] maybe a Friday and Saturday and maybe limit the hours.”

“I get the two to three times a year that we issue for various locations and businesses, but creating a permanent entertainment district to me, seven days a week, and this time frame, just doesn’t seem like a very good idea,” council member David Avanzino said. “Are we setting ourselves up for other places to come and make their property a permanent entertainment district? I see a domino thing happening here.” Berry said there are requirements that have to be met for a location to even be considered for an entertainment district, noting that there have not been any complaints about districts held at Pine Mountain in the past.

“It has to be a larger area … so there’s not too many places around that would qualify,” Berry said. “I think Pine Mountain is pretty much an exception. I’m not speaking for or against, I’m just stating that, in my opinion.”

Slane and council member Steve Holifield said they felt the location was great for an entertainment district.

“It’s a perfect location,” Holifield said. “It’s not like [people] are going to wander downtown with their beer. You can’t walk that far, especially if they’re drinking. And, I want to point out that most entertainment districts are not fenced off. In New Orleans you can walk down any alleyway with a beer … and even when we do this downtown, the whole area is not fenced off. People are aware what the map is and where it ends and where it starts.”

Slane added: “I think it needs to kind of be mapped out, just like we have with the temporary districts, but I think it’s a great idea. It’s a perfect location because the area really is enclosed.”


Bryan Wright, owner of Kettle Campground, spoke during public comments and voiced his displeasure with what he said was the city changing course from what the city council decided in January regarding his water and sewer.

The campground, which uses a well, has never been hooked up to city water, resulting in never being charged for city sewer services. Instead of making the campground hook up to city water, the council voted in January to have a meter installed on the well to gauge usage for sewer billing.

That has since changed, Wright told council members.

“On January 8,we attended the council meeting,” Wright said. “The council voted to request that we allow public works to install a flow meter on our well to gauge usage to charge for our wastewater. Our attorney spoke with [public works director] Simon [Wiley] at the meeting and followed up with a letter the following day requesting that he contact us to set up the installations.

“We received no communication from anyone until May 15 when a public works employee came to mark the city water line that runs across the front of our campground. When he finished, he came and spoke to us and I inquired as to what he was doing, and he said he was told that we were being connected to city water. I replied that that was incorrect, that we had agreed on a meter on the well.”

Two weeks later, Wright said his lawyer received a phone call from city attorney Forrest Jacobi.

“Our attorney received a call from the city attorney stating that we had yelled and screamed at the city employee, which did not happen,” Wright said. “Our conversation was nothing but amicable. Why would we treat him like that when we had already agreed to what the council was asking? We were told that if we did not comply with the city’s new demands, we would be shut down.

“I spoke to Simon [on Monday] to try and get clarity on what was going on, and was told it is what it is and I will have to connect to city water. … I’m here to ask the council why the change, when we have been agreeable to the council’s original request the whole time.”

Council members questioned Wiley, saying they thought the issue was handled months ago.

“All I’m concerned about is that we agreed on something,” Avanzino said. “Are we still going that path or has there been a change?”

Wiley reported that the state plumbing inspector was due in Eureka Springs on Tuesday, June 11, and was planning to visit Kettle Campground regarding the issue.

“According to International Building Code, which we adopted in the state of Arkansas, if public water supply is available at your location you’re kind of required to connect to it,” Wiley told council members. “So, we’re going to see what he says and then just go from there.”

Ultimately, the state has the final word, Wiley said.

“If the state says to connect to water they’re going to have to connect to the water,” Wiley said. “If they don’t, they’re going to have to meter the well … I’m just waiting on what the state says for us to do.”

The council’s decision in January to meter the well may have been the wrong one, Meyer said.

“After seeing the code, it looks like we were wrong,” Meyer said. “We can’t give them the option.”

Council member Terry McClung said a third party not involved on either side should also be part of the process.

“We need to get an even-handed report apparently,” Mc-Clung said. “The city doesn’t agree with the campground and the campground doesn’t agree with the city is what has happened. … I thought this was a done deal a long time ago and here it comes back to the table and that really surprises me. I’d like to see some resolution, but it’s unfortunate that the city and property are not getting along. We need to get this remedied and move on.”


The council approved the third reading, by title only, of Ordinance 2351, which bans all forms of confetti during parades. The ordinance will now go into effect 30 days from approval date.

Also approved were initial steps to use part of the old fire station on Main Street downtown for additional space for the city advertising and promotion commission.

CAPC director Mike Maloney told council members that his staff has run out of space at The Auditorium and that renovating part of the old fire station would not only give the CAPC extra room but also will allow the historic vintage fire truck housed there to be on public display.

“We are currently housed at the office in The Auditorium and we’re out of room,” Maloney said. “Plain and simple.”

Maloney said estimates to renovate the building for an “information center” would be around $100,000 and would be completely funded by the CAPC.

“It’s the opportunity … to sort of rehabilitate the front of the structure, to make it a little more appealing than the two garage doors that we see right now,” Maloney told council members. “Also create perhaps a little bit of an information center housed within.”

With the council’s OK, Maloney said he would work with Berry and a contractor to figure out exactly what renovations are needed to move forward. The project would have to also get approval from the city’s historic district commission.

“We’re kind of on an exploration mission at this point,” Maloney said. “We have nothing basically on paper at this point other than an architectural sketch drawing. But, we need to go ahead and move forward with just the permission of the council to be able to pursue this endeavor.”

The location would allow the CAPC to have better interaction with the public, including key stakeholders, Maloney said.

“It’s a good fit for us to be in this area,” he said.


Also approved by the council was an ordinance to do away with another ordinance.

Citing lack of enforcement and just overall confusion, the council voted to “completely eliminate” a recently passed ordinance establishing parking requirements on portions of Spring Street.

City planning director Kyle Palmer and police chief Billy Floyd both spoke about the confusing aspects of the ordinance, including issues with permit issuing and other administrative problems.

Many amendments to the ordinance would be needed to make it properly enforceable, so the council ultimately decided to do away with it in its entirety.

“It is a mess,” Mc-Clung said. “And it’s a mess that we allowed to be created.”

In the end, the council members said the parking issues that led to the ordinance were the result of only a small handful of residents voicing complaints and that reverting back to the way parking has been handled for many years was the best way to go.

“It’s the way parking has always been,” McClung said. “People buy those homes and they know there’s not any parking. If they don’t have offstreet parking … they know that when they’re walking into it. That’s just the way it’s always been.”


The council also approved giving the state highway department the OK to apply a “white stripe” in the area of Spring Street and Main Street downtown to warn drivers of the dangerous intersection.

“There’s probably capacity for I’d say 10 to 20 accidents a day, if not more,” Avanzino said of the intersection. “When you’re coming up on Main, you have to pull way past the brick retaining wall to see what’s coming to your right. You can’t see the stop sign, the signs coming on Spring that say stop …” The council also decided to ask the city attorney to draft an ordinance that will re-open a portion of Norris Street where it meets Benton Street.

Additionally, the council approved resolutions for public hearings regarding vacating a section of Peerless Street between Block 45, Lot 1 and Block 38, Lot 4, along with vacating an alley between Lots 1-4 and Lots 5-7 in Block 70 of the Clayton Survey.