Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TOP STORY >>Parties still far apart on golf course

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

The owners of the North Hills Country Club and Sherwood are at a loggerhead over the property’s purchase price, according to City Attorney Steve Cobb.

Cobb updated the city council Monday night on the status of the country club purchase and the lawsuit the city has against North Little Rock about its recent high increase in electric rates. North Little Rock service about half of Sherwood.

Cobb said the attorneys for both sides in the country club purchase are still talking, but there is a big disparity between the price the owners want and what the city is willing to pay.

The owners had a $5.1 million offer for the 106 acres from developer Ron Campbell.

A building moratorium issued by the city helped that deal fall through, but the moratorium ends this week, and Campbell is still pursuing financing.

The owners also supposedly have even a higher offer for the property if Campbell does not pursue his $5.1 million offer.

Based on feasibility studies and appraisals paid for by the city, Sherwood believes the property is worth between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

Cobb said the good news is that some individuals have approached the city about buying the property and maintaining a large portion of it as green space, which the city could then buy.

“We’ve told these parties that we are not opposed to them pursuing attempts to purchase the property,” Cobb said.

He could give no date or idea when there might be an acceptable agreement worked out.

Cobb was more optimistic in the NLR electric case.

“We have asked the judge (Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox) for a summary judgment. North Little Rock has until Nov. 5 to respond and then the judge could rule in our favor,” Cobb said.

If the judge does not make a summary ruling, the case is set to go to trial in February. “We’re ready,” Cobb said.

First Electric has joined in the lawsuit on the side of Sherwood. The city is asking the judge for the right to allow other electric companies to provide services to the city that are currently provided by North Little Rock Electric.
In other business:

The council approved rezoning 6535 Warden Road from C-3 to C-4 and denied an appeal for the rezoning of Collins Subdivision, Lot 27.

Aldermen approved an ordinance creating a stormwater pollution prevention code which is required by federal law. Failure to develop an ordinance could have caused the city to be fined.

The council approved an ordinance regulating electronic signs and created a five-member board of adjustments for sign waivers.

Aldermen approved an ordinance prohibiting the sale of novelty lighters in the city. This comes on the heels of a fatal North Little Rock fire where children were playing with a novelty lighter.

The council approved an ordinance appropriating funds to upgrade the Sherwood 911 emergency system. The upgrade will cost about $25,000.

The council reappointed Nita Pilkington and John Hester to the advertising and promotion commission and Forrest Penny to the public facilities board.

The mayor also reminded the council and guests that the city’s Halloween carnival is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Sherwood Forest. It will go until 8:30 p.m.