Friday, July 25, 2008

No Stinking Tree Huggers Need Apply

Mark Curtis of Rogers has a background in planning, experience in public and private finance, and a habit of attending almost every county planning board meeting, but he is also a member of the Association for Beaver Lake Environment, a local nonprofit group that seeks to maintain the water quality of Beaver Lake. That is why the Benton County Quorum Court voted 6-5 against confirming his appointment to the Benton County Planning Board.

Don Day, President of Northwest Arkansas Property Rights Association, complained that Curtis, who had opposed New York developers' scheme for the controversial Grandview Heights condominium project on the lake, also had strongly supported a watershed management ordinance two years ago to create a buffer around Beaver Lake and protect the region's water supply. Taking a public position on those issues made him "a polarizing figure,” said Bob Cossey of Rogers.

Curtis said he believes that "Benton County will require some regulation to allow for orderly growth and protection of its natural resources," but he supports development that fits into the environment. "There are plenty of places [around the lake] that can be developed that won't hurt the environment," he said.

Not good enough, said the adamant majority of Benton County's ideological Republican JPs. "As a Justice of the Peace, I'm obligated to vote for someone more conservative," said Justice of the Peace Bobby Hubbard. He was joined in killing the appointment by Justices of the Peace Craig Brown, Chris Glass, David Hill, Frank Winscott, and Debbie Hobbs, who will represent Rogers in the Arkansas House of Representatives next year.

We all live downstream.

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