Monday, August 10, 2009

The Way of All Flash

It was in 2007 that flashy would-be developer Tracy Hoskins got everyone's attention with his scheme to bulldoze the trees and put in a warehouse near the Finger Park neighborhood. A couple of lawsuits and unanimous denial by the Zoning Board put a stop to that one, but Tracy was undaunted.

That same year, Tracy set out to convince the City of Johnson that prime development land near Joyce Boulevard was a blighted area qualified for a Tax Increment Finance District, a private development funded with property tax dollars that would otherwise go for Fayetteville schools and local government. The UA's Kathy Deck told the Johnson Mayor Lonnie Barron and the City Council that the Hoskins project could mean $500,000 in sales taxes for the city, so they fell into line and voted themselves a TIF District for Hoskins and his project called The Steps at Joyce. Mayor Barron was gleeful about all the sales tax revenue he would have to spend.

Now, in 2009, nothing has happened. Mayor Lonnie Barron laments, "We were hoping he'd develop it or sell it to someone who would develop it. That would mean a lot to us. Can you imagine? All that land, right next to Steele Crossing." But it's not going to happen anytime soon, although Hoskins says he is still moving forward on the project, just like John Nock says Fayetteville will someday have a fancy hotel.

Hoskins is now facing his third lawsuit over the property. Ronald Standley, one of the property owners who backed the TIF project and sold the land to Hoskins, is now suing because he says Hoskins has defaulted on payments. "I just don't want to get ruined by this," Standley said. "I don't like to sue people, but I didn't know what else to do. I don't want a penny more than he owes me, but I don't want a penny less."

Hoskins says he doesn't want to talk about it without talking to a lawyer. And the City of Johnson's ill-advised TIF bonds? Mayor Barron says, "We haven't and don't plan on selling any as far as anything I've heard." Well, Lonnie, who would you be expecting to tell you that you were planning on selling TIF bonds? Tracy Hoskins? John Nock? Kit Williams?

Bob Caudle had the story on this, and I look forward to his keen analysis in his column.


  1. They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
    No one you see, is smarter than he,
    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
    Flying there under, under the sea!

    Everyone loves the king of the sea,
    Ever so kind and gentle is he,
    Tricks he will do when children appear,
    And how they laugh when he’s near!

    They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
    No-one you see, is smarter than he,
    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
    Flying there-under, under the sea!

  2. Another TIF down, but at least this one fizzled before a city was taken to the cleaners by developers with never-ending excuses.

  3. .

    Johnson and Fayetteville are the only two cities that attempted to take advantage of forming tax increment financing districts, commonly called TIF districts, to improve blighted areas.

    Caudle's words are a disgrace. "take advantage" should mean take advantage of school children whose schools are deprived of normal operating funds under tif allowances.
    Shame, shame Bob.

    Perhaps the largest shame goes to our Egyptian loving Attorney General Dustin McDaniels who passed the dam TIF in the state legislature in the first place. He wrote the bill for this pos to benefit ONE of his land developing buddies.

    Hopefully someone will replace this turd.


  4. Yes, and the same article reminds us of the original one & only viewshed-dominating TIF on College Av: the parking lot. "The developers hope to someday build a hotel on the site."

    With sincerest apologies to Arlen & Harburg, I submit OVER THE ASPHALT

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, way up high
    There's a Marriot hotel
    Just up and gone bye-bye.

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, taxes are due.
    And the dreams that you dare to dream
    do not always come true.
    Someday I'll wish upon a dollar and
    find the Bubbles far behind me.

    Where troubles melt like councilmen
    Away above the basis paid:
    that's where you'll find me.

    Somewhere, over the asphalt, prices rise.
    Debts rise over the asphalt
    Why then--oh, why can't I?

    If City subsidies fly beyond the rainbow,
    Why, oh, why can't I?

    I remain,
    Screwtape in Fatalville
    ps. Holkins lives to flip another day.

  5. Yes, Caudle is wrong six ways to Sunday.
    ROGERS tried to put the blighted I-540 area into a TIF among other AR municipalities.

  6. I can't wait any longer for the original commentator on used-car salesmen (cum con men) to address this subject, so I'll try to say it right:
    If Jon Nock opened a used-car lot in south Fayetteville, I'd buy one from him in a NY minute. He wouldn't try to cheat me.
    But that doesn't mean I would support one of his development schemes (or vote for him).
    Apologies to the originator!

  7. Stop making fun of our congressman!

  8. I'd never buy a used car from John Nock, but I know a city attorney and several city councilors that would.

  9. Anon 2:50...I think I'm in love.