Manila Council approves variance for RV park
A variance for a recreational vehicle (RV) park was again addressed at the regular Manila City Council meeting held Monday night, Dec. 15.
Jackie Hill had requested at the October meeting a variance for property he owns on West Lake Street. His plans are to have available rental spots for four RVs.
The subject was again discussed at the November meeting with Gene Dobbins present expressing his objections.
Mayor Wayne Wagner said City Attorney Wes Wagner had talked to a representative of the Health Department. Mayor Wagner pointed out Mr. Hill is not asking for a mobile home park. Mr. Hill has met the requirements for RV hook-ups if the council agrees to the variance.
Gene Dobbins was present for the December meeting and again expressed his concerns and objections to Hill's request for a variance.
"I want you to vote like it is going in next to your house," Dobbins said.
Dobbins said he has lots where he parks one RV, not two, because of the rules. He said he did not ask for a variance because he did not want to open a can of worms. He said since the can of worms has been opened, he will ask to be on the agenda for the next meeting requesting variances for other property he owns.
Mayor Wagner said there is a moratorium on mobile homes and apartments in Manila.
"The council will look at each request at each location and make a decision on each one individually," Mayor Wagner said.
"I don't want these popping up all over town but I don't have a problem with Mr. Hill's request because it is located next to the present one owned by Mr. Dobbins," Councilman Jason Baltimore said.
Hill said he has two separate lots on the property and he is only requesting the variance on the lot on the west. He was not asking for a variance on 911, just on 913 A and B. He said they are separate lots.
"It is hard for me to not allow him (Jackie Hill) to have a RV park on his property when there is an existing one right beside it," Councilman Tony Hawkins said. "As long as he abides by the rules of the state, I don't have a problem with it."
Hawkins then made the motion to allow Hill a variance. The council voted unanimously in favor of Hill to have an RV park for up to four RVs (not mobile homes) on 913 A and B.
Greg Smith with the Manila Pilots' Association was at the meeting to answer any questions council members had about the airport.
Councilman Dale Murphy asked about the availability of fuel at the airport.
Smith said the airport does have fuel and the prices are going down. Manila Airport is staying competitive to other airports in the area.
"We want to help aviators," Smith said. "The little things make big things. As the Mayor points out things get done by teamwork. We appreciate the city's support."
Mayor Wagner thanked Councilman Whiz Davis for his service to council and the airport. It was the last meeting for Councilman Davis and Councilman Hawkins.
"We will miss your expertise on matters of the airport," Mayor Wagner said. "We will also miss Tony and I want to thank him for his service to Manila. I am sure Whiz and Tony will be willing to help the community any way they can. We are looking forward to working with our new council members."
Newly elected council members Wendell Poteet and Steven Milligan will be sworn in Jan. 1.
In other business:
*Mayor Wagner announced a backhoe has been ordered at a cost of $82,000 and should be delivered by February. The rental backhoe is on hand.
*The council voted unanimously to approve Teresa Thomas Eastin to the board of the Manila Housing Authority.
*The council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance on the third reading to approve the replacement of the roof on the Airport Center. Mayor Wagner explained it is an emergency as the leaks are doing damage to the electric/heating system. He said it needs to be repaired immediately so it does not cause any more damage.
*The council agreed to hire Mike Bearden to file an answer to the lawsuit filed by Chris Gamble naming Rebecca Hartgraves. Mayor Wagner explained that Hartgraves, city treasurer, has been named in her official capacity in the suit against City Attorney Wes Wagner. Mayor Wagner said Wes cannot file the answer due to a conflict of interest.
*Mayor Wagner informed the council employee health insurance is going up the first of the year.
*Council voted to allow police officers again to buy back up to 10 vacation days. Mayor Wagner said the auditors have suggested checks and balances on all vacation days. He said they will prepare forms and employees will complete and sign forms when they take days off throughout the year.
*Mayor Wagner complimented those who worked on the Christmas parade and the program at the community center that followed.
*Mayor Wagner said the city has received $700 from Entergy for moving poles. Also, he said the Highway Department is offering to pay the city for an easement on Olympia and Highway 18 in the amount of $2,975. The council voted to accept the payment for the easement.
*Councilwoman Linda Donovan updated the council on the dog pound. Donovan said Tammy Walker (in charge of the dog pound) tries to find homes for the dogs. She reported the Arkansas Angels 4 Animals gave nine dog beds, one small plastic animal carrier, and two large heavy metal crates, plus extra covers for the dog beds. Also, she said Terry with the Blytheville Animal Control donated two small plastic carriers and a hand full of leash collars for the Manila Pound.
The next regular council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19.