HIGHFILL -- The city council in Highfill, at its regular meeting on Feb. 9, with rules suspended and with three readings in a single vote, adopted ordinances regulating parking on city streets, a curfew for minors, and excessive noise.
In addition to other parking prohibitions such as parking within 10 feet of a mailbox or parking where a prohibition is posted, parking will now be prohibited on any street or alley within the city for any continuous period of more than 12 hours. The measure was taken to limit continuous parking along streets and alleys which impedes traffic, limits access by emergency vehicles, and poses a danger to motorists and pedestrians. Of special concern was the risk to playing children in subdivisions who may step out from behind a parked vehicle and into the street.
Councilman Justin Allen opposed the measure, suggesting there was no need to pass an ordinance if parking was not yet an issue. Jayme Thompson, Jeremy Rogers and Audrey Thompson (who was appointed and sworn in to represent Ward 2, Position 3, earlier in the meeting) supported the measure. Chris Holland and Toby Lester were absent, so Mayor Michelle Rieff cast the deciding vote to pass the ordinance.
Another ordinance adopted by the council amended the city code to make it unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to be in any establishment or public place between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday unless accompanied by a parent or a guardian. The ordinance also makes it unlawful for parents, or the owners or operators of a public establishment to allow a minor to violate the curfew ordinance.
Allen again voted no after asking and being told by law enforcement that youth out late at night had not been a frequent issue in Highfill. The mayor again added the needed vote to pass the measure on three readings with a single vote.
A noise ordinance (passed unanimously) amends the city code and includes restrictions on engine brakes and removing mufflers on vehicles. Also included are excessively loud or long noises produced by radios, TVs, boom boxes, musical instruments, vehicle horns and other similar devices, as well as limiting loud noises related to construction and power tools between the hours of 10 p.m. and dawn. Horns and signaling devices that are used as a warning of danger are exempted.
Another ordinance adopted vacated a portion of Linwood Street, making the dead-end street 40 feet wide for its entire length and not 40 feet wide near the highway and 80 feet wide farther south. A final plat of the Woodward Hills subdivision, Phase 5, also was accepted by ordinance.
The council passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for an Arkansas Rural Community Grant for the Highfill Community Building in the amount of $15,000, with the city matching that amount in labor and product donations, to continue work on the Community Building. Mayor Rieff pointed out that, should the city be awarded the grant, the council still had the option to decline to accept it.
Another resolution amended the 2020 budget for Highfill to accurately reflect incoming revenues and expenditures in the city during the past year.
The council appointed John Goins to the city's planning commission. Councilman Allen asked if there would be any conflict of interest with Goins appointed to the planning commission. JC Brenaman, the city's public works supervisor and building inspector, said Goins brings a wealth of knowledge and experience related to construction and subdivisions.
In the mayor's report, Rieff told council members that there are three proposed routes for the connector route to the Northwest Arkansas National Airport and they all come through Highfill. She said the proposed new road would connect the airport to Highway 612 (the Springdale Bypass) and extend north to the Bella Vista Bypass, though the exact routes were not yet publicly available.
She also announced that Cave Springs intended to annex additional lands to the west of the city but that it would not seek to annex any lands west of the Osage Creek.
Jayme Thompson spoke of early plans for Cox to extend internet access into Highfill. She anticipated having more to report on this in future meetings.