|Updated: 3/07/2012 2:14 am
||Published: 3/06/2012 11:23 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Little Rock Board of Directors delayed voting on a zoning ordinance that would impact the downtown Veterans Clinic. Veterans Affairs wants to move it to 10th and Main, but the proposed zoning changes would make it a lot harder for that to happen.
Erma Hendrix, Ward 1’s director, supports the VA clinic. It is in her ward, and she wanted to know if the zoning proposal, which would also limit stores that sell alcohol, was really proposed to stop the clinic from moving.
Here question elicited this response from Director Dorris Wright:
“I resent the fact that you’re sitting here calling me a liar. I am not trying to do anything to prevent the VA, I’m trying to protect my neighborhoods, and you know better, and I won’t accept this from you Director Hendrix.”
Mayor Mark Stodola ended up asking for order between the directors to quell the verbal sparring between Hendrix and Wright.
The city’s directors decided to wait until April to vote on changing zoning codes. By delaying the vote, the City Attorney can have more time to look at the legality of the ordinance. With the ordinance deferred, dozens of people who came to the meeting to talk about it left at once.
The Veterans Clinic has already signed a lease to move to 10th and Main. The new ordinance, if passed, would make it much tougher, if not impossible, to complete the move.
“This city does not need to go backward. They’ve been backward in the past,” said Ted Newman, a veteran. Newman and other VA supporters held a rally Tuesday afternoon and the old Cook Jeep Building.
“It will increase the value of property. I don’t know what agenda you have. These are veterans, they’re not transients walking around panhandling people,” said Newman.
Even Occupy Little Rock protestors showed their support for the clinic in a protest on the steps of City Hall prior to the meeting. Now, with the vote delayed, those who packed the meeting will now have to wait until April to voice their opinion.