LR Board delays vote; VA willing to work with neighbors

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Little Rock Board of Directors decided to delay a controversial vote on zoning laws until March.

More than 100 people packed City Hall Tuesday night to voice their opinion on the zoning ordinance. The law was originally intended to help fight crime by making public input mandatory for certain new building uses, such as liquor stores, which some with the city say correlate to criminal hotspots.

Brought into this fight is the relocation of the Veterans’ Affairs Clinic to the old Cook Jeep building on Main Street. The revision would force public forums over the relocation of the VA Clinic. Right now, the clinic operates out of three different buildings. The VA spokesperson tells FOX16 the move would allow for better services to veterans in a bigger space.

Opinions were evenly divided in the room. Some equated a vote against the clinic as a vote against veterans. “Every time you vote against veterans, you vote against your sons’ and daughters’ best interests.”

The other side argued that the clinic would effectively put a stop to further development on Main Street. “”No residential and small business area anywhere is an appropriate location for a facility providing showers and two hot meals daily.”

The VA signed a 5 year contract with the owners of the building on 1000 Main Street. The VA says that the Cook Jeep building build provide more room to service veterans, including offering primary medical care. The clinic is open 7:30am until 2:30pm and does not allow overnight stays for the 50 veterans served every day. It also required veterans be enrolled in a treatment program to get help from the clinic.

A spokesperson for the VA says they are waiting for guidance from Washington how to proceed, but are willing to work with residents and businesses in the area.

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