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Cooper Land Evaluation Ad Hoc Meeting 4-14-22

The Hot Springs Village POA Cooper Land Evaluation Ad hoc Committee had its first public meeting on Thursday, April 14 at the Ouachita Room at the Ponce de Leon Center.

They talked about their duties and responsibilities, discussed GIS with Kevin Sexton, explained the criteria used in the evaluation, and tentatively narrowed down the reserved properties they felt are necessary to acquire and why.

Chair Jeff Lofgren said the ad hoc committee was appointed on March 16 and has representatives from all the committees except for Golf.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Ad Hoc Committee

  • Determine the facts concerning the Cooper land that is for sale in HSV.
  • Are there parcels the POA should consider obtaining in some way?
  • Review the Cooper land holdings in HSV, research, and possibly visit the on-site parcels that are of interest.
  • Provide a detailed list of the findings that are of interest including the map number, the legal description, and the physical address, the common location, number of acres, price (if available).
  • Recommend to the Board what land parcels should be pursued and the reasoning behind the recommendation.
  • Recommend options on how we might acquire the properties.
  • Work with the GM and staff as necessary.
  • Meetings will be every other Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The next meeting is scheduled for April 28.

Kevin Sexton Gave GIS Presentation

Kevin Sexton, Director of Tourism and Community Affairs gave a presentation on the POA GIS system that the ad hoc committee will be able to access. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information. It uses data that is attached to a unique location. EFS Edge is the name of the company that did the mapping for the Village. The information available on the GIS system includes, but is not limited to the location of:

  • Fire hydrants
  • Water meters
  • Pump stations
  • Water lines
  • Pressurized lines
  • Lift stations

Additionally, the GIS system provides the following information:

  • Elevation
  • Flood zone information
  • Elevation contours
  • Lots are labeled A, B, C, or D. A and B are the flatter lots.

Draft Criteria for Evaluating Cooper Parcels

  • Determine whether the property is for commercial use or residential use. Property located along the main thoroughfares would most likely be used for commercial purposes.
  • Will there be an impact on residents? Could it be mitigated or not?
  • POA equity (Are there structures or amenities located on the property?)
    • Is there a water tower located on the property?
    • Trail – Can we move the trail? Keep the trail where it is? Is there a way to divide the parcel?
    • Is there a sewer pump station on the property?
  • Is the property in a flood plain/Fema flood plain?
  • Is the property a need or a want?
  • Other factors
    • How do we account for a power line going through the property?
  • What is the cost?
  • Do we have a specific timeline that we need to be thinking about?
  • The number of acres of the parcel versus the amount of acreage of the property that we need. Is Cooper willing to subdivide the parcels if we don’t need the whole property?

Field Trip – Listing Equity Lots

The ad hoc committee visited all of the Cooper properties on Wednesday, April 6, and Thursday, April 7. Below are comments about some of the properties that the ad hoc committee feels the POA has equity in.

  • There are five Cooper-owned properties that have POA water tanks on them. It has been said that Cooper may give us these properties, but the committee did not know if this was a rumor or fact.
  • Cooper owns the West Gate entrance. Edited to add 4-20-22:  It has been determined we do have the road right of way at the West Gate.
  • Cooper owns the Danville Gate entrance.
  • Cooper owns the parcel of land up to the edge of the dam on Lake Lago.
  • Cooper owns the golf cart parking lot at Coronado Golf Course. McLeod said he thinks this is a need now. There is no other option there to park the golf cart trailers.
  • The DeSoto Golf Cart Path is on Cooper property. Can the path be moved off of Cooper’s property?
  • Trails impact – seven trails are partially located on Cooper property, or in the case of Cedar Creek Trail, the trail is completely located on Cooper property. Vice-Chair, Janet Rowe, said it is not possible to reroute any of these trails.
  • There was discussion about whether the POA owns property that could be traded with Cooper. Audience member, Dennis Simpson said, “In 2008, the Board made an agreement with Cooper. Cooper presented that they had offsetting fees [meaning that they both owed money to each other]. The POA owed Cooper and Cooper owed them. We owed monies back and forth to each other [that] we did not pay. Cooper did not know if they were going to be in existence tomorrow morning because it was the 2008 crash. Cooper turned to the POA and said, ‘we will give you these properties. We will erase these debts. This is all we want to do and you will be obligated to pave any unpaved roads. The Board took that agreement. At this point, we have over 21 miles of unpaved roads we are obligated to pave, that Cooper was going to pave. We got that agreement out of the fact that they gave us all the property that they didn’t want. I don’t want to speak for Cooper, but I will tell you right now, I don’t believe they are interested in anything we’re going to have for a swap. That was the only point I was going to mention about that.”
  • We will need a couple more water tanks on the east side and there is a potential property where it would be possible to put the water tanks. The committee will ask Public Services if they have identified the locations for future water tanks and if so, is this property one of the locations?
  • Below Balboa Spillway there is a small segment of a trail on Cooper property. Janet Rowe said this property would be a want, not a need.
  • Magellan Beaver Dam Trail – “This trail comes right off of Balboa Dam.”
  • Cloaca Lane – This road is partially (or fully) owned by Cooper and provides access to the Animal Welfare League, Animal Control, and the Water Treatment Plant. Should this piece of land be placed at the top of the need list?

Lofgren said he suspects there will be more properties identified in the near future that have a lift station or some other necessary infrastructure located on them. The committee will be talking to the Public Services Department because they have a detailed list and more properties may be added to the ad hoc committee’s list.

Janet Rowe said, that to ease Property Owners’ concerns about what is happening with the properties where the Suddenlink Satellite is located and also a cell tower, we need to get some answers about what is happening there. Is this land being leased from Cooper?

Cooper Land Purchase Options

  • Trading lots with Cooper?
  • Asking Cooper to subdivide the property to only what we need so we don’t have to purchase the whole property
  • Are there other non-profit organizations that would be willing to help us purchase the property?
  • Donations
  • The National Association of Realtors has a grant program.
  • Walmart/Arvest Bank have programs.
  • Cedar Creek has a lot of endangered plants and Janet said they are trying to get Arkansas Natural Heritage involved.

Inputs From the Committees and Staff Needed

  • Lofgren said they need the Golf Committee’s input on the DeSoto golf cart path and the Coronado golf cart parking lot.
  • Obtain input from Public Services.
  • Obtain input from Charlie Brown

Community Input Via Email

If you have any thoughts or ideas, please email the committee at [email protected]

Next Steps

  • Set up a Zoom meeting with Cooper. The ad hoc committee anticipates several meetings with Cooper.
  • Put parcel identification numbers on each property.
  • Refine field trip data.
  • How does the committee determine what property prices should be?
  • Start thinking about the criteria they will use to evaluate the available funding options.
  • Think about whether they will survey the community – statistically surveys only provide about 20% return and “usually it is not fully representative of the community,” stated Lofgren.

Board Member, Bob McLeod, asked, “Are we really only talking twenty pieces of property at this point that we are interested in?

Lofgren answered that is correct.

Rowe stated, “If we can narrow that down…”

Lofgren said that by taking the field trip, they were already able to cut the list in half.

Future Meetings

  • Thursday, April 28, 2022, @ the Ouachita Room at Ponce de Leon Center (in the same complex as the Woodlands) from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. This meeting is open to the public. Lofgren will attend the meeting via Zoom.  There has been a schedule change to the Ad Hoc Cooper Land Evaluation Committee meeting.  The new date is Wednesday, April 27 1:00 to 3:00 PM. at the Ouachita Room at Ponce de Leon Center.
    Ouachita Building.
  • The next meeting date should be May 12.
  • Tentatively scheduled meeting for May 26.

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Who is on the committee?

The ad hoc committee consists of one representative from each of the POA Committees except Golf & ACC. The Committee Members are:

  • Jeff Lofgren, Chair (Finance and Planning Committee)
  • Janet Rowe, Vice-chair (Trails Committee)
  • Karen Crowson, Secretary (Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • Max Billingsley (Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife Committee)
  • Mark Quinton (Parks and Recreation Committee)
  • Thomas Gale Smith (Public Services Committee) – absent from the April 14 meeting
  • Concetta Dixon (Lakes Committee) – absent from the April 14 meeting
  • Robert (Bob) McLeod (HSVPOA Board Member)

Cheryl Dowden, HSV Gazette, April 17, 2022

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