The Paragould City Council voted to vacate a platted street and alley at Monday night’s meeting.

As required by law, the city hosted a public hearing on the proposed permanent closure of a portion of Short Street where it connects Wirt and Thomas Streets, as well as part of an alley running east from Short Street. Short Street is platted but not built, running north-south between South Ninth and 10th Streets, theoretically connecting Wirt and Thomas Streets. The alley is likewise platted but not built.

The public hearing, however, drew no attendees apart from attorney Roger Colbert, representing petitioner Elizabeth Smith, and John Malone. Smith, executrix of the estate of Eula Hurd, is seeking the closure to facilitate the sale of land (owned by the Hurd estate) on either side of both the street and the alley, and Malone’s company, Tasabah & Associates, LLC, is under contract to auction it.

“The platted street and the alley are on land that’s to be sold,” Malone said at the hearing. “There’s no curb or anything,” he added in response to an observation from both Colbert and Ward 4 Position 1 council member Mark Rowland that the street and alley had been platted but never used.

The resolution to close the street and alley passed 8-0.

The council also adopted a resolution to grant a variance to Curtis Davenport to erect two billboards on his property at the corner of Third Street and West Kingshighway, to replace those that had been removed in anticipation of erecting a new LED billboard. Davenport had noted at the Aug. 24 meeting that with the demolition of the original billboards, coupled with the denial of a building permit for an LED billboard, he had lost both real and potential income.

The governing ordinance prohibits any new billboards in Paragould. The variance allows Davenport to replace the ones taken down as long as they are in the same place and are of the same type and nature, and neither exceeds the size, height, dimensions or face, of the originals. The variance prohibits LED or back-lighted billboards.

The council also voted to rezone from Residential R-2 to Office-Professional OP property at 115 N. 14th St. The property, currently owned by Tom and Barb Dearin, is to be sold to Jack Stewart, who told the council the plan is to make the existing structure (currently a church) into a clinic offering pediatric, speech therapy and other medical services. The ordinance passed 7-0 with Ward 4 position 2 council member Charles Long abstaining.

The council also voted to attach tax liens to a total of 10 properties to cover the city’s cost to clean them up. A tax lien ensures that the city of Paragould gets first claim over other creditors vying for the property with the lien. It also prevents the delinquent taxpayer from selling or refinancing the assets to which liens have been attached.

To satisfy a tax lien, the delinquent taxpayer must pay what is owed, get the debt dismissed in bankruptcy court, or reach an offer in compromise with the city. The properties with the liens are:

606 N. Seventh St., owned by Reba Stansfill, for $86.36

622 E. Court St., owned by Fern Woodsmall and Charlene Wells, for $112.74

311 N. 15th Ave., owned by Deborah Jones, for $131.75

614 N. 11th St., owned by Keith Thrasher, for $86.36

405 N. 10th Ave., owned by Mandy Foster, for $103.59

404 N. Sixth Ave., owned by James Rusty Reinhart and Shawna Kay Harris, for $115.24

820 N. Vance St., owned by owned by KAC Land Trust, for $91.09

316 N. Fifth St., owned by Larry and Denzil Howard, for $63.86

110 W. Baldwin St., owned by JAMM LLC, for $161.60

507 E. Garland St., owned by JAMM LLC, for $121.61

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