GOOD FENCE? A commission will decide again whether this fence will be allowed around a house at Daisy Bates and Scott. The driveway gate opens on to Bates (14th). CZDC

The Capitol Zoning District Commission has a familiar topic on its agenda at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the 4-foot fence Patrick and Ida Cowan erected in front of their historic home at Daisy Bates (14th) and Scott.

In 2011, the Commission allowed a 40-inch fence, but the Cowans built one 48 inches high. There’s been a squabble ever since. The offshoots have included an effort by Rep. Nate Bell of Mena to abolish the Zoning Commission in 2013 as a favor to a legislative staffer who’d had his own fence dispute with the Commission.


The Cowan applied twice for reconsideration, but neither of those applications reached a final decision. The meeting tomorrow is on the third reapplication.  The Commission has sued to have the 48-inch fence removed. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has held that request in abeyance pending a Commission decision on the  latest application.

For further details of this battle — which Piazza once likened in court to a Monty Python skit — go to the detailed explanation on the agenda for this week’s meeting.


Another fence request is on the agenda, across Scott Street. It would enclose the parking lot behind the former East Side school at 1401 Scott, now an apartment project. The staff has recommended denial of Cowan’s four-foot fence, but recommended approval of a six-foot fence for the parking lot. The writeup details some significant differences — the school is a commercial building, the setbacks are different, the fence would be behind an existing hedge and so forth.

Robert Frost never visited Scott Street in Little Rock, so far as I know.