Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Zoning Regulations in Rural NW Arkansas

If you live in NW Arkansas, I’m sure you heard much talk about the rock quarry proposal for the southwest part of Washington County. Debate was loud and lengthy. The end result was the rock quarry could proceed because the county had no zoning regulations to stop it.

And it was just about one year ago that the Quorum Court took action to regulate density around existing city limits. That law established zoning areas within two miles of larger cities and within one mile of smaller towns. Development in those areas is limited to agricultural uses and single-family homes, which must be situated on at least one acre of land.

Now the Court, by a 7-6 vote, has passed an ordinance that zoned all unincorporated portions of the county as agricultural. Residents of the rural areas will now have some say about what is built in their neighborhoods.

The ordinance amends the zoning regulations passed last year. Anything other than a single-family home on at least one acre will be required to go before the Washington County Planning Board to make the case for a conditional-use permit.

Since November 2006, the Planning Board has considered 19 proposals and denied only two: one was a subdivision with 5 homes per acre and the other was to construct storage warehouses in a residential area.

So it seems to me that the new zoning regulations actually protect property values. I know I would not want a rock quarry, smelter, red-dirt pit or noisy factory situated next door to my home, and I don’t know anyone else who does.

In the debate over the most recent decision of the Quorum Court, the usual cry arose from some of the old timers who don’t want anyone telling them what they can do with their land. I think it’s time everyone realized that NW Arkansas is being coming more urbanized every day and rules and regulations are necessary to ensure an orderly society.

I’ll even go so far as to say that I believe it might even be time for building codes in rural areas. It’s not the law yet, but I’ve seen homes in the county that are practically impossible to sell because they were not “built to code.” Buyers these days almost always hire a professional building inspector who has the skill to know good from bad in such things as electrical wiring, plumbing, and structural safety.

Substandard buildings can also be hazardous to the inhabitants. There was a fire several years ago in such a home in Washington County where several small children were killed as they slept.

I don’t ever want to read sad headlines like those again. Laws are generally to protect the people, and I think the Washington County Quorum Court has shown remarkable restraint in trying to balance traditional values with the needs for orderly growth.

For more information:

Refer to my blog archives for article posted November 23, 2006


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