Moratorium on Jonesboro apartments has been approved

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT/AP) - A six-month moratorium on the construction of new apartments in Jonesboro was approved during Tuesday's city council meeting.

The Jonesboro City Council narrowly approved the moratorium Tuesday on a 6-5 vote. Mayor Harold Perrin cast the deciding vote.

Backers of the moratorium say the city already has a large amount of vacant land that's zoned for multifamily use. Alderman Tim McCall says the city should also consider incentives for developers to revamp boarded-up complexes in Jonesboro.

Mayor Harold Perrin said this moratorium will allow the city to study a way to balance multi-family housing and Jonesboro's increasing growth rate each year. "You have to stop the process before you can do the study," Perrin said.

Mayor Perrin said the city will "look at how many [multi-family households] we have, how many should we not have, what time of need do we have there. Then we also need to look at the location, we need to look at the process, we need to look at the zoning to come up with a new one that the city council can review and once they adopt that, then this moratorium will come off the books."

The study will not only look at the current need for multi-family housing, but also future needs. "Jonesboro's continuously growing at about two and a half, three percent a year."

Mayor Perrin says this study is critical because the city council has declined the last four or five multi-family projects.

Jonesboro currently has a high percentage of its households in multi-family housing at 25 percent. To put that in perspective, Memphis has less at about 21 percent. "We have a lot of multi-family houses, but we're also the home of Arkansas State University. We also have a lot of single people here in town who would want a starter home or multi-family housing," Perrin said.

Jonesboro Police Lt. Todd Nelson says the police department is also planning a new program for landlords and property managers to help them "create an environment that is hostile toward crime."

Copyright 2013 KAIT.All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.