A Better Region 8 Guest Editorial: Forcing sidewalks on builders and developers

I'm here today to talk to you about sidewalks, an issue that is being forced on builders and developers by our City.  I can see that sidewalks are necessary in commercial and institutional areas and in large apartment areas but not in front of every new home in Jonesboro.

This happened in the Fayetteville area a few years ago.  The average price of a new home in Fayetteville is $180,000 and in Jonesboro it's $150,000. Sidewalks are the main reason for the higher prices,

The City has what they call an "In Lieu of Clause" in the sidewalk code.  That means if, for some reason it's impractical or unusually expensive to build the sidewalk, you can give the City the price of that sidewalk, and they will build sidewalks somewhere else.

Folks, that's NOT the American Way.

The City thinks it's alright as long as my money holds out, but it won't hold out long doing this.  What if the City wrote you a letter saying, "Next month you are going to have to put a sidewalk in front of your home and if you can't do it, you owe the City $2,500 to put sidewalks somewhere else."

That's what we are forced with.  It's only going to get worse in the future with more codes if you don't stand up and call The City Planner's Office right now at 870-932-0406 and complain about this sidewalk issue.  Thank you so very much!

Bob Harrison, President of the Northeast Arkansas Home Builders' Association

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