City council, residents discuss proposed sidewalk ordinance at meeting

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A proposed ordinance about sidewalks brought several residents to the council chambers Tuesday night.

It was a packed house at the Jonesboro City Council meeting and when asked, several attendees raised their hands to signify they were there in support of a new sidewalk ordinance.

The city's current ordinance regarding sidewalks only requires they be built in front of commercial businesses.

This new ordinance would extend the requirement to residential and industrial construction.

It applies to new construction, not existing homes and industries in the city.

Three residents stood up to speak in support of the plan, saying it promotes safety and health.

One man recounted the night his sister was killed when a car hit her as she walking on the side of a road, where there was no sidewalk.

He said his sister's life was worth a lot more than the cost to install a sidewalk and wants all people involved in this decision to remember how it affects real people.

Carroll Caldwell with the Northeast Arkansas Homebuilders Association also spoke to the council.

He said they do not oppose sidewalks but would like to suggest changes to the city council.

"We're opposed to the way the ordinance is written," Caldwell said. "So if you will be open-minded enough and have two weeks of patience, we'll come back with an ordinance that we can accept that solves the problems. This ordinance does not solve the problem of connectivity."

"I think the best thing I heard tonight was from Harold Caldwell, who represents the NEA Homebuilders Association," Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said after the meeting. "He is working on a plan, they are, to come back and meet with our senior planner and with Mr. Hefner, who actually offered this [ordinance], and come up with a deal. We'll probably change, I'm sure, the way it's written right now. There will be some amendments to that."

The ordinance was held in its first reading.

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