Residents upset after building code violated

Residents upset after building code violated

TRUMANN, Ark. (KAIT) - Some Trumann residents say they have lost faith in their city officials for letting a building code slip, but others say it’s not that big of a deal.

The city allowed a private homeowner to build a 900-square-foot accessory building on their property. That’s 100-square-feet over the limit and in direct violation of Trumann’s Zoning Code.

According to Section 10.01 C of the zoning code, “accessory buildings cannot exceed 800-square-feet without a conditional use permit.” It also requires a public hearing for neighbors and concerned citizens to voice their opinions, something Mayor Barbara Lewallen admitted the city failed to do at the April 20 city council meeting.

Lewallen says this code is new, and the city wasn’t aware of the code.

Jay Roberts lives across the street from the building and says the building is too large, too close to the street, and is disrupting the flow of the neighborhood.

“The city has dropped the ball on this,” Roberts said. “We had a few council members that seem sympathetic to the cause, and we’ve had others that seem like it’s one of those deals that ‘it’s not in my front yard, so I’m not worried about it.’”

While others, like resident April Beavers, feels differently.

“She owned up to her mistake. It was a mistake. We all make mistakes,” Beavers said. “There are more pressing matters in this town that needs to be fixed other than a building in a neighborhood.”

Roberts wants to make it clear that he and other residents have nothing personal against the homeowner. Their beef is with the city.

In the city council meeting, Lewallen says there is nothing else the city can legally do, and they are not liable for violating the code.

The mayor claimed she offered to pay the homeowner to remove the building to another location but said they declined.

Roberts says that he and other residents are exploring their options to hold the city accountable.

When we asked about the issue on Tuesday, April 27, Mayor Lewallen said, “No comment.”

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