Proposed Restrictions on Driveways in Arkansas Town Fail
It took months of discussion and ultimately the Mayor to break a tied vote, but finally, the Driving and Parking Standards Ordinance failed in Fayetteville at the November City Council meeting.
The eight city council members were deadlocked at four votes each when Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced that ordinance would not move forward, thus breaking the tie.
Members of City Council had proposed an amendment to the current standards designed to restrict residential driveway widths to as little as 10 feet, or enough for a single car, and standardize garage locations in certain zoning areas at least 25 feet from the street.
The plan was to move residential garages to the rear of properties, which would have eliminated many back yards. This would also count for shared driveways in the identified zones.
The ordinance created quite a bit of opposition among REALTORS®, builders, developers and homeowners.
The amendment was read and discussed at several council meetings, most recently in October when more than a dozen Fayetteville residents spoke against the amendment.
And the backlash was enough in the mind of at least one member of council.
“[I’m] voting against due to the amount of feedback,” said councilwoman Sonia Gutierrez, according to Fox 24 in Fayetteville. “I would ask for more engagement from constituents if I could redo the process.”
The opposition made a strong push with city residents as representatives of the Northwest Arkansas Board of REALTORS®, the Northwest Arkansas Homebuilders Association and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce all spoke out against the ordinance at previous city council meetings.
“How we feel now is encouraged,” Ronald B Snitchcomb, a member of the REALTORS® Association, told ABC 40/29. “We believe that there are problems that need to be solved by this city and we want to be part of the solution, not someone who is called in at the last moment to complain about what has been decided. We’re really happy with the results of it.”
Snitchcomb and his fellow dissenters felt the driveway ordinance was an overreach by the city council that would have resulted in unnecessary and burdensome regulations.
The REALTORS® argued that not only did it attempt to force homebuyers to purchase what the city council believes to be in the public’s best interest, it would also force builders to build a product that currently has no consumer demand.
Additionally, if it would have passed, this amendment would have affected all proposed developments that had not yet been approved.
“The Northwest Arkansas Board of REALTORS® has a long history of supporting private property rights,” president, Jennifer Welch said in a statement. “We will continue to advocate for every individual’s right to the use of their own property free from the overreach of local government by vigorously opposing overburdensome regulations such as the ordinance proposed by the City of Fayetteville Planning Commission.”