About two dozen North Little Rock residents turned out at a City Council meeting Monday to object to a proposed multifamily development.
Only Robert Fureigh, a candidate for Ward 4 alderman, spoke out about a proposed ordinance further restricting parking in residential yards, an issue that has created friction in recent years.
More than once, residents of neighborhoods around the multifamily project proposed for the southeast corner of Faulkner Lake Road and Arkansas Highway 391 stood up to show their solidarity in opposition to it. Each of 1o different speakers, some of whom asked them to stand, individually expressed concerns and worries about the possibility of the development.
Nearly all of them said they believed "duplexes" at the intersection will lower property values in the surrounding Stone Links and Faulkner Crossing subdivisions.
Resident Chandra Martin said she was representing the views of most of her neighbors in Stone Links and presented the council with a 60-signature petition asking the council to reject a change in the land-use plan for that area that is necessary to allow the project to go forward.
"The duplexes will have negative consequences," she said.
Several of the residents said they were concerned that the housing would attract an unsavory element to the neighborhood.
Nicole Hart, a four-year resident of the area with a small child, said it would bring "a threat of shift in community environment."
Bob Trosper, general manager of the Stone Links golf course, said he worries that problems the course has had with vandalism will get worse by bringing in more families with children who have few outdoor recreation options in the neighborhood.
Bill Gabbard of Rausch Coleman Homes, the developers, said duplexes are not planned for the corner. Instead, the developers want to build "attached patio homes" similar to ones the company built in Conway.
He said the multifamily houses will act as a buffer between the residential area and a commercial zone.
The council had one reading of the land-use ordinance and then held it until a meeting between residents and the developers can take place .
Shortly before the conclusion of the meeting, the council had two readings of the proposed yard-parking ordinance and then held it for further discussion. Three readings are required before final approval of ordinances.
Alderman Murry Witcher, who proposed it along with Alderman Charlie Hight, said he merely is recommending a broadening of the current law that allows neighborhood associations or similar groups to form parking districts in their neighborhoods so as to prohibit residents in them from parking vehicles in front and side yards.
"The only difference now is it is equitable to all neighborhoods," he said. "Everyone deserves to live in a nice neighborhood."
Mayor Patrick Hays and Hight were absent. Alderwoman Linda Robinson presided over Monday’s meeting.
In other business, the council unanimously agreed to:
• Order the demolition of structures that have deteriorated and become nuisances to the public at 307 N. Eighth St., 705 W. 37th St., 1419 W. Short 17th St., 601 W. 34th St., 1215 1/2 W. 10th St., 1506 Chandler St. and 1105 Vestal St.
• Accept a low bid of $4,583 by Snyder Environmental for asbestos removal at 122 E. Fourth St., the former Checkmate building.
• Authorize the mayor and city clerk to enter into an agreement with Central Arkansas Christian for a pedestrian easement.
• Grant a special use permit for an ethanol production facility at 11911 Faulkner Lake Road.
• Grant a special use permit for an apartment residence in a business at 3517 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
• Grant a conditional use permit for a warehouse on the northwest corner of Crystal Hill and White Oak.
• Accept the dedication of Richardson Drive to the city.
• Change the energy cost recovery rider used by North Little Rock Electric from a fixed-rate rider to a variable-rate rider.
The change will result in an average increase of about $6.14 in the monthly bill of a customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours each month, according to a "worst-case" estimate presented at the meeting. Typically, a NLR Electric customer uses about 950 kwh per month.