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JONESBORO — A mix of concerns from officials and residents dominated the Jonesboro City Council’s discussion Tuesday about a proposed housing ordinance.

The three-page ordinance would allow builders to develop cottage-style housing in clusters of four surrounding green space. The cap is 12 homes per development, according to previous Sun reporting.

Unlike a subdivision, Planning Director Derrel Smith said the cottages don’t require the “dividing of lots and platting of streets.”

Councilmen Joe Hafner, LJ Bryant and Bobby Long also expressed uncertainty regarding how detailed the ordinance is or how well it would be enforced.

“I know we’ve gotten a couple of emails about whether or not our ordinance and the attachments to our ordinance contain enough specifics to keep this sort of development like how we want it and not let the people take advantage of it,” Hafner said.

Smith said current ordinances regarding sidewalks, landscaping and green space would be enforced in any instance. He did suggest that the proposed ordinance could be amended to specify that those apply to cottage developments.

“Even though this will not go through the subdivision process, it’ll still go through the site review process and all those other ordinances come into play during that time,” he said.

Mayor Harold Copenhaver reassured the council that the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission reviewed the ordinance with “their due diligence.”

“Thank you for their dedication and moving it on to (the) council,” Copenhaver said.

Prior to the meeting, several residents sent in comments, but The Sun couldn’t access them on Wednesday. During the meeting, Billy Brown submitted an email requesting that the final reading be postponed.

“The early start time due to weather conditions and the restrictions due to COVID-19 preclude participating by concerned citizens,” Brown wrote.

Patti Lack called into the city’s line for public comments and demanded that councilmen and Smith take another look at the ordinance before it’s passed. In comparison to Fayetteville’s cottage ordinance passed in 2011, she said it’s not detailed enough.

“What I think is going to happen since this going to be available in all types of zonings … there are some builders that are going to do a really good job with this,” Lack said. “But if we don’t have those standards and if we don’t have them written down, … we’re always going to keep on amending.”

The ordinance was passed to its final reading.

With no discussion among council members and public comments during the meeting, the hybrid voting ordinance will move to a second reading. If approved, half of the members citywide and the other half would be “elected solely by the citizens of the ward they represent.”

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