Apartment standards to be considered at council; Proposed ban on sale of animals to be introduced

Bryant Planning and Community Development Director Dave Green will present a set of proposed standards for multifamily housing to the City Council during its regular meeting set for 7 p.m. today in the courtroom at City Hall, 210 SW 3rd St.
Because the construction of apartments has been a contentious issue in the city, Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs and staff attorney Chris Madison have asked that the council only discuss on the proposed rules and delay action until the next meeting to allow time for further review and community input.
Many Bryant residents have voiced opposition to building more apartments in Bryant. A ban on new apartment complexes has been in effect since spring of 2011. However, city officials say this is not a permanent solution, and it is necessary to develop standards for multifamily housing.
The proposed ordinance would dictate the ratio of apartments to houses and the size, location and appearance of apartments. It would also mandate the presence of amenities for residents and require reports on environmental impact, the effect on the school district, traffic impact of the adjacent streets, and crime prevention prior to the approval of the construction of any development.
The standards specify that apartments not make up more than 20 percent of residential housing in the city and that apartment complexes are not built within a quarter mile of each other. It also prohibits developments that spread across more than five acres.
Also under the proposed ordinance, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments would be required to include a minimum of 1,000 square feet. An additional 250 square feet would be required to be added for each additional bedroom, according to the proposed standards.
Developers also would be required to built apartment complexes near major streets — as defined by Bryant's Master Street Plan — and “within walking distance” of public transportation, potential places for employment, and retail stores and along the edges of residential areas.
In addition, developments should “minimize views overlooking low-density neighborhoods,” the proposed ordinance states.
Multifamily housing areas also would be required to use “similar building styles and materials to fit the neighborhood fabric." The only building materials that would be permitted under the standards would be brick; pre-cast, textured concrete; natural or cultured stone; tile; stucco; HardiPlank; mortar; or glass.
Flat roofs and wood shingles would be prohibited under the ordinance.
A range of building heights within a development would be required in order to “scale down the bulkiness” of large buildings, according to the ordinance. And apartment buildings with more than one story would not be allowed to measure more than three times the height of buildings in surrounding single-family housing areas.
Apartment complexes not located next to single-family residential zones would require a minimum setback of 25 feet from the boundary of the development property.
In addition, large trees should be “utilized along the boundaries of the development to mitigate the impact of the development on any adjacent lower-density residential neighborhoods,” according to the ordinance.
Also under the ordinance, patios and balconies must measure at least 50 square feet.
Each complex also must have a lighting/illumination plan and a landscape plan, prepared by a landscape architect. Landscape plans should utilize both evergreen and annual/perennial plants to “enhance the sense of seasonal variations,” according to the ordinance.
Cars, boats and recreational vehicles would be required to be hidden from view from the street and surrounding neighborhoods with a combination of opaque fencing and plants.
The standards also call for developments to be enclosed by a fenced perimeter. A 7-foot, opaque fence would be required between any multifamily development and single-family zoned property.
In addition, “masonry perimeter walls or a combination of masonry and ornamental steel fencing with electronic security gates at all entrances shall be required,” and main entrances should include a combination of plants and features like rocks, sculptures, water, or entry walls to “create a sense of identity,” according to the ordinance.
Under the proposed ordinance, apartment complexes would be required to provide recycling bins, washer and dryer connections in each apartment, and at least four amenities. Amenities might include swimming pool(s), onsite child care, a dog park, an exercise facility, a gazebo, book and video libraries, clubhouses, picnic areas, jogging trails, lakes measuring a minimum of half an acre with a constant water level, playgrounds, a golf course or putting green, or recreational fields.
Developers must undergo yearly inspections and provide 24-hour on-site management, 24-hour on-call security, and a maintenance plan for the property.
The ordinance also leaves the City Council with the freedom to approve or disapprove any element of a multifamily housing development “necessary to provide the public's health, safety and welfare."
In other city news, the council will discuss a proposed ordinance from Bryant Animal Control that would prohibit the sale or giving away of animals in public places.
The ordinance addresses an issue that has been ongoing for a few years in the city, said Tricia Power, director of animal control.
Many times, people from outside of Bryant – from as far as from Yell County – have come in to sell animals in public spaces in the city.
Those who are selling the animals often do not have proof that the animals have their shots, Power said. “The person who buys the animal a lot of times just takes the word of the one they bought the animal from, and sometimes the animal comes down with a disease.”
The council will also discuss whether to approve funding for a 12-inch water main to be built in the city.
All meetings are open to the public.