Maumelle: City Council Report 

The Maumelle City Council had a large agenda this week.

The first item of unfinished business on Monday night was a vote on the O’Reilly Senior Community Addition. This facility would have been built on Crystal Hill Road to the south of First Security Bank and would have provided independent living, assisted living, and a memory care unit for seniors. Unfortunately, this project failed by a 4-4 vote of the Council. I voted in favor of this project and thought it would have been a great addition to our city since it would allow senior residents to “age in place” close to family and friends. There is a need for this type of living in our city and I was disappointed to see it fail. The O’Reilly group still wants to find a way to build this project, so hopefully they can regroup and find a way to make it happen. This project would have added a mixture of 65 full-time and part-time jobs in Maumelle.

The next item of unfinished business was an ordinance to adjust the sick leave available to our police officers. I’ve written previously on how state law required the city to reduce the amount of sick leave we made available to our police officers. The city of Maumelle was “too generous” according to state law. During the 2021 legislative session, state law was amended which allows us to restore the sick leave that we previously offered. With this new ordinance, police officers can now accrue up to a maximum of 100 days (12-hour shifts). This change passed unanimously.

Finally in unfinished business, we had the second reading of an ordinance that would make R-3 (multi-family housing) a conditional use in C-2 (Commercial) zoning. This will require an additional layer of city council approval if a developer wants to construct R-3 housing within a C-2 zone. This will be voted on at the Oct. 18 Council meeting.

Under new business, the Council approved a preliminary development plan for a commercial center that will be located along Country Club Parkway to the west of the entrance to the golf course. This commercial center had been previously approved, but the development plan expired due to lack of activity. A new owner has stepped in and wants to move forward with the project.

The Council approved a resolution that we pass annually that certifies the taxation rate for real and personal property within the city. This is something we certify annually for the Pulaski County Clerk and there are no tax changes within the city for 2021.

The Council approved a resolution that will grant a public hearing on Nov. 1 where we will hear a proposal to form a Multipurpose Improvement District for the Pinnacle Heights development.

The Council had the first reading of an ordinance that would grant a franchise agreement for Unite Private Networks who plan to offer data and internet service to business customers in our city.

In the last month, the city has annexed two separate tracts of land into the city. At this week’s meeting, we had the first reading of an ordinance that will assign these two new properties into Ward 4 of the city of Maumelle. These newly annexed lands touch ward 4, so it’s most appropriate for them to be assigned to this part of our city.

As the Census has now been completed and information has been given to the city about our population, it’s time for us to begin the process of redrawing our ward boundaries. Based on population growth within Maumelle, wards 1 and 2 need to shrink and give territory over to wards 3 and 4 who now have smaller populations than wards 1 and 2. This will rebalance our city wards so that each ward represents approximately 25 percent of the city’s population. Mayor Caleb Norris plans to put together a public workshop so we can begin discussions about how to move forward and redraw our ward boundaries. Ideally, this would need to be completed by mid-to-late Spring 2022 so that potential candidates for the 2022 election will know which ward they live in prior to the filing season opening. More to come on this in the future.

A new ordinance was presented tonight that will amend commercial building design in our city and allow architectural metal to be used in building design. This change is overdue in my opinion since building design has shifted over the years and you see many higher-end projects incorporate architectural metal into their design. Maumelle’s current code does not allow use of metal, so a waiver has to be granted by the planning commission if a proposal comes forward that uses higher-end metal as an architectural accent in the design. If this change is approved, architects will be able to incorporate architectural metal into their designs and it will not have to go through a waiver process if it meets the new regulations for building design.

Lastly, the Council approved the disposal of a Public Works refuse truck that has outlived its useful life and is the oldest in the city’s fleet. This truck has already been replaced by a newer model truck so it is no longer used in daily service.

That’s all for the week. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Chad. 501-529-1336, chad4maumelle@gmail.com