Maumelle: City Council report

The City Council meeting last Monday, Dec. 6, started off with a presentation regarding the overall status of Maumelle’s streets.

Mayor Caleb Norris hired consultants to come in and map and grade every mile of Maumelle’s city streets. This is the first step in developing an overall comprehensive plan for on-going street maintenance in our city. The good news is that most of Maumelle’s streets are in good condition. The consultants have also provided data on streets that will need future preventative measures in order to prolong their useful life. This data will help the city in the coming years so we can budget more appropriately on where to spend our street funds.

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The council heard a sign variance request from Splash Car Wash and Oil Change to allow larger signage than allowed by city code. Our code allows for signage to occupy 5 percent of the surface area on a stand-alone building but applicants can request up to 10 percent with a variance. Additionally, if it’s a multi-tenant building, our code already allows up to 10 percent signage surface area. When looking at this request, their total signage was going to be under 6 percent total across three sides of their building. This variance was approved by a 6-1 vote. 

The council approved an ordinance establishing a municipal improvement district for the new Pinnacle Heights neighborhood. This passed by a 6-1 vote.

We had the second reading of an ordinance that would amend our master street plan and remove some future roads from the industrial park. As development has occurred, these streets are no longer needed in the locations where they’re listed on the map. Additionally, the planned roads dissect some of our valuable land in the industrial park. Removing these roads will allow the industrial park to continue to grow without having to plan for future roads, possibly crossing their property.

The council had the second reading of an ordinance that would amend city code regarding fire safety review, testing and inspection fees. This is modeled after other cities in our area and is pretty standard for municipalities.

Under new business, the site of the old Maumelle Water Treatment Plan was back on the agenda again. A request has been made to rezone this land as Commercial so it can be used as an event center. There was a large amount of opposition to the rezoning when we changed it to allow five residential homes to be built on the property. At the time, there was concern for increased traffic that these homes would generate. As of this date, I’ve not heard of any opposition to the event center being constructed and the council hasn’t seen a plan for how traffic would be handled. More to come on this.

One of the last items I’ll mention is that we approved the budget for 2022 and it includes substantial raises for personnel in the city. We had fallen behind the last few years and even more so with the job market being so tight right now and wages increasing. While the salary increases are the largest part of our budget increase this year, we’re still operating with a balanced budget and have budgeted more revenue than expenses for 2022. 

 One of the items I’m most excited about is the installation of a pedestrian crosswalk system at all six crosswalks along Odom Boulevard. This is a highly utilized pedestrian corridor with trails leading from our neighborhoods and these new crossing systems will greatly improve safety and visibility for people crossing Odom. Look for these to be installed in 2022.

Have a great week! Chad 501-529-1336, chad4maumelle@gmail.com