Leader Blues

Saturday, February 16, 2008

TOP STORY > >Sherwood wants parks built with subdivisions

Leader staff writer

The Sherwood Planning Com-mission wants developers to provide parks in their subdivisions.

Commissioner Wayne Smith was so adamant about it Tuesday night that he proposed that the commission stop all subdivision approvals until the city council and the mayor develop an ordinance requiring developers to provide parks.

“It chapped me,” Smith said, “when a developer stood right here at the microphone and said to us a few months ago that he would not put in a park unless we told him he had too, and we didn’t have the teeth in the ordinance to make him.”

City Attorney Stephen Cobb told Smith and the commission that they were taking a risk if they decided to stop approvals. “If a developer has complied with all of the current requirements, you run a risk saying no to the plans.”

Commission chairman Freddie Hudson agreed. “We just can’t shut down the commission.”

Smith said the city and the commission was being abused by developers and being piecemealed by not getting parks. “We have to put pressure on the council and the mayor.”

Resident Doris Anderson supported Smith’s efforts and provided the commission with information from North Little Rock and Maumelle.

North Little Rock’s comprehensive land-use plan calls for “promoting and preserving trees, urban forests and natural open spaces during development.” It also calls for the development of “neighborhood-oriented, community and regional parks.”
Maumelle’s subdivision ordinances require each development to have up to 15 percent of the “gross area” designated as “common usable open space.”

The commission decided it was best not to stop all approval, but agreed to an ordinance calling on the council to come up with a plan to help provide for parks and asked Smith to present the case to the council Monday, Feb. 25.

In other commission business:

The commission refused to act on plans to develop the 106-acre North Hills Country Club. Basil Shoptaw, with Thomas Engineering, representing Club Properties, presented two plans at the last commission meeting. Those plans were tabled by the commission until a new city engineer was hired to be able to review the plans fully.

The city has hired a consulting engineer to oversee developers’ plans, but the commission refused to bring the golf course subdivision plans back to the table.

“It’s a moot point,” said the city attorney. “We have condemned the property and served the papers. It is our property. We just have to go through the courts to settle on the price.”

Commissioners approved the rezoning of a piece of property at 7777 Warden Road from C-3 to C-4 to allow a wholesale car business to use the property.