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Zoning changes proposed for Lake Maumelle watershed

Hundreds of angry property owners from the Lake Maumelle watershed blasted a Pulaski County zoning code proposal at a public hearing Tuesday night. They say it will strip them of their property rights. The planning department says the proposal will protect the drinking water for 400,000 people living in central Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Hundreds of angry property owners from the Lake Maumelle watershed blasted a Pulaski County zoning code proposal at a public hearing Tuesday night. They say it will strip them of their property rights. The planning department says the proposal will protect the drinking water for 400,000 people living in central Arkansas.

The Land Use Plan and Land Use Regulations could require property owners to set aside some of their land as open space, or may dictate what are where they could build on their land. It lead to some heated and adversarial debate on Tuesday.

Mark White is a Zone Code Consultant for the county. “Just having the zoning ordinance in place, or just adopting a new one doesn’t violate people’s property rights, nor is it an attempt by the county to acquire ownership of property.”

Lorie White is a property owner on the watershed. She disagrees with White.

“This plan right here needs to be trashed. I’m not against them making sure that the water is kept clean. I’m not against them putting restrictions on the subdivisions because I moved out here for a reason. I’m not elbow to elbow with someone else.”

What Ms. White is against is the county controlling what she can build on her land and where she can build it. Bottom line, property owners believe that the new restrictions will lower the value of their land. The county points to two studies (done in 2000 and 2001, see FAQ) that refute that claim.

"I'm not for you devaluing my land until it can not be sold or used by anybody. I want them to consider what they're doing,” says White.

The next step in the process will be when the planning commission makes a recommendation to the Pulaski County Quorum Court. The Quorum Court would then have the final say in the matter.
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