Cammack Village neighbors debate construction of large homes

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UPDATE:

CAMMACK VILLAGE, Ark. — At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, neighbors took to the floor to address the new construction.

During public comments, one neighbor explained how he had lived in the neighborhood his entire life, and was tired of seeing these “mega homes” appear without warning.

“Now things are just popping up all around me that are half-million dollar homes and more, and getting 3 stories tall,” he said.

Another asked what the city would do about an apparent lack of standards for new buildings, and questioned the arrival of a promised building commission.

“The building and standards commission from what I understand, the council appoints 5 members,” she asked, “any idea when that might happen?”

Council members voted to move forward with the proposed “building and standards commission” for Cammack Village neighbors, with an application period for interested residents opening sometime this month.

They also highlighted a newly appointed building inspector for the city, someone who directors said will help maintain the city’s building code and architecture standards.

ORIGINAL STORY :

CAMMACK VILLAGE, Ark. – Cammack Village is known for its historic bungalows and cottages – but recently, more than 20 two-story homes have appeared that literally overshadow neighbors. While a few homeowners don’t mind, some people there are growing tired of these “mega-houses” ignoring guidelines, and are getting ready to speak out.

Neighbors of Cammack have gotten used to the sound of construction, even on weekends as work continues on large new homes. But these projects have sparked a heated debate, with one social media post on the popular app “Nextdoor” providing the kindling – a neighbor asking if a power box on a vacant lot signaled a new home. Soon, comments flooded in as people began debating the rise of multistory homes that dwarf neighboring cottages. Some said development had to match the size and style of previous homes. Others commented that the additions created new revenue for the city, and are the way of the future.

But this debate isn’t new; it’s a similar situation to what Michelle Posey faced in the Forest Park area, when developers eyed a few open lots there. “When we started talking about it, there were a lot of people who were very concerned,” Posey said about the Forest Park plan. “[It took] fairly small lots to begin with that have four existing cottage-size houses on them, and then build six large houses.” The homes would have reached the edges of lot lines and affected the tree canopy of the neighborhood. But by banding with others, the construction was ultimately called off. “We made our case for the board of directors,” Posey said, “and we prevailed.”

Area homeowners hope to do the same as developers target Little Rock neighborhoods. Cammack Village is the latest group to raise the alarm, but they’re not alone. Others in areas such as the Heights and Hillcrest have also reported increased development, as small homes are torn down to accommodate much larger ones. Posey has some advice for those now in her situation: “you do have input. You really do have to take the initiative, though, and work with the city.” Homeowners plan to take this debate to the next City Council meeting in January.

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