Bella Vista City Council considers accessory structure revision

Posted: November 21, 2017 at 1 a.m.

BELLA VISTA -- The Bella Vista City Council examined an ordinance to amend an ordinance regulating accessory structures during its work session Monday.

The ordinance, presented by council member Linda Lloyd, is designed to address potential issues with a handful of regulations the council passed earlier this year.

Lloyd said this proposal would affect how the front plane is defined, how the main floor of a house is defined in certain homes and allow the front plane -- an imaginary line drawn at the front of the house -- to run parallel to curves in the road.

Currently, she said, the front plane of the house is based on the location of the home's front door.

"But when the door is on the side that's a problem," Lloyd said. "We can't write any ordinance to cover all types of things, but there's too many houses with side doors."

With this revision, she said, the front plane would be defined as an imaginary line formed by the wall of the house -- not counting the garage -- that faces the street extending to the property line.

Moreover, she said, there is currently a restriction on the size of an accessory structure based on the square footage of the main floor of a home, defined as the floor one enters the home on. In many homes, she said, one enters a foyer and goes up or down stairs from there.

With that definition, she said, that small foyer is defined as the main floor, meaning an accessory structure cannot be built on the property without a variance.

Under this proposal, in a case like this, she said, homes with a primary entrance into a foyer with a split entrance to other levels will have its main floor defined as the one with a kitchen and living area.

Lastly, she said, this revision would mean that, on curved roads, the front plane of the house would remain parallel to the road, allowing it to flex around the bends.

This, she said, could avoid situations where a straight line on a curved piece of land makes the land entirely unbuildable or, conversely, could allow someone to build their accessory structure closer to the road than the house.

Council member Frank Anderson said he wanted to be sure this ordinance would play well with city staff. He suggested having a discussion with staff in Community Development Services before voting on the ordinance.

"Let's make sure the staff is on board," Anderson said, "before we jump up and down and say 'yay.'"

The council also discussed advance notice when city staff apply for grants, collecting fines at Bella Vista's new court facility, a change to the city's cost sharing agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a flood study of Little Sugar Creek and the city's 2018 budget.

General News on 11/21/2017