Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TOP STORY >> Sherwood could stop permits for a 30-day review

Leader staff writer

Sherwood has declared a moratorium of up to 30 days on building permits while the council reviews a new ordinance on allowable building material.

The ordinance was introduced at Sherwood’s council meeting Monday night to clarify what can go on exterior walls of new businesses in certain high-traffic corridors of the city.

The ordinance, which was just read once and will more than likely be voted on at the July meeting, is in response to controversy surrounding the new Whit Davis store.

The company, which received approval every step of the way, was called on the carpet two months ago for violating the city’s building code by using a stucco-looking siding to cover its metal building.

Alderman Mary Jo Heye said she had received numerous complaints about the exterior of building and wondered why the company didn’t have to follow the code, which she said required stucco, masonry or wood.

“We don’t want a metal building looking like a metal building,” Alderman Kevin Lilly said, backing Heye.

The council heard from Wit Davis representatives and the city engineer. Both stated that all steps, including the siding, had been approved.

The aldermen then asked City Attorney Stephen Cobb to research what could be done.

At the May council meeting, Cobb — in a letter to the aldermen — said a more recent building code the council had passed superseded the one that Heye referred to and that Whit Davis had not violated any standards.

Still, members of the council weren’t pleased and asked that an ordinance be drawn up to prevent this from happening again.

Aldermen Tim McMinn and Ken Keplinger brought up the ordinance that included some last-minute changes, which is why the council is reviewing it closely.

“I don’t want any construction to stop, so I’m not opposed to having a specially-called meeting to approve this ordinance,” Keplinger said.

Besides defining proper materials that may be used for the outside finish of a building, the proposed ordinance also allows for an architectural review committee to look at new materials and questionable designs.

In other council business:

• Aldermen approved a rezoning request for property at 4500 Rixey Road, going from C-3 (General Commercial) to C-4 (Highway Commercial), which allows the property owner more options. The council also rezoned 1503 E. Kiehl Ave. from C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) to C-3 (General Commercial).

• The council agreed to spend $54,184, which will be added to grant money, to complete the Silver Creek sidewalk project this year.

• Aldermen agreed to have Sherwood become part of Pulaski County’s Property Assessed Clean Energy district. It involves no money on the part of the city, but does give the city a seat on the PACE board. The district is a funding arm to help finance energy improvements for businesses and industries in the county.

• The city council also agreed to add about $80,000 to a $250,00 grant for major street overlay projects on Jacksonville-Cato Road and Jacksonville Cutoff Road.

• The council also appointed A.C. Ketzcher to the Sherwood Public Facilities Board. His term will expire Sept. 30, 2016.

• The mayor announced that Sherwood’s Fourth of July festival would at Sherwood Forest from 6 to 9 p.m.; the Sherwood Young Professionals are sponsoring the annual Sherwoof Dog Day from noon to 2 p.m. at the animal shelter on July 11; the Sherwood Mayor’s Youth Council is hosting Movies in the Park on July 24; and, during July, the animal shelter is running a special on cat adoptions.