BELLA VISTA – The city council unanimously voted to propose an ordinance on the size of the sewer system to allow further investigation on an issue.
The proposed ordinance would require a two-person sewer system for a structure of 1,500 square feet or less, a three-person sewer system for a structure between 1,500 square feet and 2,500 square feet, and a four-person facility for a structure between 3,500 square feet and 3,500 square feet and a larger system for any structure over 3,500 square feet.
Undersized septic tanks are an issue during the February 16 working session, Doug Tapp, director of Community Development Services, but the department lacks a mechanism to prevent it.
“We have to take a contractor at their word … we are approving it as a two-bedroom apartment with an office and a replacement,” he said.
Defining a bedroom may not be the only thing that needs to be done, he said, but it could be a good start.
Staff will work with experts in septic tanks, development and real estate to find a more nuanced approach to this issue, he said.
Councilor Jim Wozniak said he did not want anything that the council would continue to debate excessively and would appreciate if city officials got it right before anything was put to the council for a vote.
“If it takes longer, take your time,” he said.
Councilor Doug Fowler said he was concerned about the new build, but also about existing homes that could be sold to unsuspecting buyers – something that was not addressed in the proposed regulation.
“I think we have this holistic problem and are only addressing part of it at the moment.”
Councilor John Flynn said while he was concerned about existing structures there has been a lot of housing construction in the city and it would be better to address this issue sooner rather than later.
It might be wise to focus on fixing gaps in new build first, he said.
The city council also approved an amended proposal to rededicate a property on Castleford Drive, an application to rededicate a property on Bella Vista Way, changes to the definition and requirements for special events in the city code, adjustments to the city budget, and contracts to purchase two new city vehicles , a contract to reassemble an ambulance, appointments to the planning committee, and a lease for additional office space from Community Development Services.
Keith Bryant can be reached via email at [email protected]