North Little Rock city council hears public comment on proposed ordnance regulating outdoor storage

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - North Little Rock looked Monday night at taking steps to clean up some of its neighborhoods. Mayor Joe Smith said it's a problem the city has been looking to address for years, but what the city had on the table Monday may present problems when it comes to actually enforcing the law.

"It's an issue we've been dealing with for years and years and years," said Smith. "It's clutter, it's putting things outside that aren't supposed to be outside."

Last year the city appointed a citizen's committee which met for months discussing the issue, but Monday was the first time the city opened that discussion up for public comment.

"It's just collected into these piles of junk that are overtaking their garages, their carports," said one person. "To the point where they're parking in the grass because they can't even park in their driveway any longer."

"When someone first comes into the neighborhood," said another, "the first thing they see when they turn onto that street is this house that has everything that I feel shouldn't be in a car port, it should be destroyed and thrown away."

Mayor Smith said most people agree on the ordinance in principal, but when it comes down to specifics things get tricky.

"You can't identify exactly what can be left inside or outside," said Smith. "Do toys count? Do old pieces of lumber – yes, toys – no. Is a freezer in the carport, is that allowable – yes, what about an old Coke box? – no, so those are the issues that we're trying to walk through."

"It's certainly not going to be a fix-all," added Smith. "But it will certainly give us an opportunity where we can go knock on somebody's door and say 'hey, this is against the law', and give us that one tool to encourage people to clean up their property."

The city will review Monday night's public comment and some of that input may end up getting added to the ordinance, which will be on the agenda again at the next city council meeting on July 28th.

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