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Council to examine septic ordinance

by Keith Bryant | February 17, 2021 at 5:27 a.m.

The Bella Vista City Council was slated to discuss an ordinance to require certain-sized septic systems for new construction based on the square footage of a home.

The work session was moved to Tuesday, Feb. 16, because of President's Day, meaning the meeting will happen after this paper has printed.

This ordinance was tabled in December and is expected to go to second reading during the Feb. 22 regular meeting.

The proposed ordinance would require a minimum two-person septic system for a 1,500 square-foot or smaller structure, a three-person minimum septic system on a structure between 1,500 square feet and 2,500 square feet, a four-person 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.

Former council member Linda Lloyd previously stated that this was introduced to help curb the development of homes with undersized septic systems. These houses are often built and permitted as a two-bedroom home, for example, only to be sold as a four-bedroom down the road, she said.

Community Development Services director Doug Tapp said in December that this is a serious problem for his department. An application might clearly have an undersized septic field, he explained, but if rooms aren't specifically labeled as bedrooms the department can't consider them, he explained.

Tapp said he feels like this is setting up future owners for an expensive failure.

The agenda also includes two rezoning requests, clarifications to the city code's definition of and requirements for a special event, appointments to the planning commission, vehicle purchases and a lease agreement for office space.

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