City formalizes process to allow low impact developments

A new city code that allows innovative approaches to stormwater runoff passed the City Council unanimously Tuesday night.

Previously, developments that included low impact storm water management systems would go before city staff, but Fayetteville’s code lacked the process to permit those structures.

Low impact developments (LID) use systems, such as rain gardens and grass swales, to protect water quality. The new ordinance created a section in the development code that outlines permitting, installing and maintaining LIDs.

Developers have been bringing LID ideas forward, but “the city hasn’t been ready for that,” Council member Sarah Lewis said.

Lewis, who has a doctorate in environmental dynamics, worked in tandem with city staff to develop the new code.

“This is something that, really very few communities are around the country are doing,” Lewis said. “It really sets us a part.”

Also at the meeting, the council took the first official step to annex 99 acres of Johnson into Fayetteville’s city limits. A couple of weeks ago, the council expressed their intent to pursue the annexation. Now, the ball is in the city of Johnson’s court, City Attorney Kit Williams said. If everything goes according to plan, on June 13, the city of Johnson will address the issue at their council meeting, he said.

In other business, the council unanimously agreed to create form-based zoning districts. The ordinance creates three new zoning districts and modifications to the code would create a more predictable process for developers.

With existing zoning districts, “there are instances all over Fayetteville of neighborhoods that don’t have zoning that represents what is actually there,” Alderman Matthew Petty said. “These form-based codes just make sense,” he continued.

Mary Robbins is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She declared Fayetteville as her hometown upon moving here for college. She is a Journalism graduate who enjoys live music, the outdoors and attending city council meetings. For more of Mary’s contributions, visit her author page.