A Hindsville City Council member Monday night spoke out against a proposed ordinance that would target unsightly dwellings and properties in the town.
Mayor Stephanie Casey presented the proposal, which was based on ordinances from the Arkansas Municipal League and the City of Huntsville.
Two residences – one east of the post office and the other north of A.T. Smith’s Mercantile on Main Street – are the primary focus of the council’s attention.
Councilor Jerry McCollough said he was strongly opposed to the ordinance.
“A long time ago, 20-30 years ago, when we got this thing going again, we did so for the reason being that we didn’t want Huntsville’s rules, we didn’t want Fayetteville’s rules, we didn’t want Springdale’s rules. We wanted Hindsville to be more or less like it was,” he said about the council.
“Once you start imposing ordinances on people, pretty soon you’re going to have building codes on people. You can’t build a chicken house in your back yard without getting a permit.”
Casey on Dec. 2 said comments about the two dwellings – including one that is a camper shell – have come from a variety of people.
Hindsville does not have an ordinance to deal with trash, littering or other issues. Casey was told that Madison County can not deal with those at the dwellings because they are within the town limits of Hindsville.
Treasurer Whitney Wilson read the ordinance Monday before McCollough’s comments. The ordinance would require premises “to be kept free from weeds, rank grass, garbage, rubbish and other unsightly and unsanitary articles.” It also would require property owners to “eliminate, fill up or remove stagnant pools of water on any other unsanitary thing, place or condition which might become a breeding place for mosquitoes, flies and germs harmful to the health of the community.”
“I’m not for all that,” McCollough said. “If I wanted to live in Huntsville, I’d move. If I wanted to live in Springdale or Fayetteville, I’d do the same. I don’t and that’s the reason I live in Hindsville, because I like it as it is.”
One other councilor said he agreed with McCollough, who said an ordinance would not force one of the property dwellers to clean up his property.
“To me it would make more sense to have a couple of cleanup days than it would to pass ordinances that’s not going to get enforced,” McCollough said.
“It don’t matter if J. Edgar Hoover came down here and told him he’s going to have to clean it up. He wouldn’t do any more than if I went down and told him,” McCollough said. Hoover was the first director of the FBI.
“I think it looks bad, I ain’t saying that,” McCollough said. “But I’d rather try to help him.” McCollough added, “I’m sorry, I guess I don’t feel right at all about doing it. I don’t feel like it would be the Christian thing to do.”
The proposed ordinance will have a second reading at the council’s next meeting, which is not scheduled at this time.