Enough Signatures For Bella Vista Zoning Vote

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The city's decision to zone land on Oldham Road and Highway 71 from residential to commercial has one group wanting the public to have the final input, which led to a petition.

Citizens for Responsible Development collected more 3,000 signatures, only 1,322 signatures are needed to put the issue before voters in November.

5NEWS attended a recent rezoning meeting

Group Spokesman, Tony Licausi says getting people to sign the petition wasn't hard.

“When you guys did your newscast I went out to get my paper the next morning at 6 a.m. and neighbors that don`t even get up until 9 a.m. and they were running down the street asking where they can sign the petition,” says Licausi.

City Councilman, Earl Berdine says the decision to rezone that land was made for a reason.

“If you`ve been by it at all you know that it`s not suitable for residential development, it`s commercial land is what it is,” adds Berdine.

But Licausi says the real issue is that the people's voices were not heard and city leaders didn't fully open it up for discussion.

“Just because they have gray hair and they are living here does not mean that they have completely lost their faculties and for a group of governmental body not to tap that resource in any way shape, form or fashion and listen to them, I think is a travesty,” says Licausi.

Walmart has presented plans for a Neighborhood Market at this site, but a decision has not been made.

But Berdine says whatever is built there will benefit the city, “If there is a commercial development in that area then it will bring some sales tax revenue to the city.”

The petition will be turned into the city clerk next Tuesday where the signatures will be verified.