City Council members tabled a decision on a zoning change that could affect multiple residents after a spirited debate erupted during Tuesday's council meeting.

During a public hearing, two residents said they had no prior knowledge of the potential plan to rezone a nearby piece of land from residential to a commercial and restricted professional and office district.

Part of the plan would also lead to the construction of a road connecting Windover Lane to Lynch Drive so vehicles could access the commercial property more efficiently.

“I live on 202 Bedford. My fence backs up to that pasture, I'm just concerned with what's going to be there in our backyard,” Corey Allen said.

Allen said when she was considering purchasing a house in Bullard, she had looked at many houses  and even avoided homes near commercial properties.

“I like my cows back there. They're very peaceful,” she said.

Legacy Estates resident Wes McClure said he is concerned zoning the nearby property to commercial will result in decreased property values, as well as safety issues raised by increasing traffic in the kid-friendly neighborhood.

City Manager Larry Morgan said the Planning and Zoning committee created a 280-foot buffer zone that would be zoned as residential to prevent businesses from getting too close to homes in the neighborhood.

“That's almost a football field,” Morgan said.

McClure said no one in the neighborhood knew about the potential decision to rezone the property.

City Secretary Doris Crockett said state law requires the city to notify residents living within a 200-foot radius of the potential zone change, but residents in this case lived 280 feet outside of the property.

Tom Roper, who was representing the individual selling the land, said just because a zoning change may be implemented, it doesn't necessarily follow that a business will set up shop on the property. As for notifying residents, “we are in accordance with the law,” he said.

Councilman Brent Ratekin, who lives in the area, said although nearby residents are not within a 200 foot radius, up to 60 could be affected by the change.

“You have complied with the law, I concur with that,” he said.  “But this is about the intention of the law.”

The item was tabled until residents could be notified on the zone change and more information could be produced for the council's consideration.

The council also approved BEDCO's yearly budget.

“We've been very conservative, not knowing what the economy holds,” council member and BEDCO President Shirley Coe said.

She said BEDCO estimated an expected $80,000 in tax revenues for the fiscal year and is conservative enough in expenditures to allow for surplus.

The council also decided to look into the costs and benefits of purchasing iPads for council members.

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