After much controversy, voters decided the property at Oldham Drive and Highway 71 in Bella Vista will remain zoned as residential.
"It certainly isn't residential property. It should be commercial property... The property owner could request rezoning to some commercial designation," said Councilman Earl Berdine.
Zoning the land as commercial fits the city's land use plan, but they cannot take action on the land without the owner's approval. Even if the property is rezoned in the future, it will not be any time soon.
"That land is virtually in a state of limbo for at least a year, probably more... The owner comes back to the planning commission/council and asks for a rezoning and then we go through the whole process again," said Councilman Doug Farner.
The process started in June, when Walmart announced plans to develop on the property and the city council voted to zone the land as commercial. Many in the community, however, did not support the rezoning and worked to gather signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.
"I really think they were against a big-box type store, even though it was to be a Neighborhood Market, not a full Walmart," said Farner.
For many, deciding whether to support the rezoning was largely based on a proposed traffic light. The State Highway and Transportation Department decided there was not enough traffic at the intersection to justify adding a light, and stated they would not approve the addition based on future projections. After plans for the signal fell through, Walmart backed out of its plans. Now, Farner believes the final zoning decision might hurt Bella Vista for years to come.
"We lost the possibility of the tax money from Walmart."
Others feel leaving the property zoned as residential or zoning it as a lesser commercial designation is the right decision, and are hoping small, local shops will build on the land in the far future. But, with all the commotion revolving around the recent commercial rezoning efforts, Farner is worried those smaller businesses might think twice before making a move.
"They're going to take a hard look at whether they want to come to Bella Vista."