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Neighbors in south Tulsa take on city hall over proposed zoning change

There's a controversy brewing between some 500 neighbors and a Tulsa bank that wants to get a residential area zoned for commercial use.

The land at issue is on the southwest corner of 71st and Harvard. News on 6 anchor Lori Fullbright talked to some of the neighbors who are fighting the plan, she has their story. "It’s important to show up and let the planning and zoning people know how we feel, that we're opposed to it and will stand strong together." Mona Miller marshals her troops for an upcoming battle with city hall over rezoning this corner from residential to commercial. She says more than 500 neighbors have signed petitions opposing the plan by F&M Bank to put a bank and two, one-story office buildings there.

Dean Mandlebaum, concerned neighbor: "F&M bought this property knowing full well it was residential and knowing full well they would have to change the zoning." Neighbors say the development would devalue their property values because it would add to the 50,000 cars that already come through the nearby intersection every day, create more noise and add to a serious water run off problem that already plagues nearby neighborhoods.

F&M Bank would only tell us they think a bank is a good use for this property and would be good for the city. But they don't think it's appropriate to comment until after the Planning and Zoning Commission makes its decision on Wednesday.

The neighbors are commenting plenty, about promises the city's made when 71st was widened and their fear that if one corner goes commercial, the others will surely follow. Steve Denney, concerned neighbor: "When the TMAC backed by the council goes commercial, it's only a matter of time before it all goes and I believe that's what will happen here."

Janet Hasegawa, concerned neighbor: "Everything around her is residential. This is a classic example of spot zoning. Part of the comprehensive plan is for this to remain residential, period.”

The neighbors make it clear it's not F&M they're against, simply any plan to put a commercial development in the middle of their homes.

The planning and zoning meeting is Wednesday at 1:30PM in the city council chambers. Tulsa's city council will have the final say.
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