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Building plans for Shaw property approved

The Oxford Historic Preservation Commission approved building plans for the first two homes to be built near the historic Shaw house.

Developer Sid Brian purchased the historic 1800’s home and the five acres surrounding it about two years ago. He agreed to restore the Shaw house and divided the property up into a four-lot subdivision with the first lot being the Shaw house.

The second lot, known as Kennedy Cove, will consist of four custom homes. Shaw Place will consist of six custom homes. The last lot will have one single-family home on 1.5 acres of property.

On Tuesday, architect Mike Thompson presented plans for two homes, one in Kennedy Cove and one in Shaw Place. Both homes are about 6,000 square feet of living space and have a Greek revival-style.

After some discussion on materials and massing, the commission granted both homes a Certificate of Appropriateness.

In August, the commission appointed three commissioners to form a subcommittee to review the city’s COA application and decide whether or not additional requirements needed to be added to the application and possibly the Design Guidelines upon which the commission bases its decisions.

“We went to an ethics seminar last week which pretty much scared everyone to death,” said Chairman Brian Hyneman. “They are advising commissions to steer away from subcommittees and keep everything in the open.”

The commission considered adding the verbiage last month after reviewing several incomplete applications in recent months. The idea is to have a better insight in what a homeowner or developer has planned for a home in one of Oxford’s historic preservation districts.

According to the city’s Design Guidelines, applications for new construction, additions to existing structures, restoration or rehabilitation of an existing home or structure inside one of the historic districts must include a set of plans and drawings showing all exterior elections proposed for the structure. It also needs to include overall dimensions, type of materials to be used on walls, roofs, windows, trim and siding.

The site plan should indicate property lines, setbacks, location of the structure or proposed location of a new structure, accessory building, parking facilities, exterior lighting, fencing, landscaping and screening for utilities. The application must include photographs of the existing structure, or, if new construction, a photograph of the lot and the adjoining structures.

However, the current application does not include wording that tells the person filling for a COA what all needs to be included.

Hyneman said he wanted to be careful to not over-regulate.

“We don’t want to send someone to seek professional guidance to just pour a foundation for a patio,” he said.

The commissioners decided to review the guidelines and bring back suggestions at the commission’s next meeting in October.