Vision 2037 meeting set for Tuesday

Published 12:00 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

The Vision 2037 document has been circulated for a couple of weeks and it’s now time for public hearings for residents to weigh in.

A hearing is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Oxford Conference Center where residents will receive comment cards and have an opportunity to view the plan and give opinions. Interested residents also can attend a special Planning Commission meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The Orion Planning Group was hired in March to create Vision 2037, a new comprehensive planning document that maps out the future of Oxford for the next 20 years and builds a guide to follow for best development and growth.

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Andrea Correll, Oxford’s director of planning, said this vision for Oxford is what is needed to stay ahead of the growing population curve, and it is “protecting everything” that makes Oxford unique.

“We did a projection and based on that projection we would be 62 percent multi-family, and so we took the wheel and said that’s not what we want,” she said. “We want to be 42 percent multi-family by 2037.”

The plan has four major components to keep Oxford the way residents and leaders want:

• Preservation of existing neighborhoods and the Courthouse Square.

• Greatly enhanced form and function of commercial areas.

• Frame the basic direction for expansion and align future development in those areas with Oxford’s adopted Guiding Principals.

• Align the remaining developable places with Oxford’s Planning Principles.

Correll said Vision 2037 is not a zoning document, but it does update land use maps. Bob Barber with the Orion Planning Group echoed Correll and said the plan ensures Oxford and its neighborhoods keep their character and charm.

“The plan is general and comprehensive in nature,” he said. “All areas of the city are designated as a specific place type, according to their existing character, or, in the case of new development areas, their projected future character. The built form of existing residential neighborhoods is to continue unchanged. No existing residential neighborhood is proposed to be converted, changed or otherwise altered in its essential character through the implementation of this plan. Existing built residential neighborhoods are to be preserved in accordance with Oxford’s Planning Principles.”

Correll said there are a few pages of the plan she sees where she would like some tweaks prior to implementation, so she knows others will spot some things too.

“We will be handing out comment cards and we would like them returned in a couple weeks so we can make changes to the plan so they can revise it further,” Correll said. “We are working with a draft, it’s not complete with a perfect document, so we truly are seeking constructive input.”

A second hearing will be held next month and the next step is official adoption of the document.

“We are expecting to have a handful of page changes and refinement and then will take it to the Planning Commission and Board of Aldermen in late October,” Correll said. “If it goes well we will consider adoption.”

Mayor Pat Patterson emphasized crucial details will be presented in the plan and also will come later and he wants Oxonians involved on Tuesday.

“It is very important for people to be there,” he said.