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Aldermen to consider amendment for storm-water retention structures

When developers wanted to put a storm-water retention pond on the front of their property, they needed a variance by the Oxford Planning Commission since the city ordinance classified storm-water retention structures in the same category as any “structure.”

City code does not allow for accessory structures to be built on the front of homes.

“When I became your city planner I was told to interpret the codes literally,” said City Planner Andrea Correll Tuesday during the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting.

Correll said a storm-water retention structure should be designed and located where an engineer feels is the best place and not dictated by setbacks.

“The purpose of adding an exception for storm water structures in a front yard is the location of a required storm water structure or pond should be determined on a case-by-case basis by a licensed engineer,” Correll wrote to the aldermen in the proposed ordinance change.

The change would add verbiage that would exempt storm water structures from Section 126.05 of the city’s code that states no accessory building or structures could be built on a front yard.

The change would allow engineers to consider using ponds versus underground structures if the best place for retention would be in the front of the development.

“Are we going to see storm water retention ponds in front of people’s houses?” asked Mayor Pat Patterson.

Correll said it would mainly affect commercial and industrial businesses and larger developments.

Alderman Janice Antonow asked if a pond recently located in front of Oxford Farms off South Lamar Boulevard is going to be a retention pond.

City Engineer Bart Robinson said it would eventually be a retention pond for the development.

“That’s great,” she said. “It’s already attracting geese and ducks.”

Tuesday was the first hearing of the ordinance change. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. and then the aldermen will vote on whether to approve the change on Nov. 17.