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Homeowner gets forgiveness COA for work already completed

Tyson Bridge sighed deeply and rubbed his eyes when the Oxford Historic Preservation Commission almost didn’t approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for an addition on his home at 503 Van Buren Ave. that was built four years ago.

A motion was made to approve the addition, as a “forgiveness COA,” but almost died for a lack of a second.

However, the commission instead voted to table the request until the end of Tuesday’s meeting, giving city planners time to dig up minutes from the HPC meeting where Bridge claimed he did receive approval.

City planners claim Bridge did appear before the HPC in 2012 and asked for a COA for a porch, to enclose the carport and replace a window. Bridge said when he was referring to the carport, he meant the entire cement slab that was turned into a bedroom.

Jack McKenzie, who has served on the commission for eight years, said he does not remember approving the new addition, nor did commissioner Camp Best; however, they said there was little they could do about it at this point. Many of the commissioners said, after looking at what was built, they would not have approved the addition.

Bridge apologized and said it was a misunderstanding and that the addition has been there for four years with no complaints from neighbors. A code enforcement officer discovered the lack of a COA on the addition recently.

“This is my home, not a rental unit,” he told the commission. “I’m truly sorry for any misunderstanding.”

The commission voted to grant the forgiveness COA on the condition Bridge submits a landscape plan to soften the look of the new addition. The motion passed 4 to 1 with two commissioners abstaining.

Also at the meeting Tuesday, the commission:

— Approved the COA for an amended garage plan for property located on Madison Avenue.

— Approved a sign for the Paul Chiniche Law Firm on Jefferson Avenue.

— Approved renovations to a home on Lincoln Avenue.

— Approved an amended COA to change the design of a window for property on South 10th Street.

— Approved renovations for a home on 425 N. 15th Street.