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Chancellor’s House works on final details

Developers of the new Chancellor’s House boutique hotel left Monday’s Courthouse Square Historic Preservation Commission meeting with approvals on about half of the items presented for consideration of a Certificate of Appropriateness.

However, one of the items not approved was their choice of brick for the exterior, which project manager Tom Stone said could delay the hotel’s opening.

“We have to get started with the brick soon,” he said Monday. “If we don’t, we could miss our window to be open by the Alabama game and we’re booked already for that weekend.”

The 31-suite luxury hotel has been under construction for over a year. When the site plan was first approved, the Historic Preservation Commission instructed developers to come back with details on signs, lights, masonry, landscaping and other materials and details.

On Monday, Stone presented the hotel’s plans for windows, awnings, lights, signage, fence and railing materials, plans for a gazebo and landscaping.

After more than an hour of discussion, the commission approved the windows, signs, awnings and lights. They denied the gazebo, which was planned to go in front of the hotel.

Stone said many mothers of brides will be disappointed.

“We had weddings booked already with plans to use the gazebo,” he told the commission.

But the commission members said the gazebo was too large for the small courtyard.

Stone also presented a sample of the brick, which was crafted to appear aged.

Commission member Tom Howorth said when brick looks like the sample presented it’s generally because it’s been sandblasted to remove paint.

The commission suggested using a brick that would match most of the other facades on the Square, and that was a bit more uniform in color and pattern.

The commissioners also asked planners to redesign the fence around the front to be shorter. It was proposed at over 4 feet as presented and the commission recommended it to sit about 36 inches.

The next commission meeting is June 6, but it’s too late to get items on the agenda for that meeting. Stone said he is concerned that waiting until July will be too late for the hotel to open in August.

The commission voted to recess Monday’s meeting rather than close it, allowing the representatives from Chancellor’s House to come back in about two weeks with new selections for the brick and make other recom- mended changes.

Parking lot denied

Another proposed hotel had plans denied by the commission Monday.

Plans for a three-story boutique hotel on Jefferson Avenue were originally approved in 2010, however the developer said financial restraints stalled the project. A Certificate of Appropriateness is good for one year. The Courthouse Square commission denied a request to renew the COA for the parking lot that would be located on the south side of Jefferson Avenue.

The parking lot falls under the Courthouse Square commission since it’s adjoining the Square, while the hotel across the street falls under the HPC district since it’s located in the residential area.

Commissioner Bill Turner made a motion to approve the COA request but it died due to a lack of a second to the motion.

The developers could appeal the commission’s decision to the Oxford Board of Aldermen.