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Commercial annexation underway

While city leaders are reviewing possible areas to expand the city limits through annexation, they are moving forward with a developer’s request to take in about 35 acres slated for commercial development.

On Tuesday, during its regular meeting, the Oxford Board of Aldermen heard the first reading of a proposed annex ordinance for land north of the residential portion of Oxford Commons toward Highway 30.

Developer David Blackburn asked the board to annex the commercial property to help bring in more commercial businesses to the development dubbed The Summit at Oxford Commons. Some of the businesses Blackburn has communicated with will only agree to come into the new center if it’s inside the city limits.

“Whether it’s to receive city police, fire and other services or be under the city’s alcohol laws, whatever the reasons, these businesses need to be in the city to run their business,” said City Attorney Pope Mallette.

Earlier on Tuesday, Alderman Janice Antonow asked when more commercial businesses would be built in the Commons during discussions on whether to grant city water and sewer services to the next phase of Oxford

Commons.

“We really need some more commercial out there and away from Jackson Avenue, which is just packed,” she said. “Every time I drive down there, there’s another building going up.”

The board approved the request to provide the water and sewer.

Mallette told the board that Blackburn is willing to pay the expenses associated with the legal process to annex the 35 acres.

City officials contracted with Mike Slaughter of Slaughter and Associates earlier this year to examine Lafayette County for potential annexation sites that would be reasonable for the city to take in. The area north of Oxford Commons, which includes the parcel of land Blackburn would like to be annexed, has been identified as a strong possibility for annexation.

For the future

The Summit at Oxford Commons is proposed to have about 149,400 square feet of commercial retail space with five primary buildings and five out-parcels for sale with attendant features including utilities, site lighting, parking, driveways, a storm water retention pond and other features typical of a commercial development.

A second reading and public hearing will be held at the next Board of Aldermen meeting on June 7. The request will go before the Oxford Planning Commission in June, which will make a recommendation to the aldermen on whether to approve the request to annex.

If the aldermen vote at the third reading later in June to approve the annexation, the case will be set for trial before a Lafayette County chancery judge, with time for objectors to file their objections with the court.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved the preliminary plat for another 425 acres inside the Oxford Commons Planned United Development, which totals another 597 lots. However, the developer can only build another 50 homes until planners and city staff can review a traffic impact study and work on needed upgrades to the intersections near the development.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

– Approved a request for a stay of appeal from the American Campus Communities regarding the U-Club development. The Oxford Planning Commission denied the developer’s site plan last month and an appeal was filed. However, ACC has revised its site plan and requested they go back before the Planning Commission for reconsideration. If the commission denies the case again, the stay on the appeal would be lifted and the appeal process would begin again. If the commission approves the plans, the appeal would likely be dis- missed.

– Adopted retirement resolu- tions for Mary Bishop in the Human Resources Department, Tim Sockwell with the Oxford Police Department and Farry H. Norphlet from the Public Works Department.

– Approved advertising for game day shuttle service pro- posals.

– Approved amending the Land Development Code to remove “dry cleaner pick-up center” and add “professional office” to the Neighborhood Business zoning.

– Approved providing water and sewer to Fieldstone Farms subdivision, located on College Hill Road.

– Accepted maintenance of a road abutting Faulkner Flats, Ricky D. Britt Boulevard Extension, Fire Station No. 1 and the Emergency Operations Center.