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New plan will lead city forward

Smart growth means having a plan supporting local communities and protecting the environment.

It means having housing near schools, jobs and small businesses. It means creating pockets of smaller communities throughout the city rather sprawling everything out from the one main business center.

That’s the aim of Oxford’s Vision 2037, the long-range plan that will guide the city’s growth forward. City leaders are commended for pushing this forward, beginning the effort in 2014, so that Oxford’s tomorrow has the same quaint, comfortable feel that makes it so attractive today.

The long process of updating Oxford’s plan for the first time since 2004 is almost over, and now becomes the hardest part: implementing the vision at City Hall.

Oxford Planning Commission member John Bradley noted upon presentation of the 2037 plan that Oxford needed more “teeth” in protecting its old Oxford existing neighborhoods. He’s right that our established neighborhoods need a watchdog for their integrity.

But the city’s current code has protections limiting occupants in single-home dwellings, for instance. What’s needed is more aggressive enforcement that keeps up with our fast-growth environment. These areas are places the city will have to invest more deeply in for the future since codes are no good if they are not properly enforced.