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Aldermen OK new zoning district

Developers now have a new option when developing large areas of property to create diverse places rather than just one type of development.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved adding a new zoning district, Traditional Neighborhood Development, which follows and is shaped by the recommendations of the Vision 2037 Comprehensive Plan adopted in August.

The intent of the new zoning district is to create more “places.” It’s for parcels of land 30 to 100 acres in size.

A TND is intended to “primary serve the residential needs of urban areas and has an overall higher residential density than suburban residential subdivisions.” There’s a wider variety of housing types – from size to affordability, with higher density housing closer to the center and the lower density, single-family homes toward the edges of the neighborhood.

There should be a business center that provides 30,000-square feet for services, civic and retail uses with the potential for upper floor housing. There should be parks, schools, or other public features that are easily accessible on foot or by bicycle.

In a TND, buildings are to be close to the street at a “human scale with wide tree-lined sidewalks that include space for outdoor uses such as café seating or sales tables.

Parking for vehicles is on street or in parking lots or garages that are primarily behind or underneath buildings. Unlike single-zoned developments, a TND is intended to provide for an entire neighborhood that includes mixed-uses, single-family homes with roads, sidewalks and green spaces. Developers will submit a Master Regulating Plan that will include topographic survey, stormwater drainage plan, layout and location of streets and public open spaces and parking areas, location of commercial, mixed-use and civic building lots, densities of buildings by types, setbacks, architectural renderings, covenants, tree survey inventory and plan, landscape plan, scaled drawing of the site and more.

A TND request will go before the Site Plan Review Committee before going before the Oxford Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen whether to approve the TND. If approved, the developer will have two years to begin construction.

The TND zoning will be the first of the new type of zoning districts that are coming down the road in Oxford to fit with the Vision 2037 plan.

The plan also includes triggers for the development of each building type. For example, a certain amount of commercial space needs to be built before additional housing can be built.

The plan sets minimums and maximums for types of development. Single-family detached and attached homes should make up 25 to 50 percent of the development. Retail can be 2.5 to 20 percent of the plan and multi-family dwellings can be 5 to 15 percent of the plan. A developer must include enough parks and open spaces to be 10 percent of the overall plan but there’s no maximum in the amount of open space allowed.

Single-family attached dwellings have a maximum density of 12 per acre, while single-family detached homes have a 6-per acre maximum density. Multi-family dwellings can have 22 dwellings per acre and be no more than three stories.