Oxford Planning Commission denies hotel developer’s request

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Attorney Reed Martz wants to be able to look out his office window and not stare at a five-story hotel.

The Oxford Planning Commission granted him his wish Monday night when they denied a request from a developer to join two lots across from Martz’ office.

In 2006, a subdivision plat intended for a range of commercial uses was approved by the city of Oxford inside the Oxford Commons development, that consisted of seven lots of various sizes on 18 acres of land. In 2007, the plat was amended to nine lots.

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The subdivision is located on the south side of Sisk Avenue, across from Wendy’s fast food restaurant.

Thomas Crowson purchased two lots and filed a request to the Oxford Planning Commission to approve him combining the two lots into one larger lot to build a Hyatt hotel. There are already two hotels in Oxford Commons with a third under construction.

However, Mississippi law states that any change to the platted commercial subdivision requires all property owners who are adversely affected or directly interested be notified of the proposed change. If there is an objection, however, the commissioners could not approve the change.

Martz filed an objection to combining the lots, claiming he would be both adversely affected and directly interested if the lots were combined.

“If one large, five-story hotel was built, it would not only block my view, but there would be no hope that anyone on Sisk Avenue could see my office,” he told the commissioners. “If two tall buildings were built instead, there would still be that space between them where it would be possible for people to see my office.”

The other surrounding property owners did not object to the application to combine the lots.

Engineer Kevin McLeod, representing Crowson, pointed out that the commission was not considering any possible future project that may be built on the lot, but only whether the objectors would be adversely affected only by the two lots being joined.

However, the commission ruled that Martz, and the property owners of the building that houses the Freeland Martz law firm, would be adversely affected and directly interested if the two lots were combined, which resulted in the request to join having to be withdrawn.