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City tries to stay ‘green’

Proposed changes to the city’s Landscaping Ordinance aim to update “antiquated” language and keep Oxford as green as possible as development continues around the growing city.

The Oxford Planning Department and the Tree Board have had some concerns about some of the requirements in the ordinance and came together to address those concerns and update the language.

“Some of the language is antiquated, some is incomplete and some is inadequate,” said City Planner Judy Daniel Tuesday at the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting. “The proposed changes will update the ordinance to better serve the public and the intent of the standards.”

Daniel read the proposed changes and ordinance for a first reading Tuesday.

The name of the ordinance, which is now simply, Landscaping Ordinance, would be changed to the Landscaping and Tree Protection Ordinance.

“Because that’s really the intention of the ordinance,” Daniel said.

The requirements have been expanded to include subdivisions as well as site plans and would be applicable and required for all sites over 12,000-square feet, where currently, only those developing more than 1 acre had to comply with the ordinance.

Developers would be required to have the landscaping plan done by a licensed landscape designer, landscape architect or certified arborist.

Currently, landowners or developers pay a surety bond of $1 per square foot of required landscaping. The new ordinance ups the amount to $3 per square foot and requires the payment before a temporary certificate of occupancy is requested.

The words “vehicular use area,” will be replaced with “parking lot.”

Expanding regulations

The new Landscaping and Tree Preservation Ordinances expands the scope of regulations related to the removal of trees without prior authorization. It clarifies that a Tree Survey is almost always required before trees are removed and that developments outside of the city, but seeking water and/or sewer services from the city, must comply with the ordinance and that land annexed into the city will have 12 months to comply after annexation.

A public hearing will be held on the proposed changes during the Jan. 3 Board of Aldermen meeting.

The entire ordinance can be reviewed online at oxfordms.net or by calling the Planning Department at 662-232-2305.