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Public hearing tonight on proposed Landscaping Ordinance

A public hearing will be held tonight at City Hall during the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting to discuss proposed changes to the city’s Landscaping Ordinance aimed at updating language and implementing new regulations to keep Oxford’s tree canopy as lush as possible while the city continues to grow.

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. They felt some of the language was antiquated, incomplete and inadequate, according to City Planner Judy Daniel.

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

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.”

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.

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