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Oxford aldermen likely to zone newly annexed land

The city of Oxford grew by 30 acres toward the end of 2016 when the Lafayette County Chancery Court approved a request from developer David Blackburn to have the property brought into the city to help promote commercial business.

The 30 acres are located on the east side of Highway 7 where it meets with Highway 30, north of the residential neighborhoods of Oxford Commons.

Blackburn approached the Oxford Board of Aldermen in the spring, asking if they would consider annexing his property that is intended for a 430,000-square-foot proposed regional power center called, The Summit.

Blackburn said in May it would be easier to get businesses to commit to the new shopping center if it was located within the city, like restaurants, since the sale of alcohol is not allowed in the county.

The aldermen accepted Blackburn’s request and in November, the Chancery Court approved the annexation.

However, since it was located in Lafayette County originally, the land had no zoning.

On Tuesday, the aldermen will be considering a recommendation from the City Planning Department to zone the land General Business.

The city’s Land Development Code states that newly annexed land considered for zoning should be done so in accordance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

The future land use map within the recently adopted Vision 2037 Comprehensive Plan indicates suburban commercial development for this area.

The Planning Department recommends zoning the property to General Business; however, the zoning will likely change in the future.

“Since, however, the staff and our consultants are working on a substantial rewrite of the Land Development Code that will include changes to the zoning districts to better reflect the recommendations of the Vision 2037 Plan, this property will probably be included for a change of zoning (along with other properties) to better reflect that vision later this year,” states written comments from the planning staff.

The aldermen will review the request at their regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall in the upstairs courtroom.