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Oxford’s first Traditional Neighborhood Development approved by the Oxford Planning Commission

Two local developers have gained approval for the city’s first Traditional Neighborhood Development from the Oxford Planning Commission.

Developers Todd Payne and Mac Monteith said the multi-use development will be built in phases over the next 10 or more years.

Located on about 49 acres between North Lamar Boulevard and Chickasaw Road, the property is mostly vacant, although portions closer to North Lamar were once occupied by Britt Mobile Homes.

City Planner Judy Daniel told the commission the recently adopted Vision 2037 Comprehensive Plan recommends the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning at this location.

First of its kind in Oxford

The Lamar Town Center, which is currently being called, is being planned to create a community of businesses, restaurants, and retail shops opening to tree lined streets and open space areas — green and plazas. The Town Center will feature upper floor office or residential uses in many buildings, and eventually lodging options and a grocery store. There will also be some “live/work” units, with the two first floors designed for offices or small retail businesses, and upper floor living areas.

Beyond the Town Center, there will be neighborhoods of detached and attached dwellings and multifamily areas. Closer to the Town Center will be more traditional multifamily structures; while adjoining the neighborhoods of detached dwellings will be smaller attached dwellings of no more than four units per structure, and “mansion houses” at the scale of large detached dwellings, but which house no more than 6 to 12 units. Many of the attached homes are being designed to face a green courtyard, with rear auto access.

“Over time, it would become a wonderful neighborhood,” Daniel told the commission. “A fun place to work, live and place that would be accessible to buses and major roads.”

The area is currently zoned Single Family Residential, Residential Estate, and General Business.

Daniel said as each phase is developed, the developers would have to come back before the Planning Commission to review roads, ingress and egress options, style of the structures and the complete site plan.

Several residents living in the area came out to oppose the zoning change and three spoke at the meeting, saying they didn’t have enough details about the project and cited concerns about increased traffic along North Lamar and Chickasaw.

Some of the commissioners also had concerns about the amount of traffic that the new development will create over time, as there could be 1,000 people living there when it’s complete.

Commissioner John Bradley said it’s time for the city to “step up” and evaluate North Lamar and make whatever improvements are necessary on the boulevard – not just for this project but for the future growth along all of North Lamar, in an effort to avoid traffic issues like on South Lamar Boulevard and Sisk Avenue in the Oxford Commons development.

“The city has to take the approach to planning ahead and not lag behind,” Bradley said.

Bradley said he could not vote in support of the TND rezoning since he hasn’t seen a change in the neighborhood, which is one of the requirements to prove when requesting a rezoning change.

Daniel said the change has occurred in the surrounding area, including North Lamar and Molly Barr Road.

The commission voted to approve the rezoning 3 to 2, with Commissioner Duncan Gray abstained from voting.

The zoning request will go before the Oxford Board of Aldermen for their final approval at a future public meeting.