Oxford Board of Aldermen approve first Traditional Neighborhood Development

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A developer seeking to rezone 49 acres to become Oxford’s first Traditional Neighborhood Development was granted his request Tuesday by the Oxford Board of Aldermen.

The board voted 5 to 1 to approve the rezoning request by Mac Monteith who is planning on building a multiuse development on property located between North Lamar Boulevard and Chickasaw Road.

Aldermen John Morgan was not at Tuesday’s meeting; however, Mayor Pat Patterson read a letter from Morgan that said if he was there, he would have voted in favor of the rezoning.

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Aldermen Ulysses “Coach” Howell was the dissenting vote. He said the development would forever change the nearby Chickasaw/Cherokee/Vivian neighborhood.

“I’m not against progress, but I’m concerned about the traffic increasing in those neighborhoods,” he said at the meeting. “That neighborhood will never be the same.”

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

Future site plans and specific details will be considered by the city’s planning department, the Oxford Planning Commission and in some instances, the Board of Aldermen.

During a public hearing two weeks ago, Monteith said the multiuse development will be built in phases over the next 10 or more years.

The recently adopted Vision 2037 Comprehensive Plan recommends the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning at this location.

The new proposed development, The Lamar Town Center, 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. When completely built out, there is the potential for about 1,000 residents to live in various housing options which include single-family attached and detached homes and condominiums and townhouses.

The majority of the aldermen found that there has been a change to the character of the neighborhood and a public need for the new zoning, which is a required finding by state law before a rezoning can be granted.

In previous meetings, residents living close to the proposed development voiced concerns about the density, increased traffic and erosion and storm water runoff.

While Tuesday’s meeting was not a public hearing, the aldermen spent about an hour asking city staff questions in regards to storm water systems and enforcement, mosquito control and parking for the multifamily units planned for the development.

Assistant City Engineer Reanna Mayoral told the aldermen the city updated its stormwater and erosion ordinances in 2014, which are more strict now than before the updates.

“The city has taken several steps to help with storm water and silt runoff,” she said. “In Oxford, we can get 3 inches of rain in 30 minutes. Our ordinances now address that. Contractors are now required to have a certified engineer sign off on their stormwater systems that they are built correctly.”

Monteith said he and his partner, Todd Paine, are grateful for the aldermen’s support.

“We look forward to bringing a new, exciting community that will embrace the Oxford way of life,” he said after the meeting. “The Lamar will be a shopping and dining destination as well as a home for families and individuals.”