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Emergency gate allowed in Grand Oaks; Cedar Bend final plat OK’d by planning commission

By Alyssa Schnugg

alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com

Residents living along Fazio Drive in The Grove of Grand Oaks pleaded with the Oxford Planning Commission Thursday to allow a gate to prevent cut-through traffic despite it being against city code.

It worked.

The commission approved the gate 4 to 2 after a lengthy discussion; however, approved it only to be open to emergency vehicles and not allow residents to have a card to activate the gate.

“I couldn’t support allowing Grand Oaks residents to use it and no one else can,” said Commissioner Mark Huelse. “But if it’s accessible by emergency vehicles only, then I can.”

Fazio Drive ends at Palmer Drive, which ends at Bell River Road.

Developer Larry Britt told the commission he feared without the gate, too many cars would use the road to cut through to Highway 7, increasing traffic to a dangerous level on the neighborhood road. Emergency vehicles would have access to open the gate.

City not in favor of gate

Planning officials said the city does not support gates on public streets since the public pays for the roads through taxes.

“Allowing a gated entry to a large subdivision would be contrary to the Guiding Principles for the city of Oxford, adopted into the Land Development Code following the 1999 Vision 2020 Plan and reaffirmed in 2016 with Vision 2037,” said City Planner Judy Daniel.

Joe Bishop, a resident along Fazio and an Oxford police officer, told the commission he sees the need for the gate both as a resident and an officer.

“The road is not designed for high traffic,” he said. “We have about 30 kids living there. People will use this as a shortcut and not look at it as a neighborhood.”

Cedar Bend approved

After working with city staff on how to best preserve the trees in the proposed Cedar Bend development, the commission approved the final plat for phase one, which consists of four lots near the historic Jacob Thompson home off Old Taylor Road.

Earlier this month, the Howorth family, which owns the land, gained approval for the preliminary plat by the Oxford Board of Aldermen; however, there were concerns regarding the trees on the property and whether sidewalks would damage the trees closer to the road.

On Monday, during the review of the final plat, it was noted the developers will seek a revocable license from the city of Oxford to located storm water detention systems on the right-of-way, which would avoid the need to cut down several large cedar and oak trees. The city also determined that other than the possibility of one small tree, no other trees would have to be removed or should be damaged by the placement of a sidewalk.

The commission approved the final plat unanimously.

In other business Thursday, the commission:

•Approved a request from Eastwood properties for a variance from the storm water storage capacity ordinance

•Denied a request from Kenlan Development to combine three lots in Oxford Commons due to objections from adjacent property owners who claim they would be negatively affected by the plat change.

•Denied a request from Rebel Hospitality LLC to combine two lots inside the Oxford Commons development due to failing to gain letters of support from adjoining lot owners.

•Approved the final plat for County Club Subdivision Phase 1 on Colonial Road.

•Approved a site plan amendment for Tru Hotel on Oxford Commons Boulevard. The hotel requested the change to reduce the number of rooms from 121 to 110 and the number of parking spaces from 134 to 121.

•Approved a request from Walker & Walker Enterprises to provide sewer services for Old Oaks development located outside the city limits off County Roads 217 and 238.