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New zoning code, map near final approval stage from Oxford Planning Commission

After several public meetings and work session, the Oxford Planning Commission spent an hour going over some last minute tweaks to the proposed zoning map and Land Development Code Monday before voting to recommend their approval to the Oxford Board of Aldermen.

Several versions and suggested changes to the new proposed zoning map and codes have been reviewed and discussed over the summer months by the public, the Oxford Planning Department, Planning Commission and the Board of Aldermen.

The commission Monday took up discussion on some last minute suggestions made at their more recent public meetings and throughout the summer by residents and developers and voted whether or not to support the suggested changes.

On the original zoning map, the area near at the southwest and northwest quadrants of the intersection of University Avenue and Highway 7 is listed as being an Urban Center, which allows for higher density and building heights. However, commissioners agreed that because of a number of traffic issues surrounding that area, the properties would be better suited for a Suburban Center zoning. Commissioners said that if conditions approved and a second access was created off Highway 6 or 7, the higher density could then be considered.

The property owner of the shopping center on the corner of University Avenue and Bramlett Boulevard, or the “old Blockbuster” building, asked to have the land changed from having a Suburban Center zoning to the higher-density Urban Center. Six out of seven commissions said they didn’t support the change, with Commissioner Marvin King the dissenting vote. The new map also shows the property being removed from the Conservation District Overlay, which generally focuses on residential areas; however, five of the seven commissions agreed it should remain in the district, with King and Commissioner JR Rigby dissenting.

The commission also supported several other map changes that included changing a portion of property owned by the Oxford University School in the Grand Oaks planned unit development from the proposed underlying zoning of Suburban Residential to Suburban Multi-Family with the northern leg to remain SR zoning; changing properties with direct access to a segment of North 11th Street from Traditional Neighborhood Residential to Traditional Suburban Residential zoning; and changing the zoning for property off the south end of Ricky Britt Boulevard from Neighborhood Residential to Suburban Multi-Family.

The commission did not support requests to change property on Chickasaw Street from the proposed Traditional Suburban Residential zoning to Traditional Neighborhood Business nor a request to change property along County Road 300 from Neighborhood Residential to Suburban Multi-Family District.

Most of Monday’s discussion focused on a request to change the proposed zoning on property east of the Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center near where the future West Oxford Loop Extension is being built from Traditional Neighborhood Business. The property is currently zoned Professional Business. After discussions with Woodlawn homeowners, the planning department proposed a new Legacy Traditional Neighborhood Business overlay that would restrict several types of businesses like drive-thru businesses, taverns and service stations.

However, a majority of the commission felt that the Legacy overlay should be removed and the zoning remain Traditional Neighborhood Business with a restriction on gas stations being allowed if the property adjoins homes in Residential Estate zoning. Commissioner Duncan Gray was the dissenting vote, wanting to keep the more restrictive Legacy overlay.

The TNB districts allow for uses like restaurants, service stations and grocery stores by special exception that would have to be granted by the Planning Commission and Board of Aldermen.

The first reading of the final draft of the Zoning Map and Land Development Code will be heard at the Oct. 17th Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting with another public hearing slated before the aldermen at 5 p.m. on Nov. 7.

 

In other business Monday, the commission:

  • Approved variance request from road width and right-of-way width for The Lamar Phase II and approved the preliminary plat for the development west of North Lamar Boulevard.
  • Approved an amended final plat for Woodland Hills subdivision to combine lots No. 51, 52, 55 and 56, and a fraction of lots No. 60 and 61.
  • Approved an amended final plat for Hathorn‘s University Hill subdivision Church Street.