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Planning Commission recommends rezoning near West Oxford Loop Extension

More changes could be coming to the land surrounding the West Oxford Loop extension.

The Lafayette County Planning Commission heard a rezoning request from Paul Koshenina of Precision Engineering on behalf of local developer Larry McAlexander. The request was regarding McAlexander’s Evergreens commercial subdivision.

Currently, the property is zoned for medium-density residential use. However, due to recent changes, Koshenina said his client is requesting the property be rezoned for medium density commercial use.

“This zoning request is reciprocated by the change in character of the area that we’ve seen out there, with the construction of a roadway, a major connector road that’s looping around the west side of town and creating a major corridor from the FNC Ballpark area into Oxford,” Koshenina said. “We can clearly show a change in the character of the area, and also feel that there’s a real need for some commercial use that can serve the area out there, including the park and any future residential development that’s likely coming faster and faster with the construction of the roadway.”

County building inspector Joel Hollowell said he agreed with McAlexander’s request, but pointed out that the planners had a difficult time deciding how to zone the property in question during the first discussions of zoning in the county. McAlexander had his own master plan that was presented prior to zoning, and it left the planners with a quandary. To remedy this, the county included McAlexander’s master plan in its future land use map.

The property is also included in the proposed annexation map for the city of Oxford, and Hollowell said that added another level of complexity to the issue. 

Commissioner T.J. Ray pointed out that, in his opinion, the rezoning discussion could have been avoided long before Monday’s meeting.

“Had we approved [McAlexander’s] master plan when it was first presented, none of this would be having to happen because it would have been grandfathered in, dang it,” Ray said.

In the interest of avoiding a “revolving door,” as Ray said, the planning commission gave its recommendation for the rezoning request to be moved to the Board of Supervisors for approval. In addition, the Board of Supervisors will need to discuss amending the future land use map to reflect any changes approved.