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Board of Aldermen deny First Baptist Church parking lot

Aldermen vote 4-2 to deny FBC appeal, want to keep historic neighborhood intact

The Oxford Board of Aldermen denied an appeal from the First Baptist Church to overturn denied parking lot plans on Tuesday, with some members saying the parking lot would affect the surrounding neighborhood.

The Oxford Planning Commission originally denied the plans in September, however representatives from the church argued First Baptist needed a parking lot, as it was also part of the neighborhood.

After hearing from Jeff Williams, who represented First Baptist Church, and the Historical Preservation Commission, Alderman Ulysses Howell moved to overturn the denial. Alderman Mark Huelse seconded that motion.

When Oxford mayor Robyn Tannehill turned to a vote, Huelse and Howell were outnumbered four to two to deny the appeal.

Alderman Janice Antonow was the most vocal alderman against the lot, as she vehemently opposed overturning the denial. Antonow said that building a lot will change the area, and she wants to preserve the neighborhood.

Sarah Frances Hardy, representing the Historical Preservation Commission, argued that a parking lot would take away from a historic part of Oxford.

“We don’t want people tearing down a residential historic home, and replacing it with a parking lot,” Hardy said at the meeting. “That to me, is a basic thing that we’re charged to do. To protect the historic neighborhoods.”

Huelse, commenting after seconding Howell’s motion, said the area around the First Baptist Church is in an area that is transitioning from a traditional neighborhood business area to traditional neighborhood residential area.