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Oxford Board of Aldermen Approve Retirement, Deny Rezoning

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Yesterday, the Board of Aldermen approved retirements for Oxford police department’s Deputy Chief James Owens and Oxford Fire Department’s Battalion Commander Donnell Bell. The board also voted against a rezoning of 42 acres on Anderson Road from RA (agriculture; single family housing) to RC (multi-unit housing).

Jay Hughes, Ward 1 Alderman, said, “Oxford lost over 50 years of leadership experience with the retirement of these two gentlemen. Shoes are always difficult to fill, but these will be tall orders.”

In the third reading of the Rezoning Case No. 1966, The Board of Aldermen made a vote against the applicant’s, Sharon Harvey Davis & Fountain Residential Partners, request of rezoning of the 42 acres located at 2100 block Anderson Road. The Planning Commission recommended denial of this request, and its director strongly recommended this.

Andrea Correll, the director of the Planning Commission, listed five reasons for her recommendation to deny the rezoning. Among the reasons listed in this document, she stated that the applicant has failed to prove the public need or change to justify the rezoning. She also stated that the Orion Group, Vision 2037 consultants, analyzed that the current supply of multi-unit housing and approved property exceeded the growth demand for the next five years. The Vision 2037 consultants, the Orion Group, also recommended against the rezoning.

The applicant then asked Tannehill and Alderman Hughes to recuse themselves from voting.

Hughes said, “We both eloquently declined. What matters is the quality of character of Oxford and what makes it unique. Fairness and equity are the guiding principles. Rezoning is a legislative discretion of the Board, not a requirement.”

The applicant then made a motion to rezone, which got a second from Ulysses “Coach” Howell, Ward IV Alderman. The board voted 5-2, thus denying this motion.

Hughes reported that the Moratorium Consideration will be discussed today at 1 p.m. The Orion Group has two months before showing analysis, plans and recommendations on Oxford’s projected growth.

He said, “The moratorium was recently rejected, as we tried to evaluate projects on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately this has resulted in contentious efforts, personal attacks, threats of litigation and developers spending a lot of money on speculation.”

At this meeting today, the meeting’s agenda will include consideration of the moratorium on rezoning until the completion of Vision 2037 Plan.

Mayor Patterson reported the budget process is “in full swing, and will hopefully conclude tomorrow.” He said the Oxford Reserve & Trust Fund will make its annual disbursement of $800,000 to the budget for a total drawn in the last three years of $2.4 million.

Mayor Patterson said, “There is still a balance in the protected fund of $34 million +/-.”

He said the Columbarim is almost ready to start accepting reservations, and warned to stay away from South Lamar this week as it undergoes a repaving project.

For more information on the meetings, the Board of Aldermen can be contacted and the minutes accessed at the city government website.


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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