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Public Hearing on Downtown District set for 10 a.m. Monday at Oxford Conference Center

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer

After a lengthy albeit productive public hearing earlier this month on the city’s proposal to create a Downtown District, the Oxford Board of Aldermen and Oxford Police Department are holding another public hearing to continue getting input from restaurant and bar owners.

To accommodate business owners, the meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday. To accommodate more people than City Hall, it will be held at the Oxford Conference Center.
We have heard from many and have made changes as a result,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “Our goal is to work with our bars and restaurants to keep Oxford the best place to live, work and play in America. Please join us as we seek input that will allow us to have the most effective ordinance possible.”
When the first reading of the ordinance came out, the Downtown District was defined as small area on the west side of the Square, including restaurants on the south-side of Jackson Avenue East to South 10th Street then proceeding south to the north side of Van Buren Avenue then east along Van Buren Avenue to South Lamar Boulevard to include businesses on the north side of Van Buren.
Since the second reading and public hearing on June 19, the original ordinance has been changed to offer aldermen three options: Keep the boundary for the district as originally posted; expand the district for the entire Square – from Chevron to Chevron and from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to City Hall; or to include all restaurants serving alcohol inside the city limits.
What hasn’t changed is requirements for extra security on site, businesses working with OPD to form a safety plan, the use of security cameras inside the establishments and the use of age verification scanners.
However, a clause was added to the ordinance under the use of ID scanners that would allow a business to forego scanning someone who is known to the business to be above the legal age to possess and or consume an alcoholic beverage.
Also in the proposed ordinance, event venues, which are regulated by a state statute, would also be required to adhere to the new regulations and also file a permit, at the cost of $75 per event, at least five days prior to the event (although, OPD can waive that time restriction for certain circumstances) that details the event so that OPD can make sure there is enough security at the event and can plan for large crowds.
Read the entire proposed ordinance online here.


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