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Oxford Annexation Trial Slated to Start Monday

Map of the proposed annexation areas.

By Alyssa Schnugg
Staff writer
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

A Chancery Court judge will hear testimony from Oxford officials Monday as to whether the city should be allowed to annex 12 miles of Lafayette County property that will almost double the city limits.

The trial is set for 9 a.m. Monday at the Lafayette County Chancery Building.

There are six areas in various parts of the county that will be part of the annexation, with all areas being connected to existing city limits.

Area 1 includes West Oxford Loop extended, portions of Old Sardis Road leading to FNC Park and Lakeway Gardens; Area 2, in the northeast area of Oxford takes in a portion of Highway 30, part of Old Highway 7 North; Area 3 takes in portions of Highway 6 where the new Lafayette County Business Center is being built, Lafayette County School District campus and Brittany Woods; Area 4, in the southern part of Oxford down South Lamar will take in Southpointe and Twin Gates subdivision; Area 5 off Highway 6 takes in Thacker Heights and Royal Oaks; and Area 6 which takes in property east of Highway 6 north of the Wellsgate subdivision.

If the city annexed all the land in the study areas, it would add 12 square miles to the city. Currently, Oxford is 16 square miles. The population would increase by about 3,600 people.
Last week, Oxford Police Chief Joey East said the annexation could cost OPD an additional $525,000 to hire six new police officers and purchase a patrol vehicle.

On Friday, the Oxford Fire Department said the probable annexation will require a new fire inspector’s position since 77 new businesses would be included in the annexation.

“Not only will we need to do inspections but most of the businesses will have to be brought up to code which requires two or three return inspections,” said OFD Chief Mark Heath.

A new fire station is planned for the Oxford Commons area after the annexation which will require nine additional firemen – three per shift and a new fire truck.

If no objections are made and the judge rules in favor of the annexation, and no appeal is filed, it’s possible the annexation could go through by late September or early October.

If the annexation is approved, it will not change the school districts boundaries. Children will continue to attend the same schools that they attended prior to the annexation.

At the annexation hearing, city attorneys will need to present evidence to address 12 factors of reasonableness at the hearing, which include:

*The municipality’s need to expand
*Whether the area sought to be annexed is reasonably within a path of growth of the city
*Potential health hazards from sewage and waste disposal in the annexed areas
*The municipality’s financial ability to make the improvements and furnish municipal services promised
*Need for zoning and overall planning in the areas
*Need for municipal services in the areas sought to be annexed
*Whether there are natural barriers between the city and the proposed annexation area
*Past performance and time element involved in the city’s provision of services to its present residents
*Economic or other impacts of the annexation upon those who live in or own property in the proposed annexation area
*Impact of the annexation upon the voting strength of protected minority groups
*Whether the property owners and other inhabitants of the areas sought to be annexed have in the past, and in the foreseeable future unless annexed will, because of their reasonable proximity to the corporate limits of the municipality, enjoy economic and social benefits of the municipality without paying their fair share of taxes
*Any other factors that may suggest reasonableness


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