Saturday, January 29, 2022

Family Denied Request to Build Two Homes on One Plot

Proposal for to build two homes on one lot was denied Monday by the Planning Commission. Imagine via the city of Oxford

A request from a local family wanting to build two homes on one lot was denied Monday by the Oxford Planning Commission.

The 1.5-acre plot is located at 308 N. 16th Street, behind the historic Shaw house in the Shaw Subdivision. There is currently a home on the property.

Richard and Jane Cross requested approval for a Residential Common Interest Development, which works like a condominium development, and would allow them to build a new home on the site for their family and the existing structure would possibly become a home for their mother in the future.

“We’re trying to build a home for our family in a great location in the downtown location,” Richard Cross said. “This particular property was attractive to us because of the structure that is there now … It’s not big enough for us … but it would be a good landing spot for Jane’s mother.”

The Cross’ are in talks to purchase the property from the developer, Brian Development but wanted to gain the approval for the RCID before closing.

When located in an existing subdivision in a historic district, or in the Conservation Overlay District, an RCID can be granted by Special Exception from the Planning Commission.

The current house, and the new house, would access North 16th Street via a gravel road that is used by other neighboring residences.

Richard Howorth, who lives behind the lot, told the commission there was already a traffic issue in the area and that two homes on the one lot could add to the growing problem.

There was also a discussion on who exactly owned the gravel road; however, City Attorney Paul Watkins told the Commission that they were not to get bogged down with legal land disputes and that they were only voting on whether or not to approve the RCID.

Planning Director Ben Requet told the commissioners that the RCID is the only option for the Cross’ to be able to build two main homes on one lot since accessory structures are not allowed in a Conservation Overlay District.

“They would have to seek a myriad of variances,” Requet said. “(The existing structure) exceeds the size limitations, it’s located in the front yard. It’s a lot more complex.”

The commission voted 3 to 3 to approve the request; however, there must be a majority vote for the request to pass, thus it was denied.

The Cross’ could appeal the decision to the Oxford Board of Aldermen.