Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Oxford HPC Denies Demolition for One House, Approves for Another

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The Oxford Historic Preservation Commission denied one request to demolish a home and approved another during Monday’s monthly meeting.

The Commission told the owners of a home built in the 1890s that it was unlikely they would allow the house to be demolished when the owners first submitted the request last month but tabled the vote until Monday, when they did in fact, deny the request.

The Oxford Historic Preservation Commission denied a request to demolish this home on Hayes Avenue. Photo from the city of Oxford

The house is located at 1009 Hayes Avenue and is owned by Michael Joe and Cheryl Cannon who did not attend Monday’s meeting. Architect Corey Alger presented the plans to the commission of what a new house would look like if the request to demolish was granted. The plans showed the house to look almost exactly like the current house with many of decorative features being saved from the existing home and used on the new home.

According to a structural report provided by the owners, “The house would not be structurally sound for the duration, even with complete re-framing.”

Commissioners said the felt the house could be saved if more work was put into trying to preserve it.

“We have a little pull in our hearts over tearing down and demolishing a building of this character,” said Commissioner Diane Scruggs. “When you see this house, you know you’re in Oxford.”

After voting unanimously to deny the demolition, the Commission heard another case from a developer looking to demolish a home and rebuilt it.

The duplex is located at 519 N. 15th Street and has been used as a rental home for several years.

The HPC approved the demolition of this duplex on N. 15th Street.

Jay Hughes, vice president of Phase One Ltd., the company who purchased the house, said his company plans on building a new, two-story, single-family house. Hughes said the house would not be allowed to use as a rental.

The duplex was built around 1960.

Planning staff recommended approval of the demolition since the building is not “significant architecturally, culturally or historically to the historic district, a fine example of its type, nor currently listed as contributing in the Historic Resources Inventory Survey.”

Commissioner Camp Best was the sole vote against demolition but did vote to approve the plans for the new house. Best said he felt that even smaller homes, even if not historically significant still are a part of Oxford’s history and should be given the same consideration as the grand, older homes.

In the city’s Code of Ordinances, commissioners are required to consider certain criteria when considering any application for the demolition of a landmark or a resource within a preservation district:

  • The commission shall consider the individual, architectural, cultural, and/or historical significance of the resource.
  • The Commission shall consider the importance or contributing of the resource to the architectural character of the district.
  • The Commission shall consider the importance or contribution of the resource to neighboring property values.
  • The Commission shall consider the difficulty or impossibility of reproducing such a resource because of its texture, design, material, or detail.