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Oxford Aldermen Approve Demolition of 1890s Home

The Oxford Board of Aldermen OK’d this home on Hayes Avenue to be demolished. Photo courtesy of the city of Oxford.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to allow an 1890s home to be demolished and rebuilt.

Last month, the Oxford Historic Preservation Commission denied a request from Michael Joe and Cheryl Cannon to demolish a home they purchased on Hayes Avenue.

The commission felt that the house could be renovated; however, they agreed it would take a significant investment of time and money.

The frame gable and wing house is listed as contributing to the historic district and has some of the most unique Queen Anne influenced detailing in the city, according to Oxford Planning Department staff.

The commission approved plans earlier this year to renovate the home and include an addition on the back of the house. However, developer JW McCurdy told the commission last month that the house was in worse condition than the Cannon’s anticipated — it had, in his words, been “piece-mealed together” over the years and was unsafe. McCurdy stated that he didn’t see another way to go than demolishing the house.

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

On Tuesday, Attorney Jay Hughes, representing the Cannon’s and their appeal of the HPC’s vote to deny the demolition, told the Board of Aldermen that a house with a family living in it that looked exactly like the original house is more “contributing” to Oxford and the neighborhood than one that is vacant and falling down.

Plans submitted for the rebuild of the house show that the house will be rebuilt to look like the house there today, and Hughes said the contractors will save as much of the outside decorative elements to use on the new home as possible.

The Aldermen voted 6 to 1 to overturn the HPC decision with Alderman Janice Antonow being the dissenting vote.

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