The Oxford Historic Preservation Commission gave the OK for a property owner to demolish a 1950s home that has been condemned by the city’s building department.
The home, located at 1401 Buchanan Avenue, has been empty for several years. It was built around 1955 and is listed in the Historic Resource Inventory survey as a “non-contributing” structure.
The commission heard a request in 2019 to demolish the home and evaluated plans for a new home. However, the commission tabled the request at that time because plans for the new home didn’t meet the Oxford Design Guidelines for homes inside the South Historic District. The applicant at that time did not return to the commission to move forward.
On Monday, the commission approved a request from Griffin Tanner to demolish the home and leave it green with a vinyl-coated chain-link fence around the property and plants and shrubs to screen the fencing.
When a property owner submits a request to demolish a home with a landscape plan rather than plans to build a new home, there can be no building on the site for at least 48 months.
City officials and staff have received frequent calls from neighbors regarding the condition of the house and related safety concerns, said Kate Kenwright, a historical preservationist for the city.
“We’ve received more calls from this property than I’ve ever seen before,” Kenwright told the commission. “The police have been called there several times.”
The house is in extremely poor condition, according to Building Official Chris Carter, who stated in his report that the structure was “unsafe and in a condition which is dangerous to human occupation.”
“It offers an attractive nuisance to children who may play in or about the structure; a harbor for vagrants, criminals or immoral persons who may utilize the building for commission of a nuisance or unlawful acts,” he said.
Carter condemned the building on April 16.