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Request for Gate, Private Road in Oxford Commons Denied by Planning Commission

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


Oxford Commons developer David Blackburn’s request to change a public road to a private road in order to place a gate on Lakewood Hill Drive was denied Monday by the Oxford Planning Commission.

In his request to change the Planned Unit Development or PUD, Blackburn was seeking to change a portion of Lakewood Hill Drive in Oxford Commons from a public road that connects to Pin Oak, eventually Commonwealth Boulevard and the F.D. Buddy East Parkway, in order to allow a gate.

The original PUD has shown Lakewood Hill Drive as a connecting road since it was first approved almost 20 years ago. However, Blackburn told commissioners Monday that the road, a two-lane residential road, is not planned to accommodate the amount of traffic that would be generated as a connector road.

“As you develop a property you start learning things that could be improved. As we developed out the Preserve area and the area where my personal home is, we realized that’s not a great area for a major thoroughfare,” he said.

Emergency vehicles would be granted access to the road.

City planners have traditionally been against gated communities but have granted special exceptions in the past, mainly to multifamily developments, according to City Planner Ben Requet.

Since its inception, the Oxford Commons PUD intended to have a robust and interconnected street network, east/west and north/south,” Request said Monday. “While a few changes have been made to the PUD over nearly two decades, the interconnected streets, including Lakewood Hills Drive, have remained a constant element.”

City Engineer Reanna Mayoral noted that if approved, the immediate impact will be to direct all traffic within the Oaks Development back to the intersection of F.D. Buddy East and Sisk Avenue rather than allowing some traffic the option to continue on Lakewood Hill Drive to Pin Oak, where it would then enter Sisk Avenue.

“Ultimately, this request is an attempt to minimize through-traffic on this section of roadway and that’s really the goal here is to make those roadways safer,” said Paul Koshenina, the engineer for the project.

One Oxford Commons resident Dick Dickerson said he was against the gate and making the road private. Dickerson said he when he built his house on Lakewood Hill Drive five years ago, he liked that all the roads were planned to be connected.

“The master plan was attractive and appealing and marketed as such,” he said. “I’d like it to stay that way.”

The Planning Commission voted against recommending the change to the PUD to make the road private and install a gate. The request for The Preserve, Phase V on Lakewood Hill Drive died for a lack of motion since the plans showed the road as private with the gate.

The case will go before the Oxford Board of Aldermen for its consideration at which time the Board can vote to accept the recommendation of denial from the Planning Commission or approve the requests from the developer.

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