OXFORD – A dilapidated barn on a five-acre property that includes an antebellum house in need of restoration was spared from demolition by city officials Tuesday.
Louisiana-based Brian Development has proposed building up to 18 condo units on the Shaw property just a few hundred feet east of the Square while restoring its 6,000-square-foot, two-story plantation home. The Oxford Historic Preservation Commission approved demolition of four other structures but did not approve demolition of the barn.
Legal arguments on both sides addressed whether the appeal was within the deadline and whether other property owners were allowed to appeal decisions of the commission.
The second question already had prompted the Board of Aldermen to draft an ordinance amendment that would clarify that other property owners could appeal a certificate of appropriateness granted. With a likely change limiting appellants to those in the same historic preservation district, they will likely vote on that amendment on April 15.
Attorney Tom Freeland, representing neighbors William and Paulina Wheeler, said, “Due process calls for an appeal to this body. The neighboring property owners have an interest that’s unique to them. The considerations in your preservation ordinance speak to that.”
Attorney T.R. Trout argued alternately that the commission had not actually denied the COA to demolish the barn and that it had. Commission member Julie Spears said definitely that her motion had included denial of either demolishing or moving the barn.
Board members denied Brian any concession regarding the barn.
“The appellant has not presented any information to the commission or to us that the commission was wrong in denying the COA for demolition,” said Alderman Jay Hughes.