Oxford rejects apartments over access

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Based on contention over a second entrance, city officials this week rejected a plan aimed at building 230 new apartments.
Developers of The Domain appealed their plans to the Oxford Board of Aldermen after the Planning Commission earlier turned down their site plan for property at the end of Oxford Way, which begins at Old Taylor Road and currently ends at The Exchange, another apartment property under related ownership.
Under Oxford ordinance, any development exceeding 200 units must have at least two points of ingress and egress onto a public road or street, and dead-end streets cannot be more than 800 feet long. In plans for The Domain, Oxford Way would be extended beyond the 800-foot limit to provide the only public entrance for the development.
Aldermen rejected a proposal for a gated connection of Oxford Way to a second entrance off County Road 300 – a narrow road that currently serves only a few houses – that would be limited to emergency ingress and egress.
“Our position is, we’re not a dead-end street. You have access to come into the property,” said Mandy Jones, who represented The Domain’s owners.
Jones contended the plan meets the required “two points of public road access.” She acknowledged the emergency-only access onto County Road 300 would add no convenience for prospective residents.
“I don’t think the ordinance requires the most convenient access,” she said. “The logical purpose of the ordinance would be to provide access to emergency vehicles.”
City Engineer Bart Robinson said the original intentions for Oxford Way were to have it connect eventually to County Road 300. Lafayette County Planning Commission Chairman T.J. Ray said if Oxford Way were made into a through road, “There is serious reservation on several supervisors’ parts as to the ability of County Road 300 to handle this traffic.”
City Attorney Pope Mallette said the gated emergency entrance would not allow Oxford Way to be defined as connecting to the county road. “It seems to me the road they are proposing is no different from a driveway or private road that they maintain,” he said.
errol.castens@journalinc.com