Planning Commission denies Coleman rezoning request

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – South Oxford remains a single-family neighborhood.
The Oxford Planning Commission voted Monday not to recommend the request of developer Kenny Coleman to rezone 64 acres between South Lamar Boulevard and Highway 7 South from single-family residential to multi-unit residential.
The property had originally been planned as Phase 2 of the Windsor Falls development until economic strains intervened. It was later considered but rejected for a new hospital.
“Nothing would have pleased me more than to continue that development the way it was going,” Coleman said.
State law and precedent require that rezoning be based either on an error in existing zoning or a change in the neighborhood and a demonstrated public need for the requested new zoning. Coleman’s market researcher said more than 20 multi-unit complexes she called all claimed little or no vacancy.
“Everywhere that I went, unanimously, everyone said that they filled up, that as soon as they opened, they were full,” she said.
Attorney Carter Hitt contended that neighboring multi-family units denote a neighborhood in change, but nearby residents noted hundreds of single-family homes dominate South Oaks, Grand Oaks, Windsor Falls and Notting Hill.
A representative for Windsor Falls residents accused Coleman of several breaches as a developer, ranging from faulty slope stabilization and long-delayed paving to reneging on promises of a lake, greenspace and walking trails.
Commissioners voted 5-0 against recommending the zoning change to the Board of Aldermen, with Watt Bishop abstaining.
The Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend a change from multi-unit residential to general business and neighborhood business for an 8.5-acre tract just south of Highway 6 at the city’s west end. Landowner Rickey Britt said a tractor dealership and a hunting store are likely occupants.
errol.castens@journalinc.com