Oxford creates new zoning district
OXFORD — A public hearing on the creation of a new zoning classification was the focus of a lot of attention — and a lot of confusion — during the monthly meeting of the Oxford Board of Commissioners on Tuesday evening.
The hearing was called to consider amending the city’s zoning ordinance to create a neighborhood-commercial district, which commissioners later approved with a 4-3 vote. Commissioners Quon Bridges, C.J. Harris and Patricia Fields voted against the measure.
Several speakers apparently thought creation of the new zoning classification would change the status of the former Thorndale Country Club property.
Resident William Betts asked what would be done with the property.
Mayor Jackie Sergent said the zoning district doesn’t just affect the old country club.
“This request simply creates a new district,” she said. “It actually applies anywhere in the city.”
She said no property was being rezoned by the new classification. If owners of a property anywhere in the city want to be, they would be required to submit an application, which would be reviewed by the Planning Board before being submitted to the Board of Commissioners. Before acting on such an application, a public hearing would be held to give residents an opportunity to express their views.
Resident Donita Robinson said she was concerned a change in zoning of the area would increase traffic and change the character of the neighborhood.
“I think Oxford is a very special place,” she said.
The confusion stemmed from an earlier request by Save Thorndale Inc. to rezone the former Thorndale Country Club property. That request was withdrawn and replaced by a request to create the new zoning classification.
Bridges said he understood people were concerned about their neighborhood. He expressed concerns about the kinds of businesses that would be allowed under the new zoning classification but said that had to be balanced with getting use out of the property.
“What will happen if we don’t allow folks that put money into that property to do something with it?” he said.
Commissioners adopted a resolution annexing 10.61 acres of city-owned property off of Industry Drive near N.C. 96 South. The tract formerly served as the landfill and Southside wastewater treatment plant.
The board amended a capital project ordinance to increase the amount borrowed from the State Revolving Loan Fund to cover the cost of the Wastewater Treatment Plant 1 Equalization Tank Project. The original amount of more than $2.4 million was not sufficient to cover the engineering design and construction costs. The new amount of the zero-percent loan will be a little more than $3 million.
The board approved a budget amendment of $20,961 to cover the cost of repairing the IBM AS 400 computer system, which crashed on June 30, crippling the city’s water and sewer billing system, payroll, accounts payable and general ledger capabilities. Cost of the repairs will be covered by $12,405 from the general fund and $8,556 from the water fund.
The August Yard-of-the-Month award went to Sandra and Maurice Whitlow of 513 Sunset Avenue.
In other actions, the commissioners:
• Approved a 2013-2014 year-end budget amendment in the amount of $36,375 payable from the general fund for accounts where actual expenses exceeded budgeted expenses.
• Appointed Richard E. Thomas to the Historic Preservation Committee with a term expiring June 2015.
• Called for a public hearing in conjunction with the Sept. 9 regular meeting to consider amending the ordinance for temporary signs in the industrial zoning districts.
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